Frontiers of Cognitive Therapy

Article excerpt

PAUL M. SALKOVSKIS, ED.: Frontiers of Cognitive Therapy. Guilford Press, New York, 1996, 537 pp., $45.00, ISBN 1-57230-112-0.

This is a comprehensive exploration of the ever-expanding number of applications of cognitive therapy to clinical work and, to a lesser extent, to metapsychology, outcome research, and training and supervision. It centers on the theory and practice of cognitive therapy as originally described by Aaron Beck (e.g., Cognitive Therapy and the Emotional Disorders, New York, International Universities Press, 1976) but goes far beyond its typical focus on depression to include such clinical problems as anxiety and panic, personality disorders, suicide, social phobia, eating disorders, sexual dysfunction, adjustment disorders, substance abuse, and disorders of children and adolescents. It further discusses memory, mind-brain relationships, the importance of empathy, and a number of other theoretical issues, making this volume valuable for researchers as well as clinicians.

The wide-ranging nature of the topics covered makes it important for the reader to know exactly what he or she is looking for in consulting this volume. For example, there are five chapters on aspects of depression, the titles of which are nonspecific and overlapping enough (e.g., Clark and Steer's "Empirical Status of the Cognitive Model of Anxiety and Depression," Blackburn's "Cognitive Vulnerability to Depression," and Hollon et al's "Cognitive Therapy in the Treatment and Prevention of Depression") to confuse a novice reader as to what is likely to be found in each. On the other hand, however, there are some chapters, e.g., Moorey's "When Bad Things Happen to Rational People," which are entirely specific and very focused; this latter chapter is an ingenious exploration of the cognitive approach to adjustment disorders, i.e., how to help individuals cope with relatively nondistorted adverse life events. This area is seldom explored in cognitive therapy writings and is likely to be extremely useful in day-to-day clinical work.

A number of chapters serve as comprehensive reviews of the progress of cognitive therapy in a specific area. Clark's writing on panic disorder is clear and up-to-date, presenting an extremely lucid discussion of the misattribution theory of the pathogenesis of panic attacks and a careful, nonpolemical refutation of a number of challenges to that model. Liese and Franz similarly offer a detailed, stepwise approach to the treatment of substance abuse disorders that is simultaneously well grounded in the research literature and yet accessible to a noncognitively trained clinician looking for a new approach to take with substance-abusing patients. …