Shrink Rap
Shrink Rap
An Irreverent Take on Child Psychiatry
Perfect Bound Softcover
Print Type:

If you want to simultaneously learn about Child Psychiatry, laugh, cry, and skeet shoot, then Shrink Rap – An Irreverent Take on Child Psychiatry, is the book for you. Child Psychiatry is a growing field which has managed to capture our imagination, and whose vernacular has crept into the English language. If someone mentions that his or her child has ADHD, we all have a vague idea of what this means. If we want to learn more, we are confronted with ponderous tomes, more likely to cure insomnia than to explain the presentation of Childhood Depression.

There are plenty of parenting books on the market. Shrink Rap – An Irreverent Take on Child Psychiatry is not a parenting book. It’s a fun book, meant for people who want more information about child psychiatry a chapter at a time. A chapter before bed, a chapter while waiting for a kid’s piano lesson to finish….perhaps a chapter on the toilet (depending on how much fiber one eats).

Shrink Rap – An Irreverent Take on Child Psychiatry is a fun look at topics in Child Psychiatry written in a light-hearted style, and full of anecdotes about patients and families (including the author’s own), which illustrate points while making mothers feel that they are not so alone. It covers topics such as “ADHD”, “Anxiety Disorders”, “Psychosis”, and, of course “Childcare i.e. Leaving Your Child with Nut Jobs”.

Shrink Rap – An Irreverent Take on Child Psychiatry, is written by a child and adolescent psychiatrist with 20 years of experience in psychiatry, but more importantly, 15 years of experience in motherhood. It demystifies the field, while answering the important questions, “Are all children of child psychiatrists nuts?”, “Are child psychiatrists insane?”, and “Why the heck would anyone go into this field?”.

An unfortunate complication of medication for children, is that it is often so effective that it takes away all motivation to work in therapy. I don’t want to keep children on medicine indefinitely. I’d much prefer they participate in therapy and learn how to manage their symptoms. I can then taper off their medication. With this goal in mind, I try to leave kids with enough symptoms to motivate them for therapy, but not make them inordinately uncomfortable.

“I don’t want to do therapy!” they scream at their parents and me. “I don’t have time for it!”

Having two completely overscheduled children at home, I can sympathize. If I had to add therapy once a week to my kids’ already bursting schedules, they might as well forget homework that night. I try to comfort them as best I can. “Look, Marylou, it won’t last forever. If you go to therapy now, you might not have to take medicine one day. Won’t that be cool?”

Marylou usually looks at me with disdain, and continues screaming. Kids don’t mind taking pills. It’s an easy fix compared to schlepping to therapy, and then practicing extinguishing techniques every night. Their parents and I can force them to go, but we can’t force them to participate. We certainly can’t force them to practice therapeutic exercises. I find the whole scenario quite frustrating.

I had a nine year old OCD patient, who attempted to weasel out of therapy by criticizing every therapist his parents and I chose for him, and refusing to participate.

“He used puppets!” George would exclaim, in a tone of voice that implied some dreadful sin had been committed.

“What’s wrong with puppets?” I’d ask.

“Puppets are for babies!” he’d explain.

“I like puppets,” I’d say. George’s face would light up. “You’re a baby!”, he’d laugh, knowing he had me dead to rights.

George hated every therapist. Their techniques were stupid. Drawing pictures was for idiots. (At least I wasn’t dumb enough to say, “I like drawing pictures.”) Modeling clay was for dumbbells. His parents and I gave up, and I raised his Prozac. I imagine George in college now, studying to be a film critic. One day I’ll open The New York Times movie review section and read, “Her acting was babyish, dumb, and a bit idiotic.”

     Dr. Robin Altman completed her Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellowship training at the Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic, part of the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania.  She now practices Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Southeastern Pennsylvania in her private office, and as the medical director of the Children’s Home of Reading, a non-profit facility that treats children with severe psychiatric illness in a residential setting.


     Dr Altman uses humor on a daily basis to treat children and families, not only to bond with patients, but also to help people gain perspective on their various situations.   She lives in Wyomissing, PA with her three boys, Kevin, age 15, Alex, age 14, and Adam, age 49.




Buy This Book (Price in USD)
Perfect Bound Softcover
Price $16.99
Share Print E-mail
facebook   twitter   Website