Saturday, January 25, 2014

Book Review: A Safe Place for Caleb

Title:  A Safe Place For Caleb
Author:  Kathleen A. Chara and Paul  J. Chara, Jr.

Description from Amazon:
"A Safe Place for Caleb is a comprehensive and richly illustrated resource for individuals of all ages who are dealing with attachment problems. Parents, professionals, and lay people will find this book helpful in understanding and addressing attachment disorders in children, adolescents, and adults. The first half of the book is an interactive story that follows the experiences of Caleb, a young boy who relates his difficulties and frustrations in forming and sustaining healthy relationships. He learns strategies for coping with attachment issues during his journey to the Safe Tree House, where he is introduced to the four "attachment healing keys". These act as therapeutic tools to unlock difficulties with attachment, and are presented using text and illustrations that are easily accessible for readers of all ages, even for young children. The second half of the book presents a summary of current scientific thought on attachment styles and disorders, and provides a wide array of assessment tools, photocopiable material and healing techniques to address attachment difficulties. Lists of helpful organizations and relevant reading materials are also presented. Based on established psychological principles, the book is a unique and imaginative guide for professionals, parents, caregivers, and people of all ages who are dealing with attachment issues."

My son and I went through this book together when he was 7/8 years old, I wouldn't recommend it for kids much younger than this.  There are some really great concepts and parenting ideas in here that could be utilized for younger kids, so you may want to read through the book and introduce the concepts that would be appropriate for your child.  For older kids they could work through the book independently if they wanted to.
The book is broken into three parts.  Part I tells Caleb's story from the perspective of Caleb.  He starts by discussing his hurt parts, what he believed and how he behaved.  He then talks about starting to heal, how he changed his beliefs and behaviors  The next section in Part I talks about Caleb's Safe Tree House, a safe place that can be created in your mind to go to when things are tough.  He then goes over four steps to healing and where he ended up 15 years later.  Part II contains helpful charts, assessment tools, and handouts. There are several tips/tricks for dealing with difficult behaviors like lying, stealing, anger, negative thoughts, etc.  Finally, Part III has resources that might be helpful.
I would highly recommend this book if you are ready to delve into helping your child heal.  My son was fascinated reading Caleb's story, that bad things had happened to other kids too, not just him.  Those of you parenting kids from hard places know that dealing with all of these feelings can trigger some more behaviors in our kiddos, so you need to be prepared for that as well.  The book offers some GREAT suggestions on dealing with behaviors, we have used several of them!  The other thing I really liked about this book was the language introduced, "hurting beliefs" "healing behaviors", etc.
The language put some complicated ideas into simple language that can be used with your child to explain things they went through or feelings they are having.

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