The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog

Original Title:
The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog
Bruce D. Perry & Maia Szalavitz
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            “The Boy Who Was Raised as A Dog” is insightful psychological book documenting cases of child traumas from psychiatrist’s point of view. Authors of this book are Bruce D. Perry, American psychiatrist and founder of Child Trauma Academy, and Maia Szalavitz, American reporter and author awarded for her contributions to addiction treatment. In “The Boy Who Was Raised as A Dog” Perry and Szalavitz are describing cases from Dr Perry’s practice focusing on child traumas with detailed explanations of psychological mechanism leading to them and their consequences. 

            The book is organised as a set of stories with every chapter representing another patient’s story, but all these stories are connected in a sense that they are all related to some kind of child trauma and they share similar mechanisms. Every story describes Dr Perry’s first meeting with child, symptoms that child had, process of thought in finding out solution and therapy that helped the child. Also, authors are offering detailed explanation for treatments used. Also, authors are explaining how trauma develops and impact that activation of stress response system in childhood has on developing child. These details are explained in a way that is very easy to follow and understand. 

            Although those children’s childhood experiences are heart-breaking, this book is very useful since it shows what happens when children are not treated well, why is important not to assume that children are resilient and will eventually grow over crisis. Also, book shows us that behind problematic teenager is little child that desperately needs love and care and show us how to help those children. I love how Dr Perry is most concerned about child wellbeing and doesn’t give up from child being ready to try unconventional therapies, and to find out as much as he can about child. Also, in order to help children Dr Perry constantly learns new things, studies connection of mind and body, and tries to learn from every single case. 

            It was hard to read what some children suffer during their childhood, but this book offers hope that with love those children can be happy again. My favourite quotes from this book are:

            “What determines how children survive trauma, physically, emotionally, or psychologically, is whether the people around them-particularly the adults they should be able to trust and rely upon- stand by them with love, support and encouragement. Fire can warm or consume, water can quench or drown, wind can caress or cut. And so, it is with human relationships: we can both create and destroy, nurture and terrorise, traumatise and heal each other”;

            “Surprisingly, it is often when wandering through the emotional carnage left by the worst of humankind that we find the best of humanity as well”;

            “Relationships matter: the currency for systemic change was trust, and trust comes through forming healthy working relationships. People, not programs, change people”;

            “Relationships are agents of change and the most powerful therapy is human love”.