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From The CriticsReviewer: Pierre R. Nunez, PhD (Cermak Health Services)
Description: This is an introductory book for students and trainees in substance abuse certification programs, registered nursing training, masters level counseling, and EAP professional training. It includes general descriptions of modalities of counseling available for substance abuse clients, diagnostic issues, and ethical and legal aspects of substance abuse intervention. The focus is almost exclusively on alcohol rather than other drug use. This third edition of a book originally published in 1986 adds two new chapters on substance abuse counseling of reluctant clients and harm reduction, a treatment approach popular in Europe that is gaining recognition in the U.S. and Canada.
Purpose: The purpose is to introduce students and trainees to the field of substance abuse counseling through an overview of the field. Much of the discussion focuses on the training and development of the professional counselor, a focus particularly useful to the novice counselor. This is a worthy goal, although it must be noted that the title is somewhat misleading — a more appropriate title might be Essentials of Alcohol Abuse Counseling. With this more narrowed focus, the authors meet the objective quite well.
Audience: The book is directed toward the trainee, student, or novice counselor at the undergraduate, substance abuse certification training, or masters in counseling program levels. Advanced masters students or those with advanced professional experience or training are likely to find this book less useful. In light of the author's four other books on related substance abuse topics, and the two previous editions of this book, he can be considered a highly credible authority in this field.
Features: Issues of professional training for substance abuse counselors, ethical concerns, and therapeutic modalities are covered. Of particular interest is the author's focus on family context issues in substance abuse and treatment, the prominent role of self-help programming, and new developments in the field, such as harm reduction. In addition, the book offers a useful appendix of Web sites which offer up-to-date information on current treatment research, descriptions of current drugs of abuse, and self-help resources.
Assessment: This is a useful introductory work for those with little or no previous training or professional experience in the field of substance abuse counseling. This new edition is updated with the inclusion of the harm reduction perspective and work with involuntary clients. The addition of information on Web sites related to substance abuse is also helpful. The lack of information on substance abuse treatment aside from alcoholism is a serious limitation to the book's overall utility.