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From The CriticsReviewer: William Miles, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This book discusses problem-based learning (PBL) methods and how to apply them when learning behavioral science and psychiatry.
Purpose: According to the editors, the purpose is to offer a problem-based learning approach for students studying psychiatry and the behavioral sciences. As PBL is becoming more common in many medical schools, this is certainly a worthy objective, and the authors/editors meet it.
Audience: The editors state that this book is written for medical students and other students studying psychiatry and behavioral science. I would include anyone interested in PBL methods, as they may find it interesting as a way to learn about this technique.
Features: The book begins with a chapter on how to use the book and a review of PBL methods. The remainder is composed of numerous chapters outlining an area of interest in behavioral science, such as childhood development, the doctor-patient relationship, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, and so on. Each chapter contains clinical vignettes that readers are to approach using the PBL techniques outlined in the first few chapters. Conclusions and learning issues are then presented about the vignettes, followed by review questions. Each chapter has an extensive bibliography. There are no illustrations, but numerous tables are scattered throughout. A comprehensive index ends the book.
Assessment: For students already familiar with PBL methods, or for those who wish to learn about this teaching approach, this is a good book. The rationale behind PBL is explained well, and it is quite interesting to read how this method is used in approaching psychiatric disorders. Although PBL remains somewhat controversial, students who find they learn better from this technique may want to give this book a try. I will find some of the vignettes helpful in using PBL for my own medical students.