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From The CriticsReviewer: Cheryl A. Richards, PhD (Washington University School of Medicine)
Description: This treatment manual is a set of empirically derived principles that are not tied to a particular theoretical orientation and can be used by clinicians to select and implement interventions.
Purpose: The authors have created a manual to be used by clinicians to allow them to systematically evaluate patients and then select and modify treatment interventions based on particular patient characteristics. The authors' approach is specifically designed to be used with complex cases such as when substance abuse and/or personality disorders are present in addition to depressive or anxiety disorders. Among the issues they examine are how to establish a therapeutic relationship and how to design an effective treatment program based on patient characteristics such as level of impairment, degree of distress, coping style, and resistance level. Although the authors emphasize that their purpose is not to provide a specific set of techniques that must be uniformly applied to all patients, they do provide examples of many techniques that would be appropriate interventions for patients with particular characteristics.
Audience: This book would be useful to clinicians with a wide range of experience. Both students and experienced clinicians would find the approach described in this volume useful for systematically evaluating patients at the beginning of treatment and in designing effective treatment intervention programs. Although prescriptive therapy is designed to apply to many different types of psychological problems, this work contains many specific examples of how this approach can be applied to patients with substance abuse problems. Consequently, therapists who work with patients with substance abuse problems may find this volume particularly useful.
Features: The authors refer to Beutler's past work and also provide short descriptions of many psychotherapeutic techniques associated with a variety of theoretical orientations. References are provided for many of the techniques so that interested readers will be able to obtain additional information about techniques with which they are not familiar.
Assessment: The authors have provided a valuable resource for therapists who work in a wide variety of settings. The focus on using patient characteristics to individualize treatment interventions is an alternative to manuals that are targeted to a specific diagnostic category. This book would be of interest to clinicians when they are developing treatment plans for patients with multiple problems that need to be addressed in therapy. It would be especially helpful to clinicians who are looking for a manual to guide selection of appropriate treatment techniques but still want the flexibility to use techniques that they have found effective. This is a valuable contribution to the existing literature.