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Book Reviews   |    
Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Applying Empirically Supported Techniques in Your Practice
Reviewed by Anne C. Bauer, M.D.
Psychiatric Services 2005; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.56.9.1166
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edited by William O'Donohue, Jane E. Fisher, and Steven C. Hayes; New York, Wiley, 2003, 505 pages, $60

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Anyone who is in clinical practice, whether in private practice, a clinic, or residential or inpatient programs, is aware of the increasing interest in and mounting evidence for the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapies. For anyone who is not an expert but would like to know more about techniques of cognitive-behavioral therapy as applied to a wide range of specific clinical problems, the editors of Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Applying Empirically Supported Techniques in Your Practice have provided a wonderful resource. As they note in the preface, "Cognitive behavioral therapy is a therapy system comprised of many individual techniques…. A given behavior therapist … may know or use only a small subset of these."

William O'Donohue, one of the editors, has been an important contributor in the field of behavioral and cognitive-behavioral therapy for many years. He has brought together a number of contributors to this volume to write on topics of their expertise. Arthur Blume and G. Alan Marlatt wrote a chapter on harm reduction, an important approach in addiction treatment. Marsha Linehan contributed mightily on topics such as mindfulness practice and is cited in numerous chapters for her work in using cognitive-behavioral techniques in her program of dialectical behavior therapy.

I was also appreciative of the editors' and contributors' efforts to cite research evidence for the effectiveness of particular techniques. Keeping in mind the imperfect nature of the evidence supporting applied clinical techniques, it is indeed helpful when developing a rationale for a particular approach to a clinical problem. A case in point: Clinicians at a residential program where I consult were wondering why they were not having more success with reducing encopresis in a particular child. I happened to be reviewing this book at the time, so I read the chapter called "Biobehavioral Approach to Bowel and Toilet Training Treatment" with interest and used it for discussion with the staff. The information in this chapter helped them to reformulate their approach to more of a biologically driven plan that reduced power struggles between them and the child and improved the result of their efforts.

Although I found the material in this book very useful as noted above as well as edifying for my curiosity about techniques I have heard about but not studied, I must add the caveat that this is not a how-to manual. A chapter on attribution change clarifies what is meant by the term and outlines important steps in using cognitive-behavioral techniques to change thought patterns. Reading this chapter will not make an experienced cognitive-behavioral therapist. So there is a "fast food" quality to this book. However, it can stimulate the appetite for learning more, which undoubtedly is the editors' objective.

Dr. Bauer works for the Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children and as a consultant to Hillcrest Educational Centers.

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