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Book Reviews   |    
Emotion Regulation in Psychotherapy: A Practitioner’s Guide

by Robert L. Leahy, , Ph.D., Dennis Tirch, , Ph.D., and Lisa A. Napolitano , Ph.D., J.D.; New York, Guilford Press, 2011, 304 pages, $33.18

Reviewed by Elizabeth DeGrush, D.O.
Psychiatric Services 2013; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.640507
View Author and Article Information

Dr. DeGrush is a neuropsychiatry resident in the Department of Psychiatry, UMass Memorial Medical Center, Worcester, Massachusetts.

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Robert Leahy, Dennis Tirch, and Lisa Napolitano are veterans in the field of therapy. Together they draw from the realms of cognitive therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness practice, and compassion-based therapy. Their collective effort, Emotion Regulation in Psychotherapy, is a helpful manual for a wide variety of therapists in a wide variety of fields. Techniques to treat patients through emotion regulation can be applied to all levels of therapeutic interventions, from crisis stabilization to inpatient treatment to outpatient treatment maintenance. Any level or type of provider could use these techniques; they are equally useful to psychologists, social workers, physicians, nurse practitioners, and other health care providers.

The topic of emotion regulation in psychotherapy is extremely important. It seems as though this topic is one that is often discussed, but rarely in plain language and graspable interventions. This makes progress difficult during sessions in which emotion regulation goes unaddressed by therapist and patient. This book provides much needed structure to a difficult topic. It excels in the variety of practices and knowledge it draws from, ranging from Freud to ancient Buddhist writings to Hans Selye and his original description of stress and its effects on the body. It unabashedly pulls from world cultures, current yoga practices, and tried-and-true relaxation techniques. The authors tie these disparate elements together to address the shared experience of emotion regulation.

This book may be the ideal resource for a beginning therapist. Although it is addressing higher-level therapeutic skills, it does so in a way that is accessible. Each chapter is designed as a mini-lecture and is quite readable. The authors lay out the theories and techniques step by step, each well supported with cited literature. Each chapter notes specific techniques, uses descriptive narratives, poses questions, cross-references other techniques, and offers troubleshooting for working with challenging patients. The authors do an excellent job of foreseeing problematic areas and suggesting helpful resolutions. The volume concludes with a repository of forms, worksheets, and diagrams to make the therapist’s job easier. This book makes concrete what is ordinarily nebulous to a beginning therapist—emotion regulation and how to address it both within and between sessions.

The reviewer reports no competing interests.

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