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Book Reviews   |    
Clinical Behavior Therapy: Adults and Children
Reviewed by Alan Singer, Psy.D.
Psychiatric Services 2003; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.54.9.1296
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edited by Michel Herson; New York, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2002, 513 pages, $65

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Clinical Behavior Therapy: Adults and Children is a well-written, comprehensive text on providing cognitive-behavioral and behavioral therapy to adults, adolescents, and children. This book will be of practical value to the novice as well as the seasoned mental health practitioner by providing a thorough explanation of how theory may be successfully applied in a variety of settings. The 25 chapters contain an abundance of essential information and useful strategies that can be readily implemented in outpatient clinics and inpatient facilities as well as in the teaching and supervision of graduate students.

Unlike other books that simply look at one or two aspects of clinical practice or therapeutic treatment, this casebook looks at the entire experience of treating psychologically ill clients. This impressive collection of valuable clinical knowledge offers the professional a detailed account of how to administer treatment as well as the rationale for choosing such treatment. The book is divided into two separate sections, one on working with adults and one on working with children and adolescents. Each section begins with an effective overview chapter that describes a model of case conceptualization that uses interview, observation, contextual information, and assessment instruments to develop a working scientific hypothesis and a treatment plan. This framework is then applied in subsequent chapters to a wide variety of psychological disorders, such as anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, and substance abuse. However, the application of behavioral and cognitive-behavioral therapies to persons who suffer from the most severe forms of mental illness—bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other psychotic disorders—is, regrettably, beyond the scope of this text.

The book has several notable strengths that deserve specific mention. First, the book's format is extremely effective in delivering an abundance of information with great clarity. The chapters are arranged according to a standard outline that includes a description of the disorder, a case description, the chief complaint, history, behavioral assessment, medical consultation, case consultation, rationale for treatment choice, course of treatment, therapist-client factors, course of termination, follow-up, managed care considerations, and overall effectiveness.

The consistent structure of this text makes it especially efficient as a reference source for specific issues and information. It also provides an opportunity for each of the many masterful authors to uniformly enlighten the reader about the diagnosis, current research, assessment process, psychopharmacology, treatment planning process, techniques, and methods involved with each clinical problem.

In addition, the chapters are impressively composed, with a thorough analysis of the current research literature. The specific inclusion of medical consultation and managed care considerations gives due attention to matters that are essential in clinical practice but at times neglected in educational settings and training programs. Finally, the case descriptions are extremely helpful and clearly illustrate the concepts in a concrete and practical way. These case descriptions read like a treatment manual and give the reader an understanding of how and when to implement specific interventions, goals, and strategies during the course of brief therapy.

In sum, Clinical Behavior Therapy: Adults and Children is an exceptional text that fully accomplishes its stated goals. It distills the essential elements of theory, research, and therapeutic process in the context of contemporary advances and concerns in the field of mental health. Moreover, it does so in an engaging and vividly descriptive manner that makes it a pleasure to read as well as an indispensable reference source. Overall, this casebook has achieved status as a new benchmark of excellence in the field of psychology.

Dr. Singer is affiliated with Central State Hospital in Petersburg, Virginia.




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