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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: John K. Larson, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This welcome book is edited by David Spiegel, who is the Associate Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine.
Purpose: The purpose is to present the currently available data that support the efficacy of psychotherapy.
Audience: The target audience includes those beleaguered clinicians who use psychotherapy in treating psychiatric illness and continue to proclaim its effectiveness in the face of impressive economic disincentives in current third-party reimbursement.
Features: The first chapter is an excellent contribution that challenges the reader to think more critically about case formulation and psychotherapeutic treatment planning. Parts I and III focus respectively on PTSD and medical illnesses including psychotherapy with cancer patients. Both of these sections provide an excellent review of current studies to support the efficacy of psychotherapy, particularly cognitive behavioral psychotherapy, in the treatment of these conditions. Section II is somewhat uneven with a chapter on inpatient psychotherapy that contains little evidence of efficacy and two chapters that provide support for the cost-effectiveness of psychotherapy in borderline personality disorder and depression. Most chapters contain useful and current bibliographies.
Assessment: This volume is a modestly successful effort to provide the reader with an overview of the current evidence for psychotherapy's efficacy with emphasis on post-traumatic stress disorder and problems of the medically ill. It suffers somewhat from uneven contributions and a relatively narrow focus, but provides essential ammunition for those clinicians who want to participate in the defense and preservation of this valuable treatment.