Soothing: Lives of a Child Psychologist
by W. Hans Miller

"Soothing is the right touch at the right moment…finding relief, no matter what it takes…soft pleasure."

'What is soothing?' became a relevant question early to the author, since life threw him an emotional curve while still a child. How did one heal from living with a mentally unstable father and a mother who kept moving the goalposts, while having few real friends? Talking and baseball became Miller’s methods of soothing. Those he was good at even though smaller than school mates. Pitching the perfect baseball as a lefty (which he wasn’t) became his impossible goal.

Once Miller learned that someone could earn a living helping others heal their emotional wounds, he determined to become a psychologist. While college mates opted to treat adults, he felt drawn to treating children. First, the child psychologist must learn to successfully communicate. A college professor provided this clue: start where the child is…even if it’s an interest in fish. With this new approach, one by one Miller’s young clients literally demonstrated to him how they soothed themselves. Next, came matching the individual child to a better soothing technique while providing support through the change.

This 277-page book, with index, alternates between personal experiences and intriguing case studies. Section one briefly covers the author, youth to college. Section two contains nearly 150 pages of case studies from over four decades of professional practice. Soothing will interest several reader types: those fascinated by the psychology of the mind, those employed in the field, and anyone who suffered hurtful scenarios in youth.

As a child psychologist, Miller won many cases and failed a few others. Clients of note were those from whom he learned the most. Loses could be tracked to a lack of appropriate parental engagement. Due to this practice, the author learned more about soothing his own unresolved issues. 'Physician, heal yourself' could be the underlying theme of his book.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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