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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Susan Richardson, MA, PsyD (Private Practice)
Description: This book describes the recent research on understanding and treating perpetrators of violence in intimate relationships. The first edition was published late in 2002.
Purpose: It seeks to explore the abusive personality from psychological and neurobiological developmental pathways, reviewing both theory and research data.
Audience: The book is intended for clinical professionals working with this type of perpetrator or their families. It also would be appropriate for graduate studies in personality and interpersonal relationships. The author has done a significant amount of research with this population and he reviews research by others from the earliest discussions on the subject.
Features: The fundamental areas of understanding, diagnosing, and treating this type of perpetrator are covered. The author begins his book by noting nothing was written on the topic of domestic violence until the 1970s, then presents all the relevant research and theory since then. Chapters cover theory, the cycle of violence, understanding the origins of rage, and, finally, treatment of this type of violence. Although the book is not comprehensive, it is certainly a well done offering on a somewhat neglected subject. Some readers may not agree with the object-relations theoretical focus, but that perspective is well supported with research.
Assessment: This book is well written and well researched, offering insight into an area that has only recently become the focus of clinical attention. The second edition highlights some neurobiological underpinnings to the disorder and also discusses female abusers based on recent research.