Book Reviews -- Principles and Practices of Relapse Prevention Edited by Peter H. Wilson

Article excerpt

PETER H. WILSON, ED.: Principles and Practices of Relapse Prevention. The Guilford Press, New York, 1992, $35.00.

In 1985, Marlatt and Gordon published a book on relapse prevention (RP) in the treatment of addictive disorders. Relapse prevention in a self-management approach based on social learning theory in which the goal is to teach individuals how to anticipate and cope with the problem of relapse. Among the principles used are identification of high-risk situations, coping with stresses of various types, preparation for high-risk situations, and life-style interventions. The most common form of RP strategy is some form of booster sessions; that is, inclusion of additional sessions after termination of the initial therapy.

The purpose of this current volume is to extend the contribution of relapse prevention to a series of very different clinical disorders. In addition to the addictive disorders (alcohol problems, smoking, and obesity) major clinical entities of anorexia nervosa, depression, schizophrenia, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, sexual deviation, chronic pain, as well as some less defined syndromes, such as marital distress, social competence, and stuttering, have been included in this volume. This volume is multi-authored and international Ten of the 26 authors are from outside of the United States. Only one is a psychiatrist and the majority of the others represent psychology. Also, most of the authors have been trained, or are at least experienced, in cognitive behavioral approaches and the book represents that orientation almost exclusively.

Each chapter of these disorders follows a similar format involving some description of the natural history of relapse, current intervention methods, and comments on RP and the research evidence for its effectiveness. Usually each chapter concludes with some clinical recommendations based upon the data so far. Within that framework, the authors vary a lot with their approach as the subject matter itself would dictate. A common theme is, however, a commitment to research methodology within the social learning or cognitive behavioral frame of reference. The authors' enthusiasm for relapse prevention is variable, and the data they present document the relative effectiveness, or, in some cases, ineffectiveness, of the approach. …