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From The CriticsReviewer: Elaine M. Scorza, MS, APRN, BC (Rush University College of Nursing)
Description: This book is a groundbreaking work on the use of workbooks in the treatment of mental health disorders. It reviews the available literature on the subject, while serving to explore the power of the written word in enhancing the health of patients.
Purpose: The book addresses the issue of whether or not workbooks are effective as tools in treatment and identifies the difficulties in acceptable research designs that provide accurate assessments of effectiveness. It also addresses the limitations of using workbooks in treatment, for example, the ability of the workbook user to read and understand the content, motivation to participate, etc. The chapters that follow thoroughly and clearly discuss how workbooks can be used for certain types of mental health problems.
Audience: A number of different types of mental health professionals could benefit from this book, and is not limited to social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, counselors in a number of disciplines, and their students.
Features: The explanations about how to operationalize the use of workbooks in mental health treatment are good and are directed at the clinician, both indirectly and directly. The author met his objectives of identifying when workbooks work as part of therapy and when they don't. He brought together the increasing amount of literature on workbooks, explained similarities and differences in workbooks across disciplines, and depicted the pervasiveness of use by the practitioner in an excellent manner. The book strikes a good balance between why to use them and how to use them. The content of the book further limits its discussions to particular areas, like individuals, couples, and families, and addresses more common problems, such as the use of workbooks for depression. Thus, a more thorough treatment of the subject serves the reader very well, versus a cursory description of a number of subjects.
Assessment: Generally, this is an excellent book for seasoned professionals across disciplines who would like to move toward a multimodal approach to treatment and use materials that may produce a more easily measured assessment of individual symptoms or problems. Students of those disciplines can be served well by exposure to the mindset of quantifying and evaluating their interventions and the patients' responses in a manner other than just talk therapy.