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From The CriticsReviewer: Elaine M. Scorza, MS, APRN, BC (Rush University College of Nursing)
Description: Through a thorough review of research on the efficacy of self-help groups, the author poses strategies to help both clinicians, and therefore, individuals who seek help, as well as the community as a whole.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide an integrative, international review of research on selected international self-help organizations targeting addictions. This new book is much needed for its basis in research to support the efficacy of self-help groups as a viable treatment consideration in managing addictions. Additionally, the examination of self-help organizations in several countries adds to its value of presenting a variety of contexts for an increasing diversity of clients seen in healthcare settings today.
Audience: This book's applicability spans a wide variety of disciplines and is especially useful for those who deal with addictions. Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, counselors, and addiction specialists can all find something here. According to the author, this book is intended for clinicians and policy makers.
Features: The author, an award-winning psychiatrist, director of program evaluation, and an associate professor of psychiatry, is well qualified. His service as an expert in consultation in a number of national settings clearly shows through in the work. The scope of the book's coverage on the topic is quite broad, starting with an introduction to self-help-based addictions groups internationally, and this limits the depth to which the author can delve. For instance, this cannot be considered a stand alone referral book. The book identifies four interrelated goals: to describe a variety of addiction-related mutual help organizations; to assess how being in a self-help group affects members; to suggest guidelines for clinical and policy interaction with self-help groups; and to include scientific exploration on controversial issues in the field.
Assessment: Overall, this is a good quality book whose focus is both a strength and a limitation. The author meets his objectives well. Although agency contact information or resources for referral are outside this book's scope, perhaps this is just a prompt for a future companion book.