Building Strengths And Skills / Edition 1

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This is a much-needed practice book that demonstrates how helping professionals can emphasize their clients' resilience, strength, and capacities, rather than focusing on pathology or deficits. It offers an integrative practice model for both assessment and intervention that interweaves strengths-based (specifically solution-focused therapy and motivational interviewing) and skills-building (cognitive-behavioral) approaches. In the strengths-and-skills-based model, helping professionals assume that clients possess the necessary capacities to solve their own problems, transforming the therapeutic relationship into a collaboration focused on bolstering motivation and resources for change. When these resources are exhausted or when deficits become a substantial barrier, then practitioner and client work to develop an individualized skills-building plan. A wide range of examples, written by Jacqueline Corcoran with experts from different fields of practice, clearly demonstrate how the model can be applied to individuals and families struggling with behavior problems, depression, substance abuse, anxiety, violence, and abuse, so that both strengths and skills maximize the client's success. This innovative, dynamic resource is a must have for practitioners across the helping, social service, and mental health professions.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D.(Cermak Health Services)
Description: This book provides a new model for psychotherapy, one which combines solution-focused therapy, motivational interviewing, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. The author believes that combining strength-based and skills-building models will assist clients in overcoming their difficulties more effectively than either of the approaches used separately.
Purpose: In the preface, the author states that this book "takes into account both individual resources and the areas where client skills can be bolstered, offering an eclectic practice approach that interweaves and operationalizes both strengths-based and skills-based approaches". Those are definitely worthy objectives and the book met them.
Audience: As the author asserts, "the helping process described in Building Strengths and Skills can fit any number of roles, including those of case manager, probation officer, caseworker, medical social worker, counselor, crisis worker, and therapist". In my judgment, I would add graduate students to the list because it gives them another approach to use with clients. The author is a credible authority in the subject matter of the book. Dr. Corcoran is Associate Professor of Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University and has authored two other volumes dealing with families. The other contributors have good credentials as well.
Features: The book devotes its first chapters to describe solution-focused therapy, motivational interviewing, and cognitive-behavioral theory and intervention. Dr. Corcoran then spends three chapters integrating the models and showing specifically how to apply it. In chapter six, "Learning the Model: Applications to a Hospital Setting", case studies are presented followed by commentary. This is extremely helpful in learning the model and its application with clients. The second part of the book deals with how to apply this eclectic method with specific disorders, including adolescent behavior disorders, depression, substance abuse, marital therapy, and family violence. The book is wonderful because it presents so many case examples. Dr. Corcoran is a wonderful writer who is able to express herself in a clear, thoughtful manner. The material comes alive as you see it applied to specific problem areas. This book will be a wonderful addition to a student's library because it teaches them another method, one which is comprehensive but not complicated.
Assessment: I really enjoyed reading this book. The field of psychology is exploring more strength-based models, as opposed to deficit-based ones, but Dr. Corcoran has combined the two in an insightful way. You will not be disappointed with this book whether you are a new clinician or a senior therapist. Since this approach can be utilized in only a few sessions, it meets the demands of a managed-care driven society.
From the Publisher
"The greatest strength of Corcoran's work is its potential to help those who are in the position of having a brief period of time to intervene with clients who may not have voluntarily sought assistance and may even be opposed to it." PsycCRITIQUES

"An important piece of work that positively breaks from the norm." -Edward C. Chang, University of Michigan

"If you have been waiting for a book that actually brings positive psychology to life, this is it." -C.R. Snyder, coeditor, Handbook of Positive Psychology

"A readable and practical guide, complete with interview transcripts." -Wallace Gingerich, Case Western Reserve University

4 Stars! from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195154306
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 9/2/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Table of Contents

Part I. Introduction of the Strengths-and Skills-Based Model
Chapter 1. Solution-focused Therapy
Chapter 2. Motivational Interviewing
Chapter 3. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy by Jacqueline Corcoran & Joe Walsh
Chapter 4. Assumptions of the Strengths-and Skills-Based Model
Chapter 5. The Helping Process of the Strengths-and Skills-Based Model
Chapter 6. Learning the Model: Applications to a Hospital Setting
Part II. Application to Disorders
Chapter 7. Working with Adolescent Conduct Problems by Jacqueline Corcoran and David Springer
Chapter 8. Depression by Jacqueline Corcoran and Jane Hanvey Phillips
Chapter 9. Substance Abuse by Holly Matto
Chapter 10. An Older Couple with Anxiety by Carrie Becker, Jacqueline Corcoran, and Kristin Garell
Part IV. Application to Family Violence
Chapter 11. Domestic Violence by Jacqueline Corcoran and Holly Bell
Chapter 12. Working with Parents in the Child Welfare System with Substance Abuse by Melinda Hohman, Christine Kleinpeter, and Hilda Loughran
Chapter 13. Working with Physical Abuse and Neglect by Jacqueline Corcoran, Audrey Jones, and Christine Anksvard
Chapter 14. Working with Parents of Sexual Abuse Victims by Jacqueline Corcoran, Dianna Hart, Kristin Garell, and Janice Berry-Edwards
Chapter 15. Strengths-Based Measures by Theresa Early & Sean Newsome

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