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Book Reviews   |    
Marital and Family Therapy, fourth edition
Reviewed by Michele Reiter, M.S., L.I.C.S.W.; Christy N. H. Adams, B.A.
Psychiatric Services 2001; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.52.8.1109-a
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by Ira D. Glick, M.D., Ellen M. Berman, M.D., John F. Clarkin, Ph.D., and Douglas S. Rait, Ph.D.; Washington, D.C., American Psychiatric Press, Inc., 2000, 739 pages, $44

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In a foreword to this book, Peter Steinglass, M.D., describes this edition as "an opportunity to document… a major reconceptualization of a field." What he finds noteworthy is that this edition addresses issues connected with the movement of family therapy as a field from being a subspecialty of psychotherapy toward becoming a "discipline" with broad-based application. For many marriage and family therapists, this shift reflects what we have been working toward for several decades—that is, to be able to apply family therapy concepts to all aspects of psychotherapy regardless of who is actually in the room with us during a given session.

For the marriage and family therapist and student, Marital and Family Therapy offers both an accessible organization and the benefit of information that has been left out of previous works. The book progresses in sections, which move from development and definition of the field itself to the development of family life. It addresses the history and "normal" development of family life while allowing readers to broaden their understanding of "nontraditional" families and of cultural variations in families. It defines problems that families encounter and provides excellent information about how to comprehensively evaluate a family. In later sections of the book, historical as well as current schools of family therapy are reviewed.

The book's chapters are well organized. Each begins with a list of objectives and concludes with a useful summary and an excellent bibliography. Tables and graphics significantly enhance the book's usefulness by presenting a great deal of information in a quick-reference format.

This volume will be useful not just to marriage and family therapists but to other clinicians as well. Medical practitioners, for example—often the family's first choice for discussion of family issues—can use this book to assist them in providing competent and helpful interventions to families who are dealing with a chronic illness or an acute medical crisis.

Since our experience is that of family therapy supervisor and graduate intern, we were most impressed by this book's usefulness for both the supervisor or seasoned professional practitioner and the graduate-level student. In our consultation within the internship setting, we have been seeking just such a reference work. We both found relevant information in this book to bridge the gap between our different levels of experience and to provide a common language for discussing the work at hand and for understanding the families with whom we work.

As the settings in which we practice become more and more complex, so does the need for more detailed information about families—about working with families with special needs, serial relationships, marital conflict, parenting issues, issues connected with race and class, social structure of families, and cross-cultural issues. We recommend Marital and Family Therapy for all who work with families and couples.

Ms. Reiter is program director for Families in Recovery, a Retreat Healthcare substance abuse treatment program for women in Brattleboro, Vermont. Ms. Adams, a student in the marriage and family therapy program of Antioch New England Graduate School in Keene, New Hampshire, is completing her second year of internship.




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