Minefields in Their Hearts


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The Mental Health of Children in War and Communal Violence

Edited by Roberta Apfel and Bennett Simon

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The Holocaust, civil war in Bosnia, drug wars in the cities, random violence in schools, streets, and homes—such events and their aftermath pose special problems for mental health professionals, educators, and others who must help children make sense of acts that endanger them physically and psychically. In this book, edited by Drs. Roberta J. Apfel and Bennett Simon, mental health professionals share their knowledge, experiences, and hopefulness in working with children exposed to war and violence. The result is a moving history of young lives affected by war, persecution, and communal violence, and an invaluable resource for anyone working with children subjected to such traumas.

The contributors to this book—who include psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers, all with direct experience working with children who are victims of war and violence—address the ethics involved in working with children in war zones, children's development under circumstances of war or violence, post-traumatic stress disorder and other stress reactions, refugee children, "survivor guilt," interventions and treatments, and the emotional health of the caretakers. The book includes case studies on children of war in Kuwait, on a program involving children of Holocaust survivors and children of Nazi perpetrators, and on the Child Development-Community Policing Program in New Haven.

Roberta J. Apfel is a psychoanalyst and psychiatrist with a background in maternal and child public health. She is coauthor of To Do No Harm: DES and the Dilemmas of Modern Medicine, published by Yale University Press. Bennett Simon is a psychoanalyst and psychiatrist. He is author of Tragic Drama and the Family: Psychoanalytic Studies from Aeschylus to Beckett, also published by Yale University Press.

A selection of the Behavioral Science/Newbridge book club

"This extraordinarily gripping book will serve as the cardinal reference for anyone working with populations of disturbed children, or children at risk, for a long time."—Robert L. Tyson, M.D., coauthor of Psychoanalytic Theories of Development

"The papers presented in Minefields in their Hearts address many of the technical concerns surrounding children in war. They provide valuable ethical, clinical, and community based insights into some of the ways in which the mental health of children exposed to violence can be managed. . . . A major contribution to the literature."—Manuel Carballo, British Medical Journal

"This is a splendid book about the most awful things a child can experience, in places such as South Africa, the Persian Gulf, and inner-city America. Its authors articulately describe events whose efforts would seem to defy any attempt at treatment. . . . It is a compact treasure of knowledge and hope."—John R. Lion, New England Journal of Medicine

"Minefields in Their Hearts is a rich and compelling introduction to working with children in war and communal violence. it is to be recommended not only to people in the field, but to anyone interested in new directions in child psychiatry."—Jack Saul, Lancet

"The chapters are rich in case study presentations that illuminate theoretical discussions of psychological trauma, child development, and resiliency. . . . With an estimated 10 million children in the world who have suffered psychological trauma in civil and international wars and countless others who live amidst chronic communal violence throughout the world, professionals need information that informs their planning and practical and policy interventions. This book is recommended for them."—Nancy Dubrow, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease

"A moving history of young lives affected by war, persecution, and communal violence, and an invaluable resource for anyone working with children subjected to such traumas."—Oxfam's Review of Journals

"This is an excellent book and a very worthwhile contribution to our understanding of the effects of war and violence on children. The authors' and editors' dedication to the well-being of the children they describe is evident throughout, inspiring us to join with them in their efforts to find ways to help and heal child victims of violence."—Robert S. McKelvey, M.D., Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic

ISBN: 9780300065701
Publication Date: September 25, 1996
256 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
To Do No Harm

DES and the Dilemmas of Modern Medicine

Roberta Apfel and Susan Fisher

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Family Romance, Family Secrets

Case Notes from an American Psychoanalysis, 1912

Elizabeth Lunbeck and Bennett Simon

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Tragic Drama and the Family

Psychoanalytic Studies from Aeschylus to Beckett

Bennett Simon

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