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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D.(Cermak Health Services)
Description: This resource for conducting clinical interviews and writing psychological reports includes helpful hints and phrases, and walks one through a complete mental health evaluation. The previous edition was published in 2000.
Purpose: According to the author, "this book is more than a giant collection of synonyms; it is a treasury of the terms, standard phrasings, common concepts, and practical information clinicians use in their daily work. In breadth and in depth, this book covers the language of American mental health. It is organized to help you, first, collect the client information you need; second, organize those findings into a high-quality report; third, find the most precise terms to express your findings; and fourth, develop appropriate diagnoses, treatment plans, and recommendations."
Audience: As the title says, the book is written for clinicians. In addition, the author encourages clinicians to use this book when teaching and supervising students or less experienced professionals. The author provides a caveat for using the book: "The author and publisher presume (1) that the users of this book are qualified by education and/or training to employ it ethically and legally, and (2) that users will not exceed the limits of documentable competence in their disciplines as indicated by their codes of ethical practice." I agree with that the target audience is clinicians and students, especially those in psychology, psychiatry, and social work.
Features: The book is divided into three parts covering Conducting a Mental Health Evaluation, Standard Terms and Statements for Wording Psychological Reports, and Useful Resources. One of the highlights of the book is that it provides everything you need to produce useful documents, whether a one-page progress note or a lengthy report. The author provides handy phrases, pertinent questions, and wonderful synonyms, challenging the reader to produce better descriptions of behavior. It is almost like a supervisor is at your side, guiding you through the process. This is a book where every single chapter is useful. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on treatment planning and treatment plan formats that includes a sample treatment plan. You can use this information immediately in a clinical setting.
Assessment: This is a must-have book for clinicians and students alike. I try to stretch myself by applying this information instead of getting in a report writing rut. The book is easy to read and it is one of the few books in which every chapter is good. There is no fluff here. The sixth edition is justified because it includes HIPAA privacy regulations and updated information from DSM-IV-TR and ICD-9 diagnostic criteria.