Conduct Disorders of Childhood

Treatment Techniques for Engaging Acting-out Children in Psychotherapy


  • Origins of symptoms
  • Mutual storytelling technique and derivative games
  • Parental contributions to development of conduct disorders
  • Conduct disorders, self-assertion, and power
  • Detailed clinical vignettes

In this book Dr. Gardner maintains that many children currently being diagnosed as ADD/Hyperactivity are more accurately viewed as suffering with conduct disorders. These are the troublemakers who cause so much grief to their parents, neighbors, and teachers and who may become juvenile delinquents in adolescence, or even psychopaths as adults.

Dr. Gardner presents an armory of techniques he has developed during thirty-five years of treating conduct-disordered children. He covers theoretical material on antisocial behavior and the social norms, the functions of anger, behavior modification techniques, and the prognosis for the untreated child. He continues with therapeutic techniques he has developed for treating these children, particularly the mutual storytelling technique, The Talking, Feeling, and Doing Game, and The Storytelling Card Game.

Conduct disorders sanctioned by parents, or resulting from deprivation of parental affection or parental abuse of the child is discussed in depth. The relationship of conduct disorders and power, and conduct disorders exhibited by children with neurologically based learning disabilities is also developed. Last, two detailed analyses of therapeutic sessions with antisocial children are presented which vividly apply the theoretical material discussed earlier. One, a full transcription with an adolescent girl, Dr. Gardner considers to be one of the richest and most instructive sessions he has videotaped. The last chapter discusses Walt Disney’s version of Pinocchio as a metaphor for the psychotherapy of the antisocial child.

Therapists who work with conduct-disordered children should find this book an indispensable aid for working with these children and their parents.

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