Growing the Brain: A New Perspective on Child Psychiatry

  • Alexandra Murray HarrisonEmail author


The author discusses the influence of her study of early development on her clinical work as a child psychiatrist and child analyst. She discusses three different results of this influence: (1) a major commitment to consultation to caregivers of young children, (2) greater clinical attention to regulation and growing regulatory competency, and (3) a shift in clinical emphasis from categorical diagnosis and medical or even psychoanalytic intervention to developmental formulation and scaffolding toward the goal of adaptive function. She describes some essential features of developmental theory that have had a profound effect on her thinking. She offers brief clinical examples to demonstrate her consultation to child caregivers, her attention to regulation, and her focus on developmental formulations and interventions. All of the interventions described—consultation to parents and other caregivers focus both on the child’s regulatory capacity and on developmental perspectives—have as their eventual goal “growing the child’s brain”.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and InstituteNewton CentreUSA

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