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From The CriticsReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D.(Cermak Health Services)
Description: This book provides a solid foundation to the clinical practice of cognitive therapy, including an introduction to theoretical principles followed by practical application. The authors address common DSM-IV diagnostic categories (both Axis I and II), which most clinicians will see on a daily basis. This is the second edition; the first was published in 1990.
Purpose: In the foreword of the book, Dr. Aaron Beck provides the purpose. He states the book was "written by practitioners for practitioners, which provided an integrated, step-wise approach to understanding the principles and practice of Cognitive Therapy"(p. v). Later, he continues: "In this second edition, the authors have updated their discussion to reflect fifteen years of additional research and experience. They have expanded their coverage to include important topics such as the treatment of substance abuse, intervention with marital and family problems, Cognitive Therapy with children and adolescents, Cognitive Therapy in groups, and ways to maintain and enhance one's skill in Cognitive Therapy." The book meets the authors' objectives.
Audience: Again, according to Dr. Beck in the foreword, "the result is a volume which is accessible to readers who are new to Cognitive Therapy, but which has the depth to be valuable to seasoned cognitive therapists as well." The book is intended for advanced students of behavior therapy, clinical and counseling psychology, psychiatry, and psychiatric social work, and for clinicians at all levels of practice. The authors are credible authorities in the subject matter of the book and when Dr. Beck writes the foreword, you know the authors have the blessing of the father.
Features: This book is excellent because it contains all the necessary elements, especially for one who is learning how to apply cognitive-behavioral principles. The authors detail the therapeutic process from assessment to mid-stage to final stage. Then the concepts are applied with both Axis I and Axis II disorders. In addition, there are chapters addressing cognitive therapy in groups and with children/adolescents and couples. The final chapter wraps up the book quite nicely by challenging therapists to go on to excellence in their work, to grow in their knowledge of the theory, and to get feedback through supervision. Appendix A gives a very nice initial evaluation guide. The book is full of vignettes and transcripts to show how theory and techniques are applied to actual cases. The only drawback is that I would have liked to see more theoretical discussion, especially in the beginning.
Assessment: This is a wonderful book, especially for those who are new to the cognitive-behavioral tradition. It compares well to other books I have read in this area. It is easy to read, practical, and covers important clinical areas. The book is written by one of the most prominent authors in the field of psychotherapy research, Dr. Arthur Freeman. The other authors are also very experienced in their own rights. The therapeutic process is explained very well. It justifies replacing the first edition because there has been so much research since 1990. It includes other areas such as group therapy and children. Also, these authors add their 15 years of experience since the first edition to create a very practical guide to treatment. I give this book my highest recommendation.