Edited by John Wilks
Reviewed by Molly Wilder
Babies and children can often be our greatest teachers in life. They remind us of our deep human connection to each other and to the world. An Integrative Approach to Treating Babies and Children, edited by John Wilks, persuades us to listen to everyone’s own “baby history.”
In other words, Wilks has us look into the history of our birth in order to have a greater understanding of its effects on our adult life. Wilks suggests in the introduction that, “One of the major themes in this book is that it is much more important for us to create the right space in ourselves and in our clinic setting to work with babies rather than what we ‘do’ to a baby” (16).
Babies have a story to tell; we all do. This multidisciplinary guide shows us that as clinicians, nurses, surgeons, teachers and parents, it is our duty to listen to these important stories to create a greater sense of safety for the children and babies we work with. Illustrated with case studies at the end of each chapter and including examples from current research, this book is a resource for therapists from diverse disciplines: both practitioners from a wide array of disciplines, curious parents, and anyone interesting in learning about their own “birth story.”
In the appendices of the book there is one section on signs of early trauma in infants and another section on the characteristics and behaviors of non-traumatized and traumatized neonates. With bullet points and examples, this section can be incredibly helpful for those looking to identify negative and positive patterns in newborns less than four weeks old.
This book is written for all therapists who work with babies and their families, whatever modality they use. However, I would also like to include that this is also a great tool for parents with children on autism spectrum. There is a great deal of information, especially in chapters 3 and 6 on the somatic nervous system that has been found to directly relate to pre-natal development of children with this diagnosis. If you are looking to understand the significance of the human “birth story,” this is the multidisciplinary guide for you.
John Wilks is the author of four books on complementary therapies. He has taught workshops on working with babies and mothers in many countries throughout the world including the UK, USA, South Africa, Germany, Denmark, Portugal and France.
Molly Wilder is currently a Junior at New York University majoring in Applied Psychology. She is a research assistant for Transgender Identity Formation Study (TIFS) at NYU Steinhardt, a grounded theory study aimed at understanding how transgender and gender-non-conforming people who identify as LGBQ perceive fluidity in their sexual orientation and gender identity. In addition to reviewing books for the IJP, she writes reviews for Somatic Psychotherapy Today.