1st Edition

Transforming Despair to Hope Reflections on the Psychotherapeutic Process with Severely Neglected and Traumatised Children

By Monica Lanyado Copyright 2018
    196 Pages
    by Routledge

    196 Pages
    by Routledge

    Transforming Despair to Hope: Reflections on the Psychotherapeutic Process with Severely Neglected and Traumatised Children offers a thorough overview of the problems and rewards of trying to help severely neglected and traumatised children. Drawing on over 40 cyears of clinical experience, Monica Lanyado provides a historical and social perspective on this challenging population, as well as helpful theoretical frameworks and thoughtful support for all professionals and clinicians working with these children.

    This book brings together selected past writings and new chapters from Lanyando. In it she describes the consequences of severe neglect and trauma on a child’s emotional development, and then goes on to examine what it is that brings about positive change. By using vivid clinical examples of therapeutic practice with these children, she elucidates the difficulties associated with this population, as well as for those who care for them in families and in residential settings.

    Transforming Despair to Hope is a valuable resource for child and adolescent mental health professionals and trainee clinicians, as well as those in related fields working with children in need.

    Foreword – Peter Wilson



    Chapter 1 The far reaching consequences of neglect and trauma in childhood.

    Chapter 2 The historical and social context: influences on the treatment of severely neglected and traumatised children today.

    Chapter 3. The absence of ‘holding’ and containment, and the absence of parental protection.

    Chapter 4. Complex traumatic childhood losses: mourning and acceptance, endings and beginnings.

    Chapter 5. Playing out not acting out: the development of the capacity to play in the therapy of children who are ‘in transition’ from fostering to adoption. (2008)

    Chapter 6. ‘The playful presence of the therapist: ‘antidoting’ defences in the therapy of a late-adopted adolescent patient (2006)

    Chapter 7. Transition and change: an exploration of the resonances between transitional and meditative states of mind and their role in the therapeutic process. (2012)

    Chapter 8. The impact of listening on the listener: consultation to the helping professions who work with sexually abused young people. (2009)

    Chapter 9. ‘Transforming despair to hope in the treatment of extreme trauma: a view from the supervisor’s chair’ (2016)

    Appendix: publications




    Monica Lanyado is a child and adolescent psychotherapist who has worked with severely neglected and traumatised children for 40 years. She is a training supervisor at the British Psychotherapy Foundation. Her publications include The Presence of the Therapist: Treating Childhood Trauma (2004) and, co-edited with Ann Horne, The Handbook of Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy: Psychoanalytic Approaches (1999, 2009) and the Independent Psychoanalytic Approaches with Children and Adolescents series.

    ‘In her customary erudite and accessible writing, Monica Lanyado uses a wide range of theoretical understanding to address the ways in which despair in these children and in those who try to help them, can be transformed into hope for a better future. She champions and celebrates the work of psychoanalytic child and adolescent psychotherapists who have worked with these young people now for many decades. She synthesises her wisdom into an important resource for anybody wishing to extend their understanding of this vital work.’

    Angela Joyce, Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst, Child Psychoanalyst, British Psychoanalytic Society. Chair of Winnicott Trust.


    ‘This book springs from the rich resources of a professional lifetime devoted to the challenge of treating seriously neglected and abused children. Using a Winnicottian approach to both technique and theory, Monica Lanyado is led to devote attention to the well-being of the therapist as well as the child. She has learned what desperation the therapist can suffer and how vital it is to understand and manage this. Therapists will find this book an empathic and supportive companion which can help them bring hope to traumatised lives.’

    Juliet Hopkins Ph.D., Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist. British Foundation of Psychotherapists.


    ‘There are few authors who can describe what actually happens in therapy as vividly as Monica Lanyado. This book examines the real-life process of therapeutic change for children who have experienced neglect and trauma and the thinking is underpinned by a range of accessible and well-integrated traditional as well as recent theory. It is a must-read for all those working therapeutically with children and young people.’                           

    Niki Cooper Ph.D.,   Head of Learning Place2Be


    ‘Life chances are dramatically influenced by family and community adversities and, more specifically, abuse and neglect.   Lanyado’s book identifies many of the key issues we must pay attention to and especially those which are focussed on children’s recovery from such adversities through therapeutic interventions.  She does not avoid the challenges or the frustrations. But there are profound insights and experiences throughout this book and a lasting sense of possibility and hope.’

    John Simmonds OBE, Director of Policy, Research and Development, CoramBAAF