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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D.(Cermak Health Services)
Description: This book is a repository of cognitive therapy techniques. It is an aid to all therapists who use cognitive-behavioral theory in their work, but it is especially helpful to novices who need to build up their repertoire.
Purpose: According to the author, "I wrote this book both for new clinicians who do not want to be limited to a simple list of a few techniques and for experienced clinicians who can derive from it ideas of how to expand cognitive therapy by employing techniques that will appear new to them." Dr. Leahy adds, "Cognitive therapy is not reducible to techniques: rather, techniques allow us to begin cognitive therapy. With this new range of techniques you should be able to work collaboratively with your patients at different 'entry points' to test and modify thoughts and assumptions and to provide them with more effective self-help skills." The book definitely meets the author's worthy objectives.
Audience: The book is directed toward both new and experienced clinicians, but graduate students in clinical psychology could also gain much from this book for they could see how the theory is applied via the many techniques. The author is president of the International Association for Cognitive Psychotherapy, founder and director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy in New York City, clinical associate professor of psychology in psychiatry at Cornell University Medical School, and former editor of the Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy. He has written many books in the area of cognitive psychotherapy.
Features: The book contains cognitive therapy techniques, nothing more and nothing less. These techniques seem to cover the whole gamut of theoretical concepts, from automatic thoughts to schema-focused therapy. Forms that can be used with clients are included. The value in this book lies in the presentation of many different kinds of techniques, along with actual forms. If one is not applicable, there are others to choose from. Dr. Leahy writes in a very readable fashion. In addition, the description of the technique includes a clinical example, homework assignment, possible problems that could arise, and cross-reference to other relevant techniques.
Assessment: This book is excellent because it is so practical. The techniques are easy to understand and Dr. Leahy provides everything you need to apply it in a clinical situation right away. There are reproducible forms that you can use with clients (under certain conditions). The only drawback is that cognitive theory is not thoroughly explained in this book. Thus, novice clinicians would really need a companion volume which delineates the theory in detail. All in all, however, this is a great contribution to the clinical field.