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The Human Nature Review Human Nature Review  2002 Volume 2: 449-450 ( 16 October )
URL of this document http://human-nature.com/nibbs/02/kaslow.html

Book Review

Comprehensive Handbook of Psychotherapy Volume 2: Cognitive-Behavioral Approaches
Edited by F. Kaslow and T. Patterson
2002, John Wiley and Sons, New York. 636 pages

Reviewed by Eduardo Keegan, Professor of Clinical Psychology and the Psychotherapies, School of Psychology, University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The editors of the Comprehensive Handbook of Psychotherapy have set themselves the daunting task of encompassing the history, theory, practice, research and trends of psychotherapy at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Accordingly, this has resulted in a four-volume edition of massive proportions, not only in terms of size but in the amount of information included.

This review is limited to the second volume of the Handbook, consecrated to cognitive-behavioral approaches. The sheer size of the volume – 25 chapters and over 600 pages – reveals the expansion that cognitive, behavioral and functional approaches have had over the last forty years. In his prologue to the book, Andrew Christensen reflects on how much things have changed since 1969, when most of what was going on in a field then known as “behavior modification” was included in Albert Bandura’s famous Principles of Behavior Modification.

The twenty-five contributions represent a variety of cognitive, behavioral and functional approaches, including EMDR, standard Beckian cognitive-behavioral therapy, REBT and dialectical behavior therapy among others.

One of the original aspects of the volume is that it includes interventions for children, adolescents, adults, families and couples, each of these representing a section of the book. This may represent an advantage for teaching purposes, since most books in the field are centered on a disorder or in particular approach for either children or adults. A final section is dedicated to supervision and ethical issues, two matters of great importance but often absent in this sort of compilation.

Section 1, Psychotherapy with Children, lists five contributions, including behavioral family interventions, social skills and problem-solving training, early interventions for children at risk, delayed recall of childhood trauma and parent-child interaction therapy.

Section 2, Psychotherapy with Adolescents and Young Adults, lists four chapters. Two of them refer to interventions for adolescents at-risk, while a third is dedicated to the difficult issue of communication and relationships with teenagers. The last contribution deals with the conceptualization and treatment of eating disorders.

Section 3, Psychotherapy with Adults, includes five chapters. The treatment created by Marsha Linehan for borderline personality disorder, dialectical behavior therapy, is the subject of the first contribution. Two chapters, one on anxiety and panic and another on depression, represent the well-established cognitive behavioral approaches of David Barlow and Aaron T. Beck to these prevalent disorders. The remaining contributions focus on Shapiro’s EMDR and Hayes’ Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

Section 4, Psychotherapy with Families and Couples, includes five chapters, three of which present different approaches (multidimensional, cognitive and behavioral). The remaining two deal with the issue of violence in couples and with the use of CBT with gay and lesbian couples.

Section 5, Group Psychotherapy, lists four articles. The first one, by Windy Dryden, is on REBT group therapy, followed by a second one on a skills-training approach to relationship education. The last two are cognitive-behavioral group interventions for older adults and for minority and low-income clients.

Section 6, Special Topics, includes two articles, one on supervision and the other on ethical issues. In my opinion, it would be important for future editions to include a chapter dedicated to the practice of these approaches within managed care. Delivering psychotherapy under the rules set by third-party payers frequently poses complex ethical problems. The gap between efficacy and effectiveness would probably merit an article in this section too.

Undertaking this kind of encyclopedic work poses the problem of selecting topics and authors. In my opinion, the recent developments in the treatment of psychotic symptoms by cognitive-behavior therapy and REBT seem important enough to deserve a section of their own. If the aim of the Handbook is to provide a comprehensive, state-of-the-art view of cognitive, behavioral and functional approaches, then more chapters are probably needed in which all researched interventions for a particular disorder or population are discussed. Instead, the Handbook offers one intervention for most of the major topics. But the final result is interesting and quite useful for both the clinician and the academic. And one must recognize that attempting to review the current debates in the field would probably demand a volume containing a few thousand pages. A look at the 16-page-long Author Index provides the reader with an impression of the current size of the field.

Finally, it seems that this volume is less ‘international’ than the others, with most authors being American or working in the United States.

The edition is quite nicely presented, with a very good binding and metallic, purple types on a black background cover, quite arty for the average scientific book. It is printed in good quality –acid free- paper, with double-column pages. The font size is bigger than usual, a wonderful feature for those of us who are over forty, making the book quite readable.

Overall, the Handbook is a good, updated reference, covering a wide variety of disorders, problems and populations.

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© Eduardo Keegan.


Keegan, E. (2002). Review of Comprehensive Handbook of Psychotherapy Volume 2: Cognitive-Behavioral Approaches edited by F. Kaslow and T. Patterson. Human Nature Review. 2: 449-450.

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