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From The CriticsReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D. (Cermak Health Services)
Description: This book discusses the use of various cognitive-behavioral therapies (CBT) to help address the physical and mental health needs of older adults, among them depression, anxiety, pain management, insomnia, and grief. With the aging of the baby boomer generation and advances in healthcare, the number of elderly clients will grow significantly, necessitating strategies to deal with their specific issues.
Purpose: "According to the editors, their book details "the ongoing progress being made in the application of CBTs and newer integrative approaches to understanding and ameliorating mental health problems in older adults." They have asked their authors also "to address issues of cultural diversity...when applying the conceptualizations and interventions with ethnically diverse older adults."
Audience: The book is geared for mental health professionals, including clinical psychologists, geriatric psychiatrists, gerontological nurses, clinical social workers, occupational therapists, and marriage and family therapists as well as students in graduate and advanced courses in these fields.
Features: An introduction to behavioral and cognitive interventions begins the book. It then addresses common mental health problems such as anxiety, insomnia, alcohol abuse, and pain management. Chapters also cover more serious mental illnesses including depression (suicidal older adults), bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, dementia, and personality disorders. The book ends with a look to the future, i.e. positive aging, Medicare issues, and training new geriatric mental health providers. The chapters are organized fairly uniformly to include the evidence base, assessments, treatment approaches, diversity issues, pharmacological options, and case studies/examples. The book is easy to read and contains helpful tables and figures. The authors cover different cognitive and behavioral strategies in the CBT tradition and detail research findings, which is important in this day of evidence-based practice. Chapter 10 on cognitive therapy for older people with psychosis contains excellent assessment and treatment formulation sections as well as helpful suggestions for how to deal with hallucinations and delusions in therapy, including the need for medication. There is also a good chapter on the training and supervision of mental health staff. The only possible shortcoming of the book is the result of the attempt to deal with many different topics, which can lead to somewhat superficial treatment.
Assessment: This excellent book deals with a broad range of disorders, both physical and psychological, covering different cognitive-behavioral therapy options backed by research. Though the chapters are somewhat short, the numerous references lead to more information. The book is a good starting point for learning about treatment of older adults.