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From The CriticsReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D.(Cermak Health Services)
Description: This book describes schizophrenia from a cognitive theoretical and biological perspective in order to understand symptomatology, assessment, and treatment. t shows how pharmacotherapy and psychosocial interventions can work hand-in-hand within a solid evidence-based foundation.
Purpose: According to the authors, "We have attempted to provide, first, an understanding of the origin, development, and maintenance of the symptoms (delusions, hallucinations, thinking disorder, and negative symptoms). Second, we have used our understanding of the symptomatology and our therapeutic experience fortified by the research in this area to present our suggestions for the treatment of this disorder. Finally, we have attempted to integrate the vast amount of research on the biology of schizophrenia with the relatively sparse work on its psychological aspects into a comprehensive psychobiological model of schizophrenia."
Audience: The audience includes clinical psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, and rehabilitation specialists, as well as graduate students and residents in these fields. Dr. Aaron Beck, professor emeritus of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania and president of the Beck Institute, developed cognitive therapy in the 1960s. Dr. Neil Rector is director of research at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto and is a founding fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, as is Dr. Neal Stolar, medical director at Project Transition in the Philadelphia area. Dr. Paul Grant is director of research in the department of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania.
Features: An overview and biological look at schizophrenia begins the book, which then addresses the actual symptomatology from a cognitive perspective. The authors discuss both assessment and therapy issues, concluding by summarizing their integrative model of the interaction of "predisposing neurobiological, environmental, cognitive, and behavioral factors in the development of schizophrenia." The book does a nice job of addressing the importance of the therapeutic relationship, combining both process and content issues, an approach not often seen in cognitive therapy books. It contains excellent tables and figures, along with instructive case illustrations/vignettes. The eight appendixes contain assessment tools (Beck Cognitive Insight Scale, Cognitive Assessment of Psychosis Inventory), cognitive triads for delusional beliefs, and cognitive distortions within psychosis. The book combines theory, research, and practice very well. The story of John Nash's recovery from schizophrenia in the first chapter gives readers a good sense of where the book is headed and how the cognitive approach makes sense as opposed to a strictly biological model.
Assessment: This excellent book provides a thorough look at schizophrenia from both a biological and psychosocial perspective. Its step-by-step approach combines both research and practice. The authors address all the difficult issues including hallucinations, delusions, and negative symptoms, and show how the cognitive model can be applied. The book gives clinicians hope that something can be done to help individuals suffering from such a devastating mental illness.