Sunday, August 30, 2009

Books I am Reading

I have been caring for my post-surgery husband and thus have been away from my work for a couple of weeks. He is recovering well, if slowly. I wanted to share with you two excellent books I have read during this time period.

The first is Nurturing Attachments: Supporting Children who are Fostered or Adopted by Kim S. Golding (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2008). This was suggested to me by my Australian blog friend, Laurel Downey. Thanks Laurel!

In this book Ms. Golding starts with the stories of four children entering foster care, children much like the ones we all treat. She then follows their progress and the challenges and successes of their foster parents to illustrate the points she is making. It is very effective. The book is especially good at illustrating how the attachment styles of ambivalent attachment, avoidant attachment and disorganized/controlling attachment are created and how they play out in the child’s behavior as time goes on. She offers excellent strategies and ideas, but also emphasizes the difficulty of healing and the need for many repetitive experiences. I have a few minor disagreements with her use of consequences, but she does not emphasize rewards and punishments as the main source of healing. She describes the "House" model of secure parenting which gives an excellent framework for foster parents. I now want everyone I know to read this book. It not only offers a lot to foster parents and their support staff, but will have equal value to any one working with these children in congregate care or any other treatment setting. Ms. Golding is English, so there is also the fun of noting small language differences. The book is very readable and accessible.

The second book, on a very different note, is Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School by John Medina (Pear Press, 2008). This book is about how the brain works, and what it means for how we learn and work. It presents a lot of scientifically based information in a very readable, entertaining format. It is helpful to understand normal brain function in order to appreciate what goes wrong in the development of the kids we serve. Also, he speaks to the effect of stress on the brain. Furthermore, he presents a lot of information about what is necessary in order for people to remember things. One element is that we learn best in relationships (where have I heard that before?). Another is the importance of repetition. A lot of the information in this book is helpful in the healing process, and will also be useful in improving the training that we do.

If you read or have read either of these books, what did you think? Please click in comment and leave your thoughts.


Arthur Becker-Weidman, PhD said...

Nurturing Attachments is an excellent book. Kim Golding is a practitioner of Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, which is an evidence-based, effective, and empirically validated treatment.

This is one of a few books that I regularly recommend that parents read. Another book is the Therapeutic Parenting Manual by ATTACh at


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