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Book Review: Gentling: A Practical Guide to Treating PTSD in Abused Children, Second Edition by William E. Krill, Jr. LPC

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The first edition of Gentling, by William E. Krill, Jr. LPC, published in 2009, was met with much praise by parents, clinicians, victims and others involved with treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in abused children, particularly those traumatized by sexual abuse. The second edition of Gentling, Published September, 2011, includes revisions and three new chapters on adolescents. Krill’s approach is still considered ground-breaking in its reliance on both compassion and empathy in his treatment model.

In the new Foreword of this second edition, Marian K. Volkman, CTS, and Editor, Children and Traumatic Incident Reduction writes: “In today’s world of trauma-informed treatment, you might assume that an understanding of the effects of trauma and abuse would be at the center of any population of traumatized persons. The treatment of children lags considerably behind that of adults in this regard.”

At the core of the broad-based advocacy for Krill’s approach is his simple definition of gentling as “the process of delivering the balm of gentle gestures.” The absence of this common sense component in conventional treatment methods has frustrated many, and readers with little familiarity with this subject will likely be taken aback by the current state of affairs in the treatment of PTSD in children and teens.

Gentling is clearly a resource book directed primarily to professional clinicians. Content includes an extensive appendices, containing profile and data collection forms, handouts, and ‘Quick Teach Sheets.’ But the book also includes specific chapters and content that will aid parents and foster parents, caregivers, teachers, and school staff, and child protection services workers and judges. Krill’s uncomplicated, deliberate, and easy-to-follow writing style makes the book comfortably accessible to a wide range of readers.

According to the National Center for PTSD, child protection services get about three million reports of abuse each year. Of this total, they estimate that about ten percent involve sexual abuse. It is important to note that they also indicate that it is thought that two-thirds of child abuse cases are not reported. Given this assessment, there is no question that William E. Krill’s Gentling is relevant and important, even beyond the significant number of people who are currently touched by childhood PTSD resulting from abuse. The concepts of Gentling clearly appear to work, leaving no doubt that this book is a must- read for all those now engaged in this daunting struggle. I would also recommend Gentling: A Practical Guide to Treating PTSD in Abused Children, Second Edition to anyone who is concerned about the well-being of future generations of children.

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