The Developmental Science of Early Childhood: Clinical Applications of Infant Mental Health Concepts From Infancy Through Adolescence (Hardcover)

The Developmental Science of Early Childhood: Clinical Applications of Infant Mental Health Concepts From Infancy Through Adolescence By Claudia M. Gold Cover Image

The Developmental Science of Early Childhood: Clinical Applications of Infant Mental Health Concepts From Infancy Through Adolescence (Hardcover)

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A practical distillation of cutting-edge developmental research for mental health professionals.


The field commonly known as "infant mental health" integrates current research from developmental psychology, genetics, and neuroscience to form a model of prevention, intervention, and treatment well beyond infancy. This book presents the core concepts of this vibrant field and applies them to common childhood problems, from attention deficits to anxiety and sleep disorders.


Readers will find a friendly guide that distills this developmental science into key ideas and clinical scenarios that practitioners can make sense of and use in their day-to-day work. Part I offers an overview of the major areas of research and theory, providing a pragmatic knowledge base to comfortably integrate the principles of this expansive field in clinical practice. It reviews the newest science, exploring the way relationships change the brain, breakthrough attachment theory, epigenetics, the polyvagal theory of emotional development, the role of stress response systems, and many other illuminating concepts. Part II then guides the reader through the remarkable applications of these concepts in clinical work. Chapters address how to take a textured early developmental history, navigate the complexity of postpartum depression, address the impact of trauma and loss on children's emotional and behavioral problems, treat sleep problems through an infant mental health lens, and synthesize tools from the science of the developing mind in the treatment of specific problems of regulation of emotion, behavior, and attention.


Fundamental knowledge of the science of early brain development is deeply relevant to mental health care throughout a client's lifespan. In an era when new research is illuminating so much, mental health practitioners have much to gain by learning this leading-edge discipline's essential applications. This book makes those applications, and their robust benefits in work with clients, readily available to any professional.



Claudia M. Gold MD is a pediatrician and writer. She has practiced general and behavioral pediatrics for 25 years, and currently specializes in early childhood mental health. She writes regularly for Psychology Today and is the author of The Silenced Child: From Labels, Medication and Quick-Fix Solutions to Listening, Growth and Lifelong Resilience (2016) and Keeping Your Child in Mind: Overcoming Defiance, Tantrums, and other Everyday Behavior Problems by Seeing the World Through Your Child’s Eyes (2011 ). Dr. Gold is on the faculty of the University of Massachusetts Boston Infant-Parent Mental Health program, William James College, and the Austen Riggs Center.
Product Details ISBN: 9780393709629
ISBN-10: 0393709620
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: February 14th, 2017
Pages: 304
Language: English
[A] gentle, compassionate, and down-to-earth book. . . In richly detailed clinical vignettes, Gold explores a variety of problems with children that worry parents. . . She explains how important the role of the therapist is in helping parents. . . Technical details provided are fascinating. . . This book provides valuable information and insights useful for childcare providers and pediatricians as well as for parents.
— PsycCritiques

Filled with brilliant insights, transformative vignettes and directly applicable tools, Gold’s new book shows just how clinicians can learn to offer the space that provides for. . . healing.
— Psych Central

Gold is the best interpreter of developmental research into early childcare and clinical practice writing today. This is a brilliant book that entertains as it informs. It covers all the exciting areas of current research in the masterly, highly accessible way that only the most sophisticated scholars can accomplish. I love it, and recommend it to all students, all teachers, and most parents.
— Peter Fonagy, PhD, Freud Memorial Professor of Psychoanalysis, UCL; Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, London, UK

A highly readable text, wise and empathic, that integrates theory, recent research, and vignettes to guide clinicians in understanding the behavioral problems of infants and young children and listening thoughtfully to help parents resolve tensions at a very meaningful point in their child's development.
— Michael S. Jellinek, MD, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

[A]n excellent book on infant mental health. . . . [F]illed with resources and examples. I highly recommend it.
— The Milton H. Erickson Foundation Newsletter

A wonderfully helpful new book. Dr. Gold knits together a sturdy clinical and theoretical foundation to reveal vivid understanding of infant mental health and its boundless promise. She has an especially welcome ability to translate the field's sometimes 'insider' vocabulary into a language that speaks to mental health professionals, pediatricians, and parents alike. This is a book of substance and readability that readers will want to hold—many dog-eared copies are its future.
— Kyle D. Pruett, MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Nursing Yale Child Study Center