Prevention of Mental Disorders in Children: Initial Exploration

Prevention of Mental Disorders in Children: Initial Exploration

Prevention of Mental Disorders in Children: Initial Exploration

Prevention of Mental Disorders in Children: Initial Exploration

Excerpt

It is important at the outset to emphasize that the concept of prevention discussed in this book relates to communities and not to individual children: reducing the rate of mental disorders in a population of children and not prevention of mental disorder in a particular child.

The child psychiatrist whose work focuses on diagnosis and therapy is accustomed to studying the problems of the specific child who is his patient. Primary prevention is conceived in terms of what might have been done in the past to prevent this patient from becoming ill. Usually, however, as we ponder the details of his life history, replete though it may have been with discrete traumatic experiences whose avoidance would certainly have been beneficial, the interdigitation of many noxious factors in the complex pattern of his life persuades us that only magic prophetic powers could have foreseen his illness. Those who have made any serious attempt to predict and subsequently to validate even crude directions of personality development in any individual case have learned from the completely unexpected alterations of biologic, psychologic, and social factors of the extreme difficulty of . . .

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