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Good practice

REASONS amp; REMEDIES. By Patricia Sims. Mortimore Books pound;10.95 or pound;12.95 from bookshops

I was not sure whether I was going to love this book or hate it. My ambivalence began with the cover and continued throughout my reading.

We are told that Reasons amp; Remedies focuses on individuals and not conditions but the children on the front cover are encircled in a list of conditions. We are promised a book that shows how understanding children's personality traits can be used to help them.

Patricia Sims's message is a simple one: many of the difficulties manifested by children are linked to their anxiety or tension and we ned a holistic response that recognises this. She asserts that labels of conditions have limited usefulness but does not extend her critique of them. She uses her own overarching concepts, like switching off and avoidance, to explain how difficulties begin and are maintained.

We are given hundreds of mini case studies and the author's ability to describe children in a way that makes us feel we know them makes her book very readable but it left me wanting greater analysis and rigour.

While this book is thin on research, with practical suggestions that are not exciting, the argument is strong and will arouse interest.

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