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Clinical Skills in Infant Mental Health

Clinical Skills in Infant Mental Health by Sarah Mares
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Working with families and babies, toddlers and children is fascinating and rewarding. This is so whether the work is specialised and more focused on the atypical or whether it mostly involves helping families through the normal range of experiences that come with having and raising children. Because health care for families covers such a wide range of disciplines and fragmentation of services, lack of communication between health workers is an ongoing concern. To minimise this as much as possible, it is crucial for health professionals (and students) to have an understanding of the clinical aspects and theories that underpin the clinical practice of other workers in the field. In addition, regardless of specific backgrounds, all health workers and practitioners have to learn to look beyond the linear and the external. Whether the work is in paediatric occupational therapy, midwifery, nursing, medicine, psychology or child care, professionals who spend their days helping families need to understand how babies, toddlers and children grow emotionally and the significance of their behaviour—especially as the very young have no words to tell their stories or put forward their points of view. There is a growing realisation in all disciplines that relationships that children have with parents, extended families and any other significant people has a direct affect on human development and overall well-being, not only in the early years but potentially throughout life. The good news is that with effective and early detection and intervention many negative issues in early childhood can be resolved or at least minimised. So, it makes sense that all professionals in the field, from child-care workers to family doctors, should have an understanding of the relevance of infant mental health issues. Until Sarah Mares, Louise Newman and Beulah Warren put together Clinical Skills in Infant Mental Health there wasn’t a comprehensive, clearly written book available to help clinicians with the theories underpinning infant mental health or dealing with the practicalities of incorporating an infant mental health approach into their clinical practices. Clinical Skills in Infant Mental Health is also invaluable for students, as it is not only accessible and well-referenced but an absorbing read. Sarah, Louise and Beulah are experts in the field of early childhood development, assessment and intervention, and during my career I have been lucky enough to be able to draw on their expertise. I am delighted that after many years of research, teaching, clinical practice and total commitment to the field of infant mental health they have found the time to make such a valuable contribution to this vital perspective of child and family health. This book will be an incredibly useful working manual for all health professionals to have by their sides as a constant reference whether their fields are ‘specialised’ or ‘general’, or somewhere in between.
Australian Council for Educational Research; September 2005
333 pages; ISBN 9781423747321
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Title: Clinical Skills in Infant Mental Health
Author: Sarah Mares; Louise Newman; Beulah Warren