From Trauma to Growth Using Attachment Theory, Psychoanalysis and Neurobiology
Nurturing Children describes children’s lives transformed through therapy.
Drawing on decades of experience, internationally respected clinician and trainer Graham Music tackles major issues affecting troubled children, including trauma, neglect, depression and violence. Using psychoanalysis alongside modern developmental thinking from neurobiology, attachment and trauma theory and mindfulness, Music creates his own distinctive blend of approaches to help even the most traumatised of children.
A mix of personal accounts and therapeutic riches, Nurturing Children will appeal to anyone helping children, young people and families to lead fuller lives.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: One foot in the ditch
Chapter 3: Resilience, mismatches and repair
Chapter 4: Attachment, and jumpy untrusting kids
Chapter 5: Stuart: growing an ‘inner executive’ and a mind to think thoughts
Chapter 6: Left hemispheres rule, feelings avoided. Jenny and Edward
Chapter 7: Neglected children: why it is easy yet dangerous to neglect neglect
Chapter 8: Bringing up the bodies: body awareness and easeful selves
Chapter 9: Trauma and treading carefully
Chapter 10: Angels and devils: sadism and violence in children
Chapter 11: Altruism and compassion: how they can be turned on and off
Chapter 12: Addiction, tech and the web: new dangers hijacking old systems
Chapter 13: Freeing the scapegoat by containing not blaming: thoughts on schools-based therapeutic work (with Becky Hall)
Chapter 14: Concluding thoughts
Graham Music is a consultant child and adolescent psychotherapist at the Tavistock and Portman Clinics in London, UK, and an adult psychotherapist in private practice who teaches, supervises and lectures internationally.
"Always confronting the toughest societal issues and contemporary clinical debates, Music’s style is persuasive rather than polemical. His famous candour on his own internal dialogue in the consulting room makes an important book humorous and highly readable." – Gabrielle Brown, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
"…an easily digestible book of stories that are a pleasure to read." - Louise O’ Higgins, Bulletin of Child Psychotherapy
"This is a book for those who work with traumatized children and their parents to read and
re-read, and refer to as a guide, a companion on the journey to become open-hearted,
courageous people capable of meeting others in their depths." – Dr Sarah Sutton, Journal of Child Psychotherapy
"I believe this is a ground-breaking book that should be read by child and adult therapists, mental health workers and all involved in professions that are linked to child development. More than a way to do therapeutic work, it is a guide to understanding how our minds develop, the interaction between minds and bodies and the centrality of relationships in human life…What is almost unique is the way that he holds the psychoanalytic understanding as his foundation but then proceeds to draw on attachment theory, neurobiology, trauma- informed research, compassion-focused therapy and mindfulness to adapt to the particular needs of each child."
- Dr Jo Stubley, British Journal of Psychotherapy
"I recommend this book for anyone interested in the mental and emotional health of young people. It is the kind of thoughtful story from the front line of care which both inspires but also some important questions about how we create the conditions for helping those with the greatest distress and most challenging presentations."
- Paul Jenkins , Chief Executive, Tavistock Centre
"Dr Music is certainly one of the best and probably the most deep thinking child psychotherapists in the world. This beautiful book distills decades of neuro-clinical thinking, interpreting children’s and young people’s experience and behavior in terms of the most applicable and scientifically credible models of mind. For those who wish to understand clinical phenomena and through this improve their clinical work, this book is a must. For those who want to marvel and learn from the writing of a master clinician, this book is amongst the best you are likely to encounter. And for the few who want to do both… this is an incredible opportunity. I could not recommend a book more strongly."
- Professor Peter Fonagy OBE, Head of the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences at UCL; Chief Executive of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, London, UK
"Of all life forms on this planet human infants are by far the most dependent on the love and care they receive from their parents. The need for caring can extend well into the adolescent years and beyond. Not only do parents protect them but they shape the maturation of their brain development, the robustness of their immune system and even the expression of their genes. As an international, leading exponent of attachment theory and its applications in child psychotherapy, there could be no better guide than Dr Music to reveal the role of attachment as both a source of trauma and its recovery. Bringing the reader many years of therapeutic insight and experience, with a clarity of exposition of fascinating and important case studies, this is a wonderful addition to the literature. All therapists and other professionals working with children would benefit enormously from this book."
- Professor Paul Gilbert OBE, author of The Compassionate Mind and Living like Crazy
"Graham Music has done it again. This is a much-needed book and the clinical work is profoundly moving. Music is able to blend his own deeply felt empathic capacities with a comprehensive grasp of the latest developmental and neuroscientific research in a highly readable form. He is a real thinker and all of us in the field of child mental health, and for that matter, learning disability, will be extremely grateful for it. He really gets, and uses, all the new work on the body, too."
- Anne Alvarez, consultant, child and adolescent psychotherapist, Tavistock Clinic; author of Live Company and The Thinking Heart
"If you are looking for a book that tells you what attachment-based, neuroscience-informed psychotherapy looks like in practice, look no further. Graham Music’s wonderful book conveys the process brilliantly. It demonstrates how an attuned and compassionate relationship is the key to psychological growth, a process that might sound easy yet is in practice a demanding art that draws on all the psychotherapist’s resources to respond at the right level, at the right moment. He is particularly good on the psychotherapist’s own struggles to extend compassion to himself and to stay ‘alive and present’ in difficult therapeutic relationships."
- Sue Gerhardt, psychotherapist; co-founder of the Oxford Parent Infant Project; and author of the bestselling book Why Love Matters
"Graham Music takes us on a journey with him in his new book, Nurturing Children: From Trauma to Growth Using Attachment Theory, Psychoanalysis and Neurobiology. From his psychoanalytic ‘bedrock’ Graham grows flowers, many of which include his reflections on the thoughts of therapeutic mentors and theorists as well as on therapeutic implications from findings of attachment and neurobiology research. Yet the most vibrant flowers involve the moments that he spends coming to know the minds and hearts of young people and discovering the paths with them that will lead from trauma to hope. In this work, Graham invites us into his therapeutic space to be present with him – with both his mind and heart – as he is present with these hurt and courageous young people.
To read this work is to enter into a conversation with Graham, to wonder with him about the meanings of what Molly, Michael, Samantha and the others are doing so to better understand their unique experiences and find the one-of-a-kind therapeutic intervention that will do them the most good. We share with Graham his wobbles and confusion, recoveries and unfoldings, as he finds a way of relating with each child that may well create safety, healing, and integration. These conversations, readily available to us as we read, will bring Graham with us into our therapeutic space and enrich our work with the minds and hearts of the children we are coming to know and care about, regardless of the nature of the bedrock upon which we stand."
- Daniel A. Hughes, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who specializes in child abuse and neglect, attachment, foster care, and adoption. He is a prolific author and actively trains other therapists in the model of treatment known as Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, both within the United States and in other countries
"This is a wonderful book for all working with children and for all levels of child therapists as both an introduction and senior tonic. It is written with authenticity and flexibility, Music using his learning with a light but respectful touch, the writing driven by the children, not the theory, educating in a really containing way."
- Valerie Sinason, Director of the Clinic for Dissociative Studies, President of the Institute for Psychotherapy and Disability (IPD) and Hon Consultant Psychotherapist for the University of Cape Town Child Guidance Clinic
"There is lots to admire throughout, but what particularly inspires me is the freedom to dispense with the traditional practice of strait-jacketing feelings within the confines of the concept counter transference. Instead he has found the freedom to be himself."
"Overall, Nurturing Children is a wonderful book, and one I know I will return to in the future to reread for relevant clients. There is a great deal that I will take from it into my own practice, and Music’s detailed references have also added to my ever-growing list of further reading – including compassion-focussed therapy for trauma work and core-complex theory for adolescents. I was inspired by his reflections on how essential his own regular mindfulness and yoga practices are to supporting the development of self-awareness and self-regulation in his work."
-Alice Harper, Child and Adolescent Therapist
In this important book, which speaks to both beginning and seasoned therapists, Graham Music reminds us of the common humanity shared by therapists and the children they treat, and that at day’s end, it is the commitment to an honest, unflinching, and compassionate relationship that ultimately can provide healing.
-Seth Aronson (2020): Nurturing Children, Journal of Infant, Child, and