by Evander Lomke on
Permit me to say this about Lantern Books’s exceptional new title An Unchanged Mind: The Problem of Immaturity in Adolescence by Harvard psychiatrist John A. McKinnon, MD: I wish I were issuing this book myself. The reason being, I am the publisher of American Mental Health Foundation Books.
Adolescent behavior in its extreme forms is always in the news. The New York Times magazine, just two months ago (September 14, 2008), ran a long story on bipolar disorder in children. Except for the long-term problems associated with aging and senility, adolescence is the most stressful prolonged period of human development. It is complicated and pressure-packed under any circumstances—especially so when caregiving adults are faced with issues of arrested development and disrupted maturation.
Dr. McKinnon is not your conventional therapist. Unhappy with today’s jungle of impersonal institutions and MBA-dominated health-insurance companies, he wanted to do something original and dynamic; and so co-founded, with his wife, Montana Academy. This is a therapeutic school for troubled teens.
Written in an accessible style, McKinnon’s book is not simply the story of his innovative Academy. With many real-case examples (the identities are disguised), An Unchanged Mind will be of immense value to all parents of teens in crisis. McKinnon’s inspiring message is that no behavioral problem along these lines is hopeless. He shows how he has done it.
For parents torn between competing and confusing treatment methods, inappropriate pharmacological approaches, and the stresses and sufferings of daily life with a teen “who refuses to grow up,” this book will be invaluable.