Book review: Adolescence and Delinquency – An Object Relations Approach

Adolescence and Delinquency – An Object Relations Approach

Rating: 3/5

Bruce R Brodie

Jason Aronson/Rowman and Littlefield Publishers

ISBN 139780765704740

Bruce Brodie is writing from his 20 years working with troubled, delinquent 14- to 17-year-olds in a residential treatment centre in the US. Most have committed violent or sexual crimes and are victims of severe emotional, physical, or sexual abuse and neglect. This book outlines the essentials of object relations ­theory, leaning on the work of Melanie Klein, Donald Winnicott and Thomas Ogden to analyse the behaviour and thinking of the young people at the centre.

The discussion of approaches to psychotherapy includes references to breast feeding that readers may cringe at, but it is important to emphasise that the author is seeking to understand his clients by analysing and interpreting their positions in the light of object relations theory.

Brodie emphasises his preference towards the interpersonal rather than the intra-psychic, and the therapist’s use of self in working towards creating a balance of help and change. He describes object relations therapy as ­working towards self-awareness a more fully experienced sense of self.

Caring, helping, respect, equality, mutuality and non-judgement feature throughout the sensitive therapeutic approaches described. This shared humanity is the strength of the author’s approach.

Dr Andrew Durham, consultant practitioner, Warwickshire SIBS and independent child care consultant

This article is published in the 22 January 2009 edition of Community Care

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