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Publisher's Summary

A renowned psychiatrist reveals how trauma affects children - and outlines the path to recovery.

"Fascinating and upbeat.... Dr. Perry is both a world-class creative scientist and a compassionate therapist." (Mary Pipher, PhD, author of Reviving Ophelia)

How does trauma affect a child's mind - and how can that mind recover? In the classic The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, Dr. Perry explains what happens to the brains of children exposed to extreme stress and shares their lessons of courage, humanity, and hope. Only when we understand the science of the mind and the power of love and nurturing can we hope to heal the spirit of even the most wounded child.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2006, 2017 Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Filled with compassionate, caring stories by a wise healer and scientist, this book will appeal to all who are interested in understanding how children heal." (Lynn Ponton, MD, author of The Romance of Risk)

"In this harrowing but profoundly humane book, Perry and Szalavitz provide an all too timely, utterly engrossing account of traumatized children's lives.... Once I opened it, I could not put it down." (Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, author of Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and How They Shape the Human Species)

"In beautifully written, fascinating accounts of experience working with emotionally stunted and traumatized children, child psychiatrist Perry educates readers about how early-life stress and violence affects the developing brain. He offers simple yet vivid illustrations of the stress response and the brain's mechanisms with facts and images that crystallize in the mind without being too detailed and confusing." (Publishers Weekly)

Featured Article: 20 Best Psychology Audiobooks


Everyone is affected by human psychology and learning about the field is not only interesting; it can also impact our development. Comprehending psychology is a way for us to gain greater understanding of ourselves and others—whether it’s through basic connection or a deeper dive into our psyche. We’ve put together the 20 best psychology audiobooks to help you master the workings of the human mind and keep your thinking sharp, insightful, and aware.

What listeners say about The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog

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    4 out of 5 stars

Nice to see some good come to those abused/neglect

I enjoyed this book as a graduate student in clinical mental health. I like to use the same approach and it's nice to see that others do too and found good results. It also reminded me that with trauma victims it's best to allow them a choice in their recovery.
I do warn those with past abuse that this book contains some triggers and to be cognizant of them when reading this book as it contains some details on sexual abuse/assault and neglect. The descriptions are necessary in order to understand the treatment process.

23 people found this helpful

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Helped me with my most difficult students.

This book IS the answer to what the students with the hardest behaviors need. This and Help for Billy

18 people found this helpful

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Every school counselor should read

This book was amazing. As a school counselor, we are seeing more and more children come into the school system with trauma and we are trying to teach them the academics required in schools but can't move past the behaviors they are displaying. Teachers are not equipped to help them with the trauma and are only being pushed by the administration to have these students show progress in their testing scores. I know that our school system will be looking into trauma-informed training, and I for one can not wait for that day. I am going to approach the administration to look at the NME and hope they consider this approach to help us help our students.

14 people found this helpful

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Required reading for ALL in Family Services & Child Education

Dr. Perry’s model for understanding and healing trauma in children NEEDS to be implemented world wide! As a parent of children that were adopted through the Foster Care System. This book has been eye opening on so many levels! It’s has explained so much about their trauma. As well as the whys and reasons they behave and react they way they do. Needless to say I was parenting them like they were non-traumatized children, which made some things worse. Just as Dr. Perry said! I have stopped immediately and have seen a big change in their behavior. I have been recommending this book to any and all therapist I know. Thank you Dr. Perry!

10 people found this helpful

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A good introduction to trauma theory

I found this book a bit painful to read, and I wondered at the necessity of sharing so intensely the stories of child abuse. It felt a tad voyeuristic. I feel like we can understand trauma theory without needing to delve into children's private pasts. While their identities are HIPPA compliant and not disclosed, it still just doesn't feel respectful how much explicit detail the author goes into. It also feels like Dr. Perry doesn't acknowledge the work clients do in their own healing and takes a lot of credit for their progress/feels a bit like white saviorism. We never hear the stories of when Dr. Perry makes mistakes with his clients; just the stories where he is the only one in the room who can help the child. I'd also like to see it be more strengths-based; it felt focused on deficits and adversity each child has survived.

8 people found this helpful

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excellent and informative

I am a psychotherapist working with children in the foster system and found this book to be very helpful in my work. I have also worked with adults and find that much of this can be applied to work with them, as well. I highly recommend this book to anyone working with children or adolescents in any capacity, either providing therapy, medical services, teaching, tutoring, or any other role. I also highly recommend this book for all psychotherapists regardless of the population you work with.

6 people found this helpful

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Fantastic resource

This should be required reading for anyone who works with children, especially those from hard places such as foster parents, CPS workers and teachers.

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follow up

Great study, lots of insight and a good resource. I will be sharing as well .
persuing training.

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Essential information for parents and providers

I work in a hospital. I see plenty of hardship and trauma every day. I have to guard my mind in my reading. COVID-19 has made the stress even greater. So, I approached this book with caution. Kids and trauma can be triggers for a hard day. For that matter, adults and trauma, too. In any case, the authors of the book showed considerable restraint in choosing their content making it possible, though still hard, to read this material.
I regard this book as being essential reading for parents and care providers. In fact, when I say care providers, I mean adult care providers, too. This book argues that there are critical experiences that children need to have to develop well. When children experience trauma, it can alter their development in ways that severely alter their future life experience including health, relationships, psychological well-being, encounters with the justice system, and even careers. Of course, those familiar with the ACEs study (Adverse Childhood Experiences) are already aware of this.
Perry and his associates have developed a neurosequential model that helps victims of childhood abuse. It helps them find and rebuild gaps in their development. It is a complex process taking into account a wide range of experiences. At least, this is my understanding, having read the book.
What is really important about this book is that it is not only a manual, it is a series of well-told - indeed many beautiful - stories of abused or neglected children whom the author and his team have treated. Perry and his associates grew a science-based approach to help them rebuild the core elements of their lives. Momma P and other characters will stop you in your tracks. What is it that Momma P has? The ability to relate with respect, compassion, and physical and emotional gentleness. Make no mistake: this book is not just academic content: it is also important and illustrative stories, each one revealing something important about his message of relationships and healing.
On a final note, this book is also an appeal to change how our systems - of justice, education, assistance, and parenting - enable childhood abuse, mistreatment, and neglect. By way of example, Perry and his team cared for children released in the first phase of the Branch Davidian siege in Waco. Based on the apocalyptic warnings of the released children, Perry warned the FBI, ATF, and the Texas Rangers that any raid would end badly. His warnings were ignored. It ended badly. This is true of so much of his wisdom: society ignores the science, then calls for help when there's a mess.
We can and should do better. Many of the principles he suggests can be used elsewhere, too. Building relationships of trust, respect, and gentleness - among other qualities - can alter so many of the difficult behaviors we observe in health care and elsewhere.

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Excellent resource

From the first paragraph this book had me hooked and I couldn't put it down. The way the authors integrated story telling alongside clinical assessment and research is very well done. A must read for anyone interested in Trauma informed care.

2 people found this helpful

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  • EDorey
  • 01-14-19

Amazing

This is an amazing book. Anyone who works with children must read this book wow!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Filiz
  • 03-16-19

just wow

get ready to be blown away with this incredible book with very clear information about human physiology

3 people found this helpful

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  • Claire Williams
  • 06-04-19

Fascinating, powerful and moving

With doctors like him the traumatised children of the world have so much more hope.
The stories of trauma or neglect are truly dreadful and you'd be inhumane not to be appalled and upset by the light of the children. However the way that Dr Perry explains how the trauma/neglect that each child suffers then shapes the brain and how it can later be remedied is fascinating.
Highly recommended read for those interested in this area.

2 people found this helpful

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  • BARRY SILVERSTEIN
  • 05-01-19

A real eye opener.

I have no background in psychology but the series of cases and narrative drive home the intended message of how important early years are in forming the personality traits of all of us. Also, the dedication and focus that some brilliant people have to make life better for others that need it most.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-15-21

Very engaging and informative

This book was very well structured and very informative, with extra helpful resources included for further research.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-09-21

Truly enlightening!

I found this book to be so informative, inspirational and very thought provoking.
It shed light on my childhood and increased my desire to try to make a difference.

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  • roro
  • 03-15-21

great book for all to read

I think everyone especially parents need to read this book, very rich with information, and ways to avoid missing up your kids while growing up

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  • Eugene Halliday fan
  • 03-11-21

A must read for all. .

Strong and compassionate. I am impatient for the book Born For Love to become available in audio format.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-30-21

Excellent, informative listen.

This book is very well narrated, easy to listen to and keeps your interest from start to finish.
What I liked most was the message that children and families can be helped to recognise problems and where they come from, and ways in which to help overcome some of the difficulties.
I would recommend to anyone living, working with, or in professional teams around children.

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  • Andy
  • 01-24-21

Life changing

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It answers questions you don’t even know to ask and helps explain so much. I am taking everyone I know about it.

We are currently in the covid pandemic and we are practically being forced to say we are stressed and have counselling. I have joked that while it is okay to not be okay currently it seems it’s not okay to be okay. My gut feeling was that this is not a good thing and although only a tiny part of this book it has been helpful to hear that unneeded counselling can do harm.

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  • Melanie Maher
  • 06-19-20

Don't let the title put you off! Read this book

Three people recommended this book to me -- a foster care trainer, my psychologist, and a client of mine.
At first, I avoided the book, 'The Boy Who Was Raised As a Dog' concerned it may be more upsetting than valuable.

I'm so glad I read it.

This book changed the way I understand children I look after.
This book changed how I can respond to their needs.
This book changed the way I understand myself.
This book changed my level of compassion for people.
This book changed how I advocate, spend, time, vote, think, communicate....

Please read this book.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-11-20

One of the best books I have ever listened to

Having read and or listened to many popular psychology books, this one would have to be one of the best. It is very well written a clear and readily understandable way but also does not compromise on the quality of content. The author seamlessly uses real examples to demonstrate concepts and theory that is progressively developed through the chapters. An excellent book that I’m sure to listen to again and will recommend to others.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-03-19

Revolutionary in the field

One of the first examples of trauma-informed and attachment-based care and therapy when it first came out. The author does not flinch away from his past mistakes while he was a new therapist and this let's us learn from his mistakes so we don't make the same. So many professionals I know from work (as a relationship therapist, mental health caseworker, child protection consultant, etc) don't know and don't follow these foundational principles.
This is a must for professionals in the field of therapy and child protection. I think it should be a mandatory reading in university degrees.

1 person found this helpful

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  • natalie_thring@hotmail.com
  • 06-21-19

Well balanced book of case studies and theory

A well written book on child trauma and therapeutic models of healing.

I am interested in child Psychology with a view to studying it at University. After listening to this book, I am convinced that I want to work with children that have had a traumatic childhood or one of neglect.

I myself was exposed to trauma from a young age and the book also helped me to understand why I react or behave in certain ways based on this trauma.

It is a great balance of case studies and theory that is easy to understand if you are not a health professional.

Really worth a listen.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-06-21

Life changing

This book was so informative. So well written keeping me engaged throughout the entire book. Well done to everyone involved creating this book. The world needs this book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-11-21

Everyone should read/listen to this

Narrater was excellent. A fascinating collection of cases that gave a great cross section of situations and the thoughtful diagnosis and discoverys for helping the children recover. Very sad but the outcomes uplifting.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-10-21

Well worth the listen

This book was an eye opener. The stories may be confronting for some, but the authors have written it well with the intent to dissect the information from it and relay it in a very engaging and insightful way to their readers/listeners.
This will be one I will be listening to again and again.
Thank you for your work!

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  • Bunny O’Connor
  • 04-24-21

Great and well read

Best book on trauma and it’s results........ particularly children but applicable for anyone as most trauma happens when little... interesting although challenging preconceived ideas at times.

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  • Matthew Sheaff
  • 04-11-21

Excellent audio book.

Loved it. I found the audio book great and easier to focus on the difficult concepts it taught. In comparison to trying to read it!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-29-21

AMAZING

could not stop listening to this book, it was so helpful to my work with children and families. I hope bruce narrates his other books as he has a great voice for audio books, his very engaging.