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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D.(Cermak Health Services)
Description: This book describes how radical behaviorism can be used to create therapeutic relationships in order for meaningful change to occur. Although functional analytic psychotherapy is derived from B.F. Skinner's ideas analyzing the working relationship between therapist and client, the authors also integrate other psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioral theories as well for "creating intense and curative therapeutic relationships," as the subtitle states. This is a paperback version of a book published in hardcover in 1991.
Purpose: In the preface, the authors note that they "view this work as a treatment manual with guidelines for creating deep, intense, meaningful, and healing therapeutic relationships. It is not a collection of techniques, although a fair share of them are included. Instead, we have described a conceptual framework that is intended to guide a therapist's activity."
Audience: The audience includes therapists "interested in revitalizing practice, minimizing impasses, and treating clients on a deeper emotional level." The authors suggest that graduate students will also find this book valuable.
Features: An introduction to functional analytic psychotherapy and its philosophical roots in radical behaviorism begins the book. It goes on to discuss clinical applications and the therapist's role in understanding and addressing emotions, memories, cognitions, and beliefs. The authors spend significant time talking about the self and the integration of psychodynamic theory and behavior theory, which is the substance of functional analytic psychotherapy. The book ends with a look at supervision and ethical and cultural issues. Among the helpful aspects of this book are the way it integrates theory with clinical practice, the clinical vignettes and longer case illustrations, its thorough coverage of the therapeutic relationship, and the way the table of contents is broken down into specific topics so readers are able to quickly find information of interest. The book clearly shows how theory is married to practice. With its step-by-step approach, readers will feel they have learned something that is immediately applicable to their clinical settings. There are no glaring shortcomings, but the authors could have included more figures/tables to highlight the material.
Assessment: This book is excellent in the way it combines two theories and shows specifically how to apply them in clinical work. The authors address the therapeutic relationship, maybe somewhat of a surprise given the roots in radical behaviorism. The book is not very long (217 pages), but it is full of valuable information. It must be clear that this is simply a paperback version of a book first published in 1991. However, it is as relevant as ever because the concepts it introduces do not really change with time.