The Experience of Childhood

The experience of childhood


I have been working with children most of my professional life. I worked first as a teacher, then I served as a consultant to New York City public schools, and now I work as a child psychoanalyst and therapist. As a professor at Adelphi University I teach courses on children’s lives and childhood to teachers, school psychologists and clinicians. My writings in this area are preoccupied with the notion of life chances. For many years my concerns centered around economic and structural inequalities – a concern that no doubt stemmed from my own background, growing up in a family that was poor, in rural Ireland. More recently I have been concerned with the impact of adverse emotional experiences on children’s capacities to be free and creative. My writings around childhood focus partly on the qualitative experience of childhood suffering, partly on clinical issues in engaging children with their desires, and partly on our capacities to create emotionally freeing spaces in which children can experience their own possibilities. In working with professionals in the field, and indeed, in my own practice, I work at the notion of Imagining children otherwise, as the title of one of my books on this subject indicates. I do autobiographical, clinical, and theoretical writing in this area, and I have written one book and edited three recent books on the subject of childhood. Samples of my writings and a complete listing of publications may be found in the “My Recent Writings” section of this website.

I have written or edited four books on children’s lives, and details of these books can be found in the section of my website that details my writings.

As part of an initiative to broaden the conversation around childhood, child subjectivity, and child rights, I have started a new book series with colleagues Dr. Awad Ibrahim, [University of Ottawa], Dr. Gabrielle Ivinson [Manchester Metropolitan University], and Dr. Marek Tesar [University of Auckland]. The series is entitled CRITICAL CHILDHOOD & YOUTH STUDIES: Theoretical Explorations and interventions in clinical, educational, social and cultural settings. A flyer for this series, offering a statement of purpose,  details of the international editorial advisory board, and requirements for submitting proposals for monographs or edited volumes can be found in the Editorial Projects tab on this website.



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