Reviewed by Gabriela Perdomo
Through Windows of Opportunity, by neuroaffective psychotherapist Marianne Bentzen, and child psychologist and psychotherapist Susan Hart, is based on the presentations of four international leading psychotherapists concerning different neuroaffective approaches to child psychotherapy at a 2012 conference in Copenhagen. These presentations revolve around how the relationship between therapist and child can aid the child in overcoming traumas and insecure attachments in life by fostering a sense of emotional attunement and tolerance that stimulates development and change processes.
Rather than divide the book into chapters based on each individual presentation, Bentzen and Hart take on the task of synthesizing each proposed method through the lens of neurological development in children, examining how each stage or aspect of development and its inhibitions due to trauma can be put in dialogue with the various methods. This allows for the reader’s knowledge to grow in parallel to the growth and development of the children in the discussion. It is important to note, however, that the rhetoric used throughout assumes an advanced knowledge of psychological terms and theories, with a main emphasis on neuroscience and biology. Thus, its main audience is those in the field, not a wider audience. However, as a very academic work, the presented methods are positively supported by experimentation with a basis in neuroscience, which results in a very credible and interesting read for psychologists. Yet it could also have benefited from the inclusion of more concrete experimental statistics to support the proposed methods.
Marianne Bentzen and Susan Hart, through highlighting the importance of the psychotherapeutic relationship to a child’s neurological development, present four innovative techniques for fostering this growth and resolving an issue that has been prevalent in child clinical work. This contribution to the field of clinical psychology is evidently most beneficial to those working in child therapy themselves, as it provides insight into how to foster a relationship that will have strong external benefits with those around the child. Through the presentation of both analytical and anecdotal evidence, the reader perceives how changes occur concretely, modeling how one can apply these methods to their own practice in working with children to create positive changes in communication and growth in the external family sphere.
Marianne Bentzen is a neuroaffective psychotherapist, whose focus is on the practical applications of neuroaffective developmental psychology, PTSD treatment, mindfulness practice, and systemic processes. She has also lead various professional trainings in Somatic Psychotherapy both in the United States as well as in Europe.
Susan Hart is a psychologist with experience in municipal services and child psychiatry. She has an independent practice and works in the professional supervision of psychologists, nurses, and social workers. She has authored various books and articles on developmental psychology.
Gabriela Perdomo studied applied psychology and French at New York University and graduated in May of 2017. She has focused her studies on clinical and forensic psychology, with a specialization in trauma and anxiety disorders. In addition to writing reviews for Somatic Psychotherapy Today, she writes for the International Journal of Psychotherapy.