Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Therapist's Guide to Substance Abuse Intervention (Practical Resources for the Mental Health Professional) Review

As a graduate social work professor and psychotherapist licensed in both psychology and clinical social work, I can attest to the usefulness of this practical guide for graduate students, beginning professionals studying for licensing exams, practicing clinicians who wish to review or increase their knowledge and expertise, educators, and even program administrators seeking to improve the quality and comprehensiveness of their services. The clearly written, usefully structured format makes looking up information easy and helps clinicians develop relevant treatment plans that can be communicated effectively in multidisciplinary and managed care settings.
The great strength of the book lies in the author's ability to gather current research information and organize it in a manner which does not simplify the complexity of substance abuse and its treatment. The first of five sections reviews the social contexts of substance abuse, highlighting issues of prevention and consequences, a sobering reminder of the core importance of this topic. DSM IV diagnostic categories are described and issues of comorbidity are introduced. Substances are described in detail, with information about drugs presented in user-friendly form. The assessment section which follows includes methods of gathering essential information, prioritizing data, reviewing for crisis issues, reducing harm, and attending to special populations and legal problems. The author selects from well-researched instruments, offering pragmatic tools to the clinician. Notable here are the inclusion of effective questions to ask and not ask the troubled employee or teenager, in order to reduce defensiveness and avoid enabling the client, as well as specific guidelines for conducting interventions with the substance user. Treatment is addressed next, with emphasis on multidisciplinary communication, planning treatment in stages so as to maximize success, utilizing eclectic, effective theoretical orientations as well as self-help groups and multisystems approaches. Practical interventions that work are explored more fully in the fourth section on solution-focused therapies and special populations. Here the author elaborates on behavioral, strength-based interventions, and on the needs of groups such as disabled persons and adolescents, suggesting techniques to increase motivation and cope with inevitable slips. Especially impressive is the final chapter, focusing on skill-building and the dual diagnosis of substance abuse and mental disorders. Family and relationship problems, cultural diversity issues, the complications of HIV/AIDS, gender, and aging are presented, and the reader is offered an appealing array of self-monitoring tools, concluding with an up-to-date list of national helplines.
This is a wonderful resource manual and educational tool, which condenses scientifically based current research and clinical lore into a pragmatic format accessible to physicians, practitioners, students, and educators.

Buy it here now!