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From The CriticsReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D.(Cermak Health Services)
Description: This book covers the current thinking in cognitive therapy in terms of theory, research, and clinical application. It honors the work of Aaron T. Beck and the tremendous influence he has had for over six decades.
Purpose: According to the editor, "the idea for this book grew from a full-day preconference meeting at the Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy in November 2001. A number of leading cognitive therapists who had worked with Aaron T. Beck presented their work. This was to be the 'Beck Festschrift.'" Dr. Leahy continues: "The current volume recognizes the influence of Beck's work across a wide range of issues. Moreover, as testimony to the intellectual richness of the cognitive model, the reader will recognize that the chapters in this volume develop a number of "cognitive models"— models of psychopathology and treatment that were unforeseen in the early days of cognitive therapy. This is not a collection of individuals reminiscing about the "early days" but rather a collection of the cutting edges of the new frontiers of the field." The book meets these worthy objectives.
Audience: According to the editor, the book "is an indispensable contribution for clinicians and researchers seeking to gain expertise in the field. As a text for students and residents, it will fill a unique niche in graduate-level psychotherapy courses and practica in clinical psychology, social work, family therapy, and psychiatry." The editor and contributors are credible authorities. In fact, many of them are very well known and are the leading researchers and theoreticians in the cognitive therapy field, including Drs. Judith Beck, David Clark, Frank Dattilio, Arthur Freeman, Steven Hollon, and Jeffrey Young.
Features: The book begins with a tribute to Aaron Beck. It then goes on to address basic DSM-IV categories such as depression, anxiety (PTSD, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder), substance abuse, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. It also covers personality disorders. It concludes with specific applications of cognitive therapy to couples and families. Each contributor discusses the influence of Aaron Beck on their specific topic, but goes on to reveal current thinking and practice. This practical and thorough book covers the basic diagnostic categories (both Axes I and II) one would expect and it has a good blend of theory and practice. The authors support their conclusions with research. Readers will feel they are being tutored by the masters in the field. The only shortcoming is the almost total lack of clinical illustrations.
Assessment: This is a great book and a wonderful tribute to the master, Dr. Aaron T. Beck. Many of the contributors are the movers and shakers in the field of cognitive therapy. The book is easy to read and contains theory integrated with practice. However, because there are so many cognitive therapy books out there these days, it is hard to justify buying another one if you already have a few recent ones in your library. That being said, this one emphasizes the foundation that Dr. Beck laid since the 1940s and builds upon it with all new information. The first chapter covering Dr. Beck's life is so inspirational, I probably would encourage people to consider this book based on that material alone.