by Patrick W. Corrigan, Kim T. Mueser, Gary R. Bond, Robert E. Drake, and Phyllis Solomon; New York, Guilford Press, 2007, 562 pages, $75
Mr. Webster is director of the Psychosocial Rehabilitation Program, Dorothea Dix Hospital, Raleigh, North Carolina.
The book Principles and Practice of Psychiatric Rehabilitation is an outstanding contribution to the field of psychiatric rehabilitation. The authors, each a prominent leader in psychiatric rehabilitation, draw from their varied interests, skills, and research experience to produce a text that is comprehensive and authoritative.
The volume's 21 chapters are divided into four parts. Part 1 focuses on persons with psychiatric disabilities, the stigma of mental illness, and the definition of psychiatric rehabilitation. Part 1 also includes a review of the diverse historical context in which the field has evolved. In part 2, the authors discuss the multitude of service approaches used in psychiatric rehabilitation and organize them into ten broad categories: rehabilitation assessment, illness self-management, case management, medications, housing, employment and education, social functioning, family interventions, cognitive impairment, and management of criminal justice involvement.
The five chapters in part 3 examine special populations and problems with respect to trauma, dual diagnosis, physical health and medical care, peer services, and the management of aggressive behavior. Finally, part 4 includes three chapters that address the rehabilitation system's issues of erasing stigma and promoting empowerment and cultural competence; policy considerations are also addressed. Each of the book's four parts begins and ends with succinct and precise introductions and summary conclusions. Throughout the book, personal examples describe life situations of individuals with psychiatric disabilities.
The authors are immensely successful in a variety of ways. First and perhaps foremost, their approach—true to the book's title—is consistently empirical. Psychiatric rehabilitation is reviewed and analyzed through the lens of the evidence base associated with specific services and practices. The volume includes 90pages of references. The personal examples further augment the focus on empiricism, bringing the discussions to life and serving to remind the reader that psychiatric rehabilitation is astonishingly clear and simple in mission yet infinitely complex in practice.
The authors make a significant contribution by consolidating the most up-to-date information and empirical conclusions about psychiatric rehabilitation. As psychiatric rehabilitation continues to evolve, it is important to examine the evidence, or lack thereof, for specific practices currently in use and identify areas in need of future study. This volume does that well.
Principles and Practice of Psychiatric Rehabilitation is also a useful tool. As director of an inpatient rehabilitation program, I have already found it to be a valuable resource when conducting program and job description reviews, considering assessment instruments, designing staff training, and educating inpatients in a group setting.
My sole criticism is that the book makes no mention of the extraordinary transformation occurring in the many inpatient psychiatric facilities that have designed and implemented centralized and integrated rehabilitative programs, such as "treatment malls." A description of such initiatives would have strengthened the book and helped to bridge the gap between inpatient and outpatient experiences with psychiatric rehabilitation.
Overall, the authors deliver a comprehensive, well-written, and well-organized volume that will undoubtedly become a text of choice for their intended readers, who include students and future social scientists, individuals with psychiatric disabilities, practitioners, and administrators.