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From The CriticsReviewer: Mary I. Daly, PsyD(Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This book looks at marital dyads where one or both members have a personality disorder or Axis I symptoms. The editors open with a discussion of how individual psychopathology impacts the marital system. Each article looks at diagnostic issues and assessment tools, as well as approaches to treatment. Traditional characterological patterns such as the obsessive-histrionic combination and the narcissistic-dependent pair are covered. Additionally, the book includes a chapter on the religiously disturbed couple, bipolar disorder in the marriage, physical illness, eating disorders, sexual dysfunction, and psychosis in marriage.
Purpose: The purpose is to highlight the role of individual psychopathology in the marital system. The editors argue that clinicians can develop a more effective approach to treatment when they grasp the interplay between individual and systems dynamics in the marital dyad. They introduce the clinician to an effective approach to assessment. The quality of each chapter varies, however, in the way it links individual psychopathology to system dynamics and a specific approach to treatment.
Audience: The discussion is targeted at family and marital therapists, as well as younger clinicians who are learning assessment and its application to marital therapy. Clinicians who are unfamiliar with DSM-IV diagnostic categories will appreciate the attention to diagnostic criteria, and the discussions of how individual psychopathology contributes to system dynamics.
Features: Readers will easily locate diagnostic issues by the chapter headings, and find the clear index helpful as well. Additionally, each chapter includes extensive and up-to-date references. The editors' introductory chapter serves as a helpful Introduction to the purpose and method of each chapter.
Assessment: This book is well organized and useful as a concise and clear reference for common diagnostic issues in marital psychotherapy. Readers will expand their knowledge of DSM-IV diagnostic categories and deepen their ability to understand how these individual problems impact the marital system. The breadth of disorders covered is a significant strength of this text. Some chapters excel in linking assessment to treatment issues and techniques, while others are less specific. Overall, the book is a helpful resource for introducing clinicians to role of individual psychopathology in the marital dyad. Educational programs and supervising clinicians should own a copy.