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From The CriticsReviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: Chronic illness is an increasing problem in medicine, sometimes with few answers from a physiological point of view. The need for psychological intervention is paramount to assist these patients to optimize treatment and quality of life. This book details such psychological interventions.
Purpose: It provides psychotherapists with a range of cognitive-behavioral intervention options for treating patients with some of the most common chronic illnesses.
Audience: The audience includes primarily psychologists in primary care settings, but psychologists in other settings, as well as other mental health workers, will also find this of value. The author has published in this area and is active in training mental health professionals.
Features: The first chapter reminds clinicians of the biopsychosocial model, rather than a purely medical or psychological explanation for symptoms. Useful sample dialogues help clinicians answer tough questions that are often presented by patients in the primary care context. The second chapter focuses on assessment, but is more of a general guide to assessment rather than providing instruction for specific instruments. Subsequent chapters offer further guidance on the challenging problems of illness denial and treatment compliance, using case examples and sample dialogues. The later chapters address 10 of the most common chronic illnesses, such as cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and chronic pain. Each of these chapters includes an overview of the epidemiology, different types, potential causes or contributors, and approaches to treating the disease. If appropriate, brief reviews of medical and pharmacological treatment options are included as well. The case examples and dialogues continue, but each chapter also includes a summary table that hits upon key points. The references are current and the index is extensive.
Assessment: This well written guide to the basic therapeutic concepts that underlie the psychological treatment of chronic illnesses serves as a primer for specific interventions. Although the book is not a step-by-step resource, the case examples and sample dialogues are an excellent method to enhance learning for both experienced clinicians and students new to this field.