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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D.(Cermak Health Services)
Description: This book discusses various theoretical orientations of how to conduct couple therapy as well as clinical applications. As a reference, it provides the landmark work in the field by influential authors. This fourth edition updates the 2002 edition.
Purpose: According to the editor, "this volume presents the core theoretical and applied aspects of couple therapy in modern clinical practice. These core couple therapies are those that form the conceptual and clinical bedrock of therapeutic training, practice, and research."
Audience: In addition to clinicians, the book is intended for students and trainees in couple and family therapy, clinical psychology, social work, counseling, and psychiatry. The editor is emeritus professor of psychiatry and director of family therapy training at the University of Wisconsin. He has published extensively and is a former editor of the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy.
Features: The book begins by defining the major theoretical approaches to the practice of couple therapy in some depth, including cognitive-behavioral, object relations, systemic, and integrative. The second part addresses clinical applications such as marital disruption, partners with medical and/or psychiatric illnesses, and various diversity and legal/ethical issues. The chapters are arranged fairly uniformly and include background, healthy versus dysfunctional relationship, structure of therapy, mechanism of change, role of therapist, assessment and treatment planning, interventions, sources of difficulty in therapeutic change, termination, and case illustration. The authors do a fine job of briefly walking the reader through the therapeutic process. The case illustrations are excellent. Because of my interest in cognitive-behavioral therapy, I took special interest in chapter two, which describes that approach and I was impressed with how thoroughly it was covered. The case illustration included the initial conceptualization, course of therapy, and concluding comments.
Assessment: This is one of the finest clinical books I have ever read. It should be in the library of clinicians who do marriage and family work and required reading for all graduate students who are focusing on couples work. It thoroughly covers couple therapy, integrating theory with practice. Readers can learn much just by reading the case illustrations. Graduate students who are studying family and couples therapy will gain important knowledge not only by seeing how a theoretical paradigm is applied, but also by observing how it compares to the other approaches. Chapters in this edition have been rewritten and new case examples added. New topics such as work with borderline personality disorder in couple therapy and legal and ethical issues are covered. Thus, it does justify replacing the third edition.