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Book Reviews   |    
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Bipolar Disorder • Cognitive Therapy: Basics and Beyond
Reviewed by Peter W. Moran, Ph.D.
Psychiatric Services 1998; doi:
View Author and Article Information

Monica Ramirez Basco and A. John Rush; New York City, Guilford Press, 1996, 291 pages, $35 • Judith S. Beck, Ph.D.; New York City, Guilford Press, 1995, 338 pages, $33 Judith S. Beck, Ph.D. ; New York City, Guilford Press, 1995, 338 pages, $33

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These two books on cognitive therapy are right on schedule in the era of managed mental health care.

In Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Bipolar Disorder, Drs. Basco and Rush tackle a major intra- and interpersonally damaging mental health disorder and demonstrate how it can be treated with a combination of cognitive-behavioral and psychopharmacological approaches. The managed care field favors treatment protocols that are empirically based, able to be applied consistently across disciplines, focused on the present, and symptom specific. This text describes a treatment that meets these requirements and that is easily understood by professionals across the mental health disciplines.

This text also meets the need for a conduit between psychopharmacological and psychotherapeutic interventions. For medical practitioners it is an fine resource for understanding the cognitive-behavioral interventions of their mental health colleagues. The book's excellent end-of-chapter summaries are especially useful. Similarly, the chapter on psychopharmacological treatments for bipolar disorder, a succinct summary of the psychiatrist's choices, is invaluable for non-medically-trained mental health treaters. The several chapters on cognitive and behavioral symptoms in mania and depression not only specify techniques for treating the symptoms but delineate what the patient is experiencing, which is likely to increase empathy.

Patient involvement is key to increasing the impact of treatment between sessions, and the text provides excellent ideas for homework assignments. Patients' self-monitoring of symptoms is fully addressed, as is the ever-important issue of adherence to treatment. On the whole, Drs. Rush and Basco successfully bring together their combined clinical experience of three decades to produce a timely, pragmatic cognitive-behavioral treatment approach for bipolar disorder.

The second book, Cognitive Therapy: Basics and Beyond, is an invaluable text for mental health professionals who want a theoretical and pragmatic reference in their attempts to deal effectively with managed care. The author, Dr. Judith Beck, is the daughter of Aaron Beck, M.D., the father of cognitive therapy. She successfully describes cognitive therapy's theoretical essentials and adds excellent present-focused, symptom-specific strategies. This product is complemented by contemporary clinical examples, giving the reader a sense of empowerment about his or her own clinical potential as a cognitive therapist.

The text has many strong points. Early presentation of the principles of cognitive therapy teaches the reader to apply cognitive theory in a managed-care-savvy, solution-focused approach to treatment. The descriptions of how thoughts, emotions, and behaviors influence one another help the reader understand and formulate a strong theoretical basis for cognitive-behavioral therapy. Inclusion of dialogues between therapist and patient provides a smooth transition from theory to practice.

The chapter on core beliefs demonstrates how the patient's cognitive etiology leads to dysfunctional thinking, feeling, and behaving. Work sheets facilitate the application of cognitive-behavioral principles within therapy sessions as well as in homework assignments. Information about modifying cognitive treatment for specific disorders highlights the importance of targeted intervention, a real state-of-the-art essential for managed care.

Dr. Judith Beck's decade-long involvement in cognitive training shows readily in this book. Whether readers are graduate students getting their first exposure to cognitive therapy or seasoned professionals wanting a refresher on cognitive theory, Dr. Beck's book will satisfy most all professional training needs.

Dr. Moran is clinical director of the Boston Road Clinic in Worcester, Massachusetts, and assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester.

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