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From The CriticsReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D. (Cermak Health Services)
Description: The authors cover both process and techniques in their description of how cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be applied to group settings.
Purpose: According to the authors, "We attempt to bridge the gap between the typical CBT protocols to follow particular strategies and the real-world messiness that is inherent in translating these specific strategies in a group context. To do so, we illustrate the challenges in this translation with a formalized description of the interplay among group members as they think, feel, and experience together the powerful changes that occur during CBT. We also try to do justice to the complexities of being a group CBT leader and specify the set of skills that group leaders must know and practice if they are to be effective. Through this work, we have come to believe that considering processes in CBT groups is as basic as the mechanics of teaching through disputation. Group CBT works best only when the interactional properties of the group modality are understood by group leaders and leveraged to maximize learning, change, and growth."
Audience: The book is intended for CBT practitioners who work with groups, as well as other group therapists interested in evidence-based techniques. Students and trainees in clinical psychology, psychiatry, social work, counseling, family therapy, and nursing will also find it of value. Dr. Bieling is associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University and is a founding fellow in the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. Dr. McCabe is chair of the Clinical Behavioural Sciences Programme in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University and has published widely, including on cognitive-behavioral therapy. Dr. Antony is professor in the Department of Psychology, Ryerson University, Toronto and has published extensively in the areas of cognitive-behavioral therapy and anxiety disorders.
Features: The three parts of the book cover general principles and practice of CBT groups; CBT groups for specific disorders; comorbidity and future directions. The book combines research with CBT theory to create a very practical treatment manual. The authors do a nice job of explicating both process and CBT techniques, in the Yalom tradition. The many tables go a long way in illustrating the material. The authors also provide useful case material. In Part II, the authors present tables with sample outlines of treatment protocols for each disorder. Part III gives treatment protocols when groups are composed of individuals with multiple Axis I diagnoses. This practical and easy to read book can aid both the novice therapist and the seasoned veteran.
Assessment: This book is a tremendous help for all CBT therapists who have wanted to combine both process and technique in conducting group therapy. The authors show how some of Yalom's principles apply and how some do not in CBT tradition. It's like a master class in learning how to do group therapy. Short-term group approaches to specific disorders will help therapists satisfy managed care insurance demands. Hopefully, books like this will train CBT therapists to conduct effective groups, just like Yalom has been doing for decades in the psychodynamic tradition. Finally, with Dr. Arthur Freeman as one of the contributors, you know you have a powerful book.