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Jade has a pet dragon called Spike. Her little dragon gets her in trouble regularly because he chews holes in her school bag or starts fires. Jade's father is not impressed and warns her that her dragon must go if she cannot tame him. She meets Typhon, a master dragon trainer, and is surpised to learn that she has her own dragon brain. In the training process, she has to learn to master her own feelings before she can begin teaching Spike. Training Your Dragon Brain follows the adventures of Jade, Spike and friends as they learn that their feelings and their dragon brains are closely connected.


Dr Erika Steenberg, Clinical and neuropsychologist says that the value of the story is that it introduces useful information about the origin and regulation of feelings in the brain in a child-friendly and fun way. All children understand something about animal behaviour and how they need taming, so they can easily relate to the dragon pets as concrete representations of their primitive brains. The illustrations bring Jade, Spike, Typhon and the other characters to life in a delightful way. The 'dragon training' methods illustrate useful ways of regulating feelings, giving children some concrete tools for regulating their emotions. I envisage that Jade and Spike will help therapists and parents introduce the idea of emotion regulation in a fun way. Conversations about feelings and ways of dealing with them will certainly open long after Spike and Jade say goodbye and go to bed.


Dr Brenda van Rooyen, Educational psychologist, noted, with humour, knowledge, and delightful story-telling, Janet Bytheway helps children understand and train their dragon brains to regulate emotions and behaviour. I cannot wait to have this gem in my practice! 

Training your dragon brain by Janet Bytheway

SKU: 9780796164735
  • Janet Bytheway is a clinical psychologist, play therapist and narrative therapist who for the past thirty plus years has been helping children and adults figure out their feelings and problems.

    She graduated with a Master’s Degree in Clinical psychology. In 1995 she co-founded the Blaauwberg Therapy Centre, a multidisciplinary centre where medical and allied professionals work together as a team. Her practice is known for working holistically and collaboratively with adults, children and families. She  has a special interest in working with families in distress.

    Janet has always loved stories and is passionate about the stories that people tell themselves and others about their lives. Working with children has shown her the healing power of play. Find out more about her practice at


    Janet is committed to helping children understand and cultivate skills to deal with their feelings in ways that will enhance their lives.  She is the co-founder of the Smart Heart Board Game, founder of the Brave Bag, both tools to help children learn about their feelings.  She is drawn to out of the box thinking. Training your Dragon Brain is her first book.

    She lives on the West Coast with her hubby, her plants and books and her two Golden Retrievers, Coco and Pepe.

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