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The Developmental Science of Early Childhood

Clinical Applications of Infant Mental Health Concepts From Infancy Through Adolescence

About the Book

A practical distillation of cutting-edge developmental research for mental health professionals.

The field commonly known as “infant mental health” integrates current research from developmental psychology, genetics, and neuroscience to form a model of prevention, intervention, and treatment well beyond infancy. This book presents the core concepts of this vibrant field and applies them to common childhood problems, from attention deficits to anxiety and sleep disorders.

Readers will find a friendly guide that distills this developmental science into key ideas and clinical scenarios that practitioners can make sense of and use in their day-to-day work.

Part I offers an overview of the major areas of research and theory, providing a pragmatic knowledge base to comfortably integrate the principles of this expansive field in clinical practice. It reviews the newest science, exploring the way relationships change the brain, breakthrough attachment theory, epigenetics, the polyvagal theory of emotional development, the role of stress response systems, and many other illuminating concepts.

Part II then guides the reader through the remarkable applications of these concepts in clinical work. Chapters address how to take a textured early developmental history, navigate the complexity of postpartum depression, address the impact of trauma and loss on children’s emotional and behavioral problems, treat sleep problems through an infant mental health lens, and synthesize tools from the science of the developing mind in the treatment of specific problems of regulation of emotion, behavior, and attention.

Fundamental knowledge of the science of early brain development is deeply relevant to mental health care throughout a client’s lifespan. In an era when new research is illuminating so much, mental health practitioners have much to gain by learning this leading-edge discipline’s essential applications. This book makes those applications, and their robust benefits in work with clients, readily available to any professional.


Praise for the Book

“Gold is the best interpreter of developmental research into early childcare and clinical practice writing today. This is a brilliant book that entertains as it informs. It covers all the exciting areas of current research in the masterly, highly accessible way that only the most sophisticated scholars can accomplish. I love it, and recommend it to all students, all teachers, and most parents.”
Peter Fonagy, PhD
Freud Memorial Professor of Psychoanalysis, UCL; Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, London, UK
“A wonderfully helpful new book. Dr. Gold knits together a sturdy clinical and theoretical foundation to reveal vivid understanding of infant mental health and its boundless promise. She has an especially welcome ability to translate the field's sometimes 'insider' vocabulary into a language that speaks to mental health professionals, pediatricians, and parents alike. This is a book of substance and readability that readers will want to hold—many dog-eared copies are its future.”
Kyle D. Pruett, MD
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Nursing Yale Child Study Center
“A highly readable text, wise and empathic, that integrates theory, recent research, and vignettes to guide clinicians in understanding the behavioral problems of infants and young children and listening thoughtfully to help parents resolve tensions at a very meaningful point in their child's development.”
Michael S. Jellinek, MD
Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
‘The relationships between parent and therapist, between child and therapist, and between parent and child provide the healing,’ Gold writes. Filled with brilliant insights, transformative vignettes and directly applicable tools, Gold’s new book shows just how clinicians can learn to offer the space that provides for this healing.”
The Development of Early Childhood Book Cover
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