Many parents at some time dread that a child of theirs may be mentally ill or disturbed. But even after a generation of child psychology, psychiatry and psychotherapy, they still frequently fear to admit their fears, and fear the mystery of the remedy as much as the mystery of the problem.It is therefore important that parents should come to easy terms with the work of the psychotherapist, and be reassured that it is based on sympathetic understanding, not mysteries.It was to explain themselves to parents and others who work with other young people that sixteen psychotherapists and analysts (mostly following the principles of Anna Freud or Melanie Klein and largely drawn from the Hampstead Child Therapy and the Tavistock clinics in London) decided to collaborate in the preparation of this book. In it they set out to describe their work in schools, hospitals, clinics, day centres, etc and to discuss their fundamental approach to the treatment of the disturbed child. It is their hope that by stripping away many of the misconceptions in the minds of parents, teachers and social workers about child psychotherapy then can give reassurance to many.
Mary Boston was a child psychotherapist and senior tutor at the Tavistock Clinic. She worked formerly at the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, where she was particularly interested in work with pre-school children, and has written on current research in child development. She was co-editor with Dilys Daws of 'The Child Psychotherapist and the Problems of Young People' (1977).