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From The CriticsReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D.(Cermak Health Services)
Description: This book provides family-centered activity group occupational therapy approaches to children and adolescents suffering from mental illness. There are often no easy answers to assisting families dealing with mental illness, but this book provides practical intervention strategies. This material has also been published as Occupational Therapy in Mental Health-TM, Volume 22, Numbers 3/4 2006.
Purpose: The purpose, the author notes, is to explore "how parent-child occupation-based interventions may support the capacity of families that include a parent or child with mental illness to participate and find pleasure in the everyday family co-occupations.
Audience: According to the author, "it is important that occupational therapists increase their study of interventions to support parents and children in developing optimal interaction patterns for occupational health and development of all family members in spite of mental illness and in support of mental health." Though the author completed her PhD in occupational therapy in 2002, she has worked with parents and children for over 25 years. She has also made numerous presentations and written extensively on child and adolescent psychosocial occupational therapy practice.
Features: The first seven of the book's 10 chapters are a part of the author's dissertation, which comprise a qualitative research study of parent-child activity groups on a child inpatient psychiatric unit. The remaining chapters include case studies of psychiatrically hospitalized adolescents and a young mother diagnosed with depression. The strength of this book is in the many clinical examples/case studies as well as the practical guidelines. Chapter nine discusses a depressed mother who was housed on an inpatient unit from a cognitive-behavioral therapeutic viewpoint. This is followed by home-based parent-child occupational therapy sessions. The author explains very clearly her rationale, therapeutic approach, and techniques, allowing readers to apply them with their own clients. Though it is qualitative, what the author does rings true, especially since she has over 25 years of experience in the field.
Assessment: The value of this book is in the practical case examples. The author provides ideas that readers can use with their own clientele. She also provides suggestions on how to strengthen the parent-child bond, which is often very difficult when the child is suffering from mental illness.