‘Metamorphoses- Troubled Children over Four Decades’ by James Rogers

Monday, March 1st, 2010 Book Review by Valerie Jackson

James Rogers was a psychiatrist from the 1950s through to the 80s. This book is his in memoriam to those days. He worked in residential children’s homes and clinics, mainly throughout Scotland. The book is divided into case studies, settings and their methodology, disorders that may hamper treatment, diagnosed disorders and suggested treatment for children in group or home settings.

It is clear from the outset that this is a very caring and compassionate man. He has worked hard to bring children back to society where they may lead productive and satisfying lives. He pays homage to nursing and social work professionals throughout the book. He spends time explaining regimes and changes and how they have supported the children he mentions. Where he could, he gave credence to the dedication of some of the parents of the children and how they worked together with the professionals to enable change to evolve in their children’s behaviours.

This is a book of reminiscences, full of references to the traditional and established theorists and thinkers of the era. The bibliography confirms this with no book being mentioned after 1977 apart from revised editions or collective editorials. I have to confess that I struggled to continue reading this book initially because the author gives a good impression of smugness and “They did it better in my day” attitude. However, as a conscientious reviewer, I stuck to my task and I must say I warmed to this person, who had obviously made real differences in the lives of the children he worked with.

I found myself wanting to know how the stories of the children ended. As in all situations where we play a small part in the child’s life journey, he wasn’t always able to re-visit the now adult children. Where he did, most of them had managed to become productive individuals and positive role models for their own children.

I would recommend this book to students of psychology and psychiatry in particular. It is only when we look back that we can see how our future should be.

Rogers, James (2009) Metamorphoses - Troubled Children over Four Decades

Book Guild Publishing

ISBN 978-1-84624-354-7

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