Book Reviews -- the Therapeutic Relationship in Behavioural Psychotherapy by Cas Schaap, Ian Bennun, Ludwig Schindler and Kees Hoogduin

Article excerpt

This meticulously researched book is a welcome addition to the psychotherapy-process and outcome-research literature. It differs from many other similar works in that it investigates relationship factors in behavioral rather than psychodynamic psychotherapy. For behaviorally oriented clinicians who encounter noncompliance in their patients (i.e., most of us), the need for a book such as this is obvious. For psychodynamically oriented clinicians or researchers this book may be a revelation, in part because it pays serious attention to an aspect of behavior therapy often perceived as ignored or disregarded.

The book begins with a comparison of varying views of the therapist-patient relationship from the standpoint of the behavior demonstrated by patient and by therapist. This section is quite sophisticated and draws on multiple sources, including non-Western and nonmedical forms of healing. The authors have clearly been influenced by the work of Jerome Frank, whose pioneering efforts to understand common elements in all healing are somewhat neglected today. They demonstrate a good awareness of the contributions of Luborsky, Davanloo, and other dynamically oriented theoreticians, but then they proceed to a complex and well-documented review of relationship factors in the work of Wolpe, Meichenbaum, and other behavioral thinkers.

These sections make a good deal of sense, but they require the reader to follow very closely. This requirement intensifies in the next section, where psychotherapy is examined from the standpoint of social psychology as a process of social influence, rather than as a clinical endeavor. Such constructs as power base, reactance, and cognitive dissonance make sense to the clinician who will sit still and think nonjudgmentally about them, but some readers may have strong feelings about seeing their therapies described in such stark, power-oriented terms. …