The Environment and Mental Health: A Guide for Clinicians

By Ante Lundberg | Go to book overview

A tendency toward anthropomorphism ( Lockwood, 1983) permits the children with ADHD to ask questions about animals whose behavior and needs they do not understand. They can ask because they reason anthropomorphically and think of the animal as a social other. Interestingly, they can see the animal as other, even when their social interactions with peers are quite primitive. This permits the therapist to ask what they think the animal wants and needs, to what they themselves and other children want and need. With proper intervention from the therapist, anthropomorphic reasoning makes them more aware of the human social milieu. When the animal becomes a child's friend or playmate, a wider display of emotion and behavior becomes possible. Aggressive children can become tender and nurturing in their play and responsible in their behavior toward the animals. This wider range of behavior, from arranging a mock marriage between two pets to burying a pup that died, permits a therapeutic discussion of issues that would not surface otherwise.


REFERENCES

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Barkley R. A. ( 1997). "Behavioral inhibition, sustained attention, and executive functions: Constructing a unifying theory of ADHD". Psychological Bulletin, 121, 65-94.

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