*Shortlisted for the Young Minds Book Prize 2006*
Shattered Lives bears witness to the lives of children who have experienced abuse and neglect, and highlights the effects of early traumatic episodes. Chapters take the form of letters to a child capturing their life experiences, hugely impacted by sexual abuse, parental substance misuse and loss, leading to feelings of shame, rejection and worthlessness. Batmanghelidjh offers understanding for those baffled by these hard-to-reach children and warns against stigmatizing them for their problem behaviour. In her critique of existing structures, she exposes the plight of children who are overlooked by the authorities and denounces those who value bureaucracy over the welfare of the individual child. Society's failure to acknowledge the truth of their experiences and act to change the environment in which such mistreatment can flourish is, she strongly argues, leading to the death of childhood. The book is a clarion call for change.
Camila Batmanghelidjh trained as a psychotherapist and for more than twenty years has worked with exceptionally disturbed children and young people in the two charities she has founded, The Place2Be and Kids Company. Focusing on the inner city, these have concentrated on giving vulnerable children greater resilience in the face of traumatic life experiences. Kids Company has been the subject of several documentaries, and in 2005 Camila was named Social Entrepreneur of the Year.
Introduction. 1. The Witnessing. 2. Introduction to Therapeutic Thinking. 3. Exploring the Impact of Sexual Abuse - Letter to Chardonnay. 4. Shame - Letter to Daisy. 5. Adaptive Violence - Letter to Mr Mason. 6. Psychosocial Vulnerabilities Leading to Violence - Letter to Rocky. 7. Cradled in Terror - Children's Capacity to be Violent. 8. Legitimizing Neglect? Achieving the Best for Clients and Workers - Letter to Flower. 9. Parental Addictions - Letter to Julie. 10. Letter to Deny, Cry and Try. Conclusion. Appendix 1: The Basic "Who's Who?" of the Therapy World. Appendix 2: Substance Misuse: A Tourist's Guide.