Behavioral Activation for Depression: A Clinician's Guide

Behavioral Activation for Depression: A Clinician's Guide

by Christopher R. Martell, Sona Dimidjian, Ruth Herman-Dunn

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From leading experts in behavioral activation research and clinical practice, this volume presents an empirically tested approach for helping clients overcome depression by becoming active and engaged in their own lives. Behavioral activation is a stand-alone treatment whose principles can be integrated easily with other approaches that therapists already use.


From leading experts in behavioral activation research and clinical practice, this volume presents an empirically tested approach for helping clients overcome depression by becoming active and engaged in their own lives. Behavioral activation is a stand-alone treatment whose principles can be integrated easily with other approaches that therapists already use. Guidelines are presented for identifying individualized treatment targets, monitoring and scheduling "antidepressant" activities--experiences that are likely to be rewarding and pleasurable--and decreasing avoidance and ruminative thinking. Rich clinical illustrations include an extended case example that runs throughout the book. Twenty-two reproducible forms, worksheets, and tables can be downloaded and printed in a convenient 8 1/2" x 11" size.

Editorial Reviews

British Journal of Psychiatry
“A very clear and straightforward model for helping people who experience depression....Behavioural activation really works."--British Journal of Psychiatry

Annals of Clinical Psychiatry
"Useful....In a way, all clinicians treating depressed patients should practice some kind of behavioral activation, eg, having patients schedule physical activities and reviewing their gradual increments with patients. Thus, this text could help us in this practice. Those practicing behavioral therapies or those collaborating with or supervising BA therapists will also find this volume informative and useful."
Psychiatric Services
"This work is clearly a labor of love, and its strengths shine through. Multiple patient scenarios are explored....Step-by-step instructions are provided as well as detailed examples of possible homework assignments and how a patient might complete them....It is easily digestible, even for the busiest of practitioners....Well written and easy to read, and it would be a helpful addition to the library of most therapists. It could easily be used as a teaching tool in therapy classes for psychologists and psychiatrists alike. I highly recommend it."
From the Publisher
"Concise and well written, this is the most accessible and clinically useful book on behavioral activation (BA) for depression available to date. It covers the theoretical underpinnings of BA, the evidence for its effectiveness, and key principles of effective delivery. It clarifies the relationship of BA to other evidence-based treatments and is illustrated throughout with practical clinical examples. The book will be of equal value to both trainees and experienced clinicians who want to learn about the effective practice of BA."—Stephen Pilling, PhD, Department of Clinical, Educational, and Health Psychology, University College London, United Kingdom

"Behavioral activation could help millions of people who struggle with depression and with the inertia that is so much a part of this debilitating disorder. The authors draw clear connections between behavioral activation and other modern treatments for depression. The book is written in plain language and includes vivid case examples. It will be an important resource for clinicians who want to refine their approach to their clients’ problems with depression, and will serve as an excellent text for graduate courses in behavior therapy or empirically supported treatments for depression."—Robert J. DeRubeis, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania

"This book is a superb overview of the theoretical basis, empirical support, and clinical application of behavioral activation for depression. It will be an excellent resource for the practicing clinician and for clinicians in training. The book is replete with helpful clinical examples, step-by-step guidelines, summary charts, and forms. It is invaluable for learning how to implement this highly effective treatment for depression."—Michelle G. Craske, PhD, Department of Psychology and Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Michael S. Goldsby, PhD, CCRP (Family Psychiatry of The Woodlands)
Description: This is a clinician's guide to understanding and implementing a therapeutic modality known as behavioral activation for the treatment of depression. Three clinical, research, and academic experts have compiled the theoretical, empirical, and practical application aspects of behavioral activation in this book so that clinicians can understand how this treatment approach can be used either as a standalone or as an integrated modality.
Purpose: As stated clearly in the foreword, the purpose of this book is to equip clinicians, regardless of theoretical orientation, with the information they need to use behavioral activation treatment. Without a doubt, it is intended to train competent behavioral activation therapists and give clinicians the tools they need to use this therapeutic method immediately with clients in their practices.
Audience: The audience includes psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, and other mental health practitioners who work with depressed clients. It would also be an appropriate reference for graduate courses in clinical and counseling psychology.
Features: This timely book is designed to give clinical practitioners everything they might need to implement behavioral activation techniques with depressed clients whom they treat. The stated goal is to provide a comprehensive guide to a variety of techniques that help clients get active and engaged in their lives. The authors highlight the 10 behavioral activation principles that guide therapists throughout the course of treatment and describe the basic treatment strategies. Case examples are used to help anchor the therapeutic approach to real-life situations. A unique feature of this book is the inclusion of numerous activity planning forms and therapeutic worksheets that can be photocopied and used immediately in treatment planning.
Assessment: This comprehensive book is an absolute must-have for clinicians who wish to enhance their theoretical and research knowledge in this emerging field as well as gain insight into the practical application tools of behavioral activation as a therapeutic approach for depression. The book is written in a scholarly style, appropriate for professionals, yet approachable and user-friendly enough for the layperson to fully understand. This is the only book to date that offers a comprehensive and clinically useful guide to behavioral activation as well as the manner in which this therapeutic approach is compatible with other traditional forms of therapy. I highly recommend it as the ultimate clinical reference guide and worthy addition to the emergent field of behavioral activation.

Product Details

Guilford Publications, Inc.
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Barnes & Noble
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Meet the Author

Christopher R. Martell, PhD, ABPP, is Clinical Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and has a private consulting practice focusing on behavioral activation therapy. He is board certified in both clinical psychology and behavioral psychology through the American Board of Professional Psychology and is a founding fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. The coauthor of four books, Dr. Martell has published widely on behavioral treatments for depression and other areas of application of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), including CBT with lesbian, gay, and bisexual clients. He is a recipient of the Washington State Psychological Association’s Distinguished Psychologist Award.

Sona Dimidjian, PhD, is Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research addresses the treatment and prevention of depression, including a particular focus on the mental health of women during pregnancy and postpartum. Dr. Dimidjian is a leading expert in cognitive and behavioral approaches to treating and preventing depression. She is one of a core group of experts in behavioral activation treatment for depression and has published widely in this area. Dr. Dimidjian is also an expert in the clinical application of contemplative practices, such as mindfulness meditation.

Ruth Herman-Dunn, PhD, is in private practice in Seattle and supervises graduate students in her position as Clinical Instructor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington. She has been a research therapist on several large randomized clinical trials for behavioral treatments, including behavioral activation and dialectical behavior therapy, and has led workshops on these treatments throughout the United States and Canada. Dr. Herman-Dunn provides consultation on treatment dissemination studies and collaborates with a core group of behavioral activation experts on research, training, and treatment development.

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