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From The CriticsReviewer: Patricia A. Cole, PhD (Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago)
Description: This book provides in-depth reviews of psychological approaches to the treatment of chronic pain syndromes, pain that persists despite numerous medical interventions. The 18 chapters, written by leading researchers and clinicians in the area of chronic pain management, provide a comprehensive overview of the various psychological interventions and include chapters dealing with special populations — the elderly and children — and with prevention and program evaluation.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide brief updated reviews of the research and treatment guidelines for psychologists and other healthcare providers involved in the treatment and rehabilitation of chronic pain patients. As the authors point out, chronic pain unresponsive to medical treatment exacts a enormous toll not only in human suffering but also in socioeconomic losses. The book meets the challenge of providing a comprehensive overview of treatment options for this growing problem.
Audience: The intended audience is psychologists or other allied health practitioners (and their students) specializing in the rehabilitation of chronic pain patients. In addition, physicians working in such a setting, especially physiatrists, anesthesiologists, and psychiatrists, could make use of selected chapters. The authors are renowned for their clinical work and research in this area and have written extensively on the topic.
Features: The book contains a few black-and-white illustrations where appropriate; there are numerous tables and flow-charts that clarify treatment guidelines and would be invaluable to the practitioner. The use of therapy scripts gives the beginning or experienced clinician handy tips on proven interventions. References are current and adequately complete for most chapters.
Assessment: The authors have provided an excellent text that provides updated reviews and clear, concise, and comprehensive guidelines for the treatment of patients suffering from persistent pain unresponsive to medical treatment. Several of the chapters, particularly the ones on biofeedback and group and family therapy, are excellent. The chapter on the use of narcotic drugs provides a concise review of the commonly used medications and an excellent if brief review of the controversial use of narcotic analgesics in this population. I highly recommend this book for all clinicians working with chronic pain patients; it will become a standard reference in the area.