|| Child Abuse, Psychotherapy, and the Law
||Free Association Books, ©1998
Free Association Books
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1091
$55.00 (c); $22.50 (p)
Roger Kennedy, a therapist at Cassel Hospital in London, describes Cassel
Hospital's approach to parents who are on probation after having been found
guilty of child abuse. Whole families are admitted on an inpatient basis
and parents are encouraged to participate in treatment planning. The approach
is basically psychoanalytic in both treatment and diagnosis.
The author describes working with these families as a complex, difficult
and often confusing task. He believes that the medical staff's conflicts
with courts and social workers come from the hospital's emphasis on rehabilitation
as opposed to punishment, and he notes that three assessment questions must
be answered: (1) What is meant by good-enough parenting and how is parental
capacity assessed? (2) When are children safe with their parents and when
is it best to remove them? and (3) When should a problem family be given
the chance to stay together, and when should treatment be abandoned?
Although the author attempts to answer these questions, most of the book
consists of clinical examples with little empirical support for its assertions.
Although he decries the hostility towards rehabilitation that the medical
staff encounters from social workers, the author's final recommendations
are unrealistic and superficial. The book is not recommended.
Reviewed by LeRoy G. Schultz, Emeritus Professor, West Virginia University.