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Book Reviews   |    
Evidence-Based Psychotherapies for Children and Adolescents
Reviewed by Caroline Fisher, M.D.
Psychiatric Services 2006; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.57.3.422-a
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edited by Alan E. Kazdin and John R. Weisz; New York, Guilford Press, 2003, 476 pages, $50

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This is a reference book for people who are planning research on psychotherapies for children and adolescents, for those looking for a summary of evidence supporting the effectiveness of different psychotherapies, or for those who want to implement a psychotherapy program. It is a thorough volume, well researched and carefully made. It is not a book for the casual clinician who may want to pick up a technique or two.

Evidence-Based Psychotherapies for Children and Adolescents is divided into three sections: "Foundations of Child and Adolescent Therapy Research," "Programs of Research," and "Conclusions and Future Directions." The first section describes the problems inherent in doing research on therapy techniques, especially for patients who are developmentally changing. These chapters put forth a fairly comprehensive discussion on how to do research on psychotherapeutic treatments and are likely to be valuable for readers looking to set up research studies. The second section makes up the bulk of the book and is divided into three subsections based on diagnoses. This part of the book is a catalog of treatment strategies for which there is evidence of effectiveness with children and adolescents. Each chapter focuses on a different treatment and is written by expert investigators of that treatment. The therapy itself is described, as well as the means by which it has been implemented—for example, in the inpatient or outpatient setting, in the community, or in a school.

The evidence for the treatment is summarized, and a contact address for additional information is given. However, it is important to note that the very reason these treatments can have solid evidence of their efficacy is the same reason the casual clinician may not find this book to be as useful: each treatment is carefully manualized. Thus clinicians must contact the investigators for the manual and training if they are interested in applying a particular psychotherapy. That said, the chapters are both thorough and interesting. Each chapter gives a sufficient description of the therapy and the evidence surrounding it to give the reader a good understanding of what it is, whom it might benefit, the evidence supporting the therapy's effectiveness, and a reasonable guess as to why it works. The final section is a single chapter by Kazdin and Weisz discussing a research agenda for the future of psychotherapies.

This is a useful book for those who may be setting up a program for children or adolescents who want an overview of strategies to select from. It is not a how-to manual by any means. However, contact information is easily available. The authors describe the programs well enough to compare them and well enough to get a good sense of what the approach of each program is. Similarly, for those who are looking to do outcome research on an existing program, this book gives plenty of information of what research has been done with other programs and solid advice as to how to design studies in the future.

Dr. Fisher is affiliated with the department of psychiatry of UMass Memorial Health Care in Worcester, Massachusetts.




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