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From The CriticsReviewer: Patricia E. Murphy, PhD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This is a collection of articles published in an issue of Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly in 2006 that focused on religion and spirituality.
Purpose: The goal of the journal is to provide information about treatment that takes into account both theory and research. Although there are articles on the topic of spirituality in recovery in a variety of journals, this collection provides practical and concise material in a single place.
Audience: Each chapter is clear and compact, making it accessible to the range of readers for whom it is intended — physicians to clergy. Because spirituality has been part of dependency treatment for many years, the topic is likely to be of interest.
Features: Early chapters provide background on the history and research on the role of religion/spirituality in treatment and addiction. Chapters providing quantitative research on the topic investigate associations of spirituality/religion with factors related to substance abuse in diverse populations. Data analysis is described well, keeping in mind the target reader who may not be well versed in statistics. Each study highlights clinical implications. A particularly laudable aspect is the inclusion of a chapter describing a protocol for forgiveness, followed by a chapter studying the role of forgiveness on outcomes related to substance abuse. The book does not offer reports of longitudinal studies or trials of interventions. This could be a next step. It does expose the reader to references to some of the foremost authors in the field of religion and mental health.
Assessment: This book would be a useful addition to the library of those involved in working with persons with addiction. Because it is both interesting and quite readable, it would not stay on the shelf, but would be put to good use. It is this kind of book that is likely to lead busy practitioners to explore research in their field.