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A leading pediatric psychiatrist shows clinicians a holistic, full-spectrum approach to children’s well-being.
In this book, child psychiatrist Scott Shannon offers a refreshing new path for practitioners who are eager for a more optimistic view of children’s mental health, one that emphasizes a child’s inherent resilience and resources over pathology and prescriptions.
“What is mental health?” Shannon explores the fundamental question, showing that an innate desire for balance—a wholeness—between brain-body-mind lies at the heart of wellness. Such a balance can’t be achieved by medication alone, but requires a broad, full-spectrum understanding of children’s lives: their diet, social skills, sleep habits, their ability to self-regulate, to find meaning and purpose in life, and their family relationships. Stress, trauma, and poor nutrition are some of the most common barriers to wholeness in kids’ lives, and Shannon carefully examines these and other barriers, and what the latest discoveries in neuroplasticity and epigenetics tell us about their ability to overcome them. Readers will learn how to perform a different sort of assessment—one that identifies patterns of imbalance and obstacles to health in a child’s life—as well as how to build a meaningful, effective treatment plan around these deficits, and how clinicians can best position themselves to respond effectively.
The second part of the book looks at eight of the most common childhood mental health issues—ADHD, depression, behavioral problems, anxiety and OCD, bipolar disorder, substance abuse, autism spectrum disorders, and trauma and PTSD—and a variety of effective complementary treatment tools for each, including dietary changes, nutritional supplements, specific cognitive or behavioral therapies, parenting interventions, medications, and more. Step-by-step treatment plans are included to guide clinicians on how best to approach each presenting problem.
Mental Health for the Whole Child combines modern science, cutting-edge psychology, integrative medicine, and clinical wisdom to offer all professionals who work with kids a new, more hopeful way forward.
“[A] welcome resource in an era where we are seeing so many behavioral issues in our children. . . . Dr. Shannon . . . brings his considerable reputation to offer us a well-referenced, easy-to-use guide to mental health issues in children, which is not primarily based on psychopharmacology. . . . [P]ragmatic, wise, well-researched, and clearly expertly practiced methods . . . . I strongly recommend it to anyone whose family or patients have been touched by mental health issues in children and who seeks a truly compassionate, rational, and holistic approach to their care and healing.” — Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing
“With clear, concise, and accessible language, Shannon writes a well-researched, thoughtful text, and supports his thesis with a multitude of peer-reviewed research and case studies. . . . [T]he book is an informative read. It highlights current issues, suggests new practices, and explores ways to holistically improve a child’s health.” — PsychCentral
“With compassion and practical wisdom, Dr. Shannon lays out a simple, balanced approach to pediatric mental healthcare, one that looks beyond the diagnosis-drug paradigm we’ve come to rely on. Readers will learn how to understand and assess all areas of a child’s life to identify the real roots of common childhood problems. Mental Health for the Whole Child is refreshingly pragmatic and compelling—a necessary addition to any clinician’s toolbox.” — Andrew Weil, MD, founder of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine; author, Spontaneous Happiness: A New Path to Emotional Well-Being
“This is a valuable, practical guide for practitioners and families from America’s master of integrative child psychiatry. Dr. Shannon brings his years of expertise to life with clinical stories and the latest research—a heartfelt gift to this rapidly growing field.” — Kathi J. Kemper, MD, MPH, author of Mental Health Naturally and Addressing ADD Naturally
“Today, we pathologize children who struggle with emotional and behavioral issues, relying on medications for a solution. Tomorrow, if we heed the lucid, powerful, and science-based prescription for reform in Mental Health for the Whole Child, we will adopt holistic methods for helping those children truly heal and become physically, emotionally, and spiritually well. I’m certain that if our children had their say, they would pick this future over our present ways.” — Robert Whitaker, author of Anatomy of an Epidemic and Mad in America