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Too Scared to Cry


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Table of Contents

* A First Glance at Childhood Trauma The Emotions Of Childhood Psychic Trauma * Terror * Rage * Denial and Numbing * Unresolved Grief * Shame and Guilt The Mental Work Of Childhood Psychic Trauma * Misperception * Time Goes Awry * Remembering Trauma * School Work and Fantasy Work * Repeated Dreams The Behaviors Of Childhood Psychic Trauma * Post-traumatic Play * Post-traumatic Reenactment Treatment And Contagion Of Childhood Psychic Trauma * Treatment * Close Encounters of the Traumatic Kind

About the Author

Lenore Terr, M.D., is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute at the University of California, San Francisco. She is the winner of the Blanche Ittleson Award for her research on childhood trauma.


Terr, child psychiatrist at the University of California School of Medicine in San Francisco, explores the dire effects of childhood trauma, defined here as ``a single overwhelming experience or a series of overwhelming ordeals.'' She focuses on the 1976 abduction of a group of children in Chowchilla, a California farm town, who were seized from a bus as they were returning from day camp. The author, who interviewed the victims soon after their release from the abandoned rock quarry where they were buried, and who continues to make periodic assessments of the children, analyzes their attendant losses in cognitive and emotive function. Expanding on her Chowchilla research, Terr discusses post-traumatic behavior patterns she discerns in the works of writers such as Poe, Hawthorne and Stephen King, and in the films of Ingmar Bergman. Written in an anecdotal format, the book is penetrating and illuminating. (May)

In 1976, 26 children in Chowchilla, California were kidnapped from a school bus, loaded onto windowless vans, and buried alive in a large hole 100 miles from home. Thirty-eight hours would pass during this famous kidnapping until the rescue. The California Supreme Court never dealt with the emotional harm suffered by the children, but psychiatrist Terr, who was invited to study them, recognizes the terror, rage, and shame such trauma causes. She details the kidnapping's mental effects: loss of trust, time dysfunction, repetitive behaviors, denial, and nightmares. Terr's work is extremely thorough in a field almost ignored 20 years ago. Her book balances dozens of case studies with interpretations, and she explores the novels of Edith Wharton, Edgar Allan Poe, and Stephen King, among others, in light of their childhood traumas. Highly recommended for lay readers.-- Linda Beck, Indian Valley P.L., Telford, Pa.

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