Psicoterapia Conductual Y Cognitiva (Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy)

Article excerpt

Psicoterapia Conductual y Cognitiva (Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy) Felicitas Kort Rosemberg (written in Spanish). Caracas, Venezuela: Los Libres de El Nacional (www.el-nacional.com). 2003,188 pp., 25000.00 bolivars (paperback).

In Psicoterapia Conducted y Cognitiva, Felicitas Kort Rosemberg faces a daunting task-to introduce the basic principles of cognitive and behavior therapy to a Latin American audience largely unfamiliar with cognitive-behavioral theory, techniques, and case conceptualization. In this, Kort Rosemberg faces an uphill battle. As she informs her readers, the majority of practicing psychotherapists in Latin America continue to subscribe to psychodynamic and analytic schools of thought. In just under 200 pages, Kort Rosemberg is called upon to detail the history of cognitive and behavioral thought, introduce key concepts and techniques in CBT, and provide empirical justification for their use. A tall order, and one that she largely manages to fill.

In the Preface to this work, Kort Rosemberg clearly and succinctly traces the history of cognitive and behavioral theory, beginning with Pliny the Elder and continuing through Linehan and Chambless. In Part 1, she elucidates basic cognitive-behavioral principles (the symptom is synonymous with the problem), refutes common myths (the cognitive-behavioral therapist is unfeeling and detached), and contrasts cognitive-behavioral theory and practice with psychoanalysis. Part 2 of the book addresses diagnostic issues, including common tactics used in diagnostic interviewing, socialization of the client to cognitive therapy, and methods for conducting a behavioral analysis. This section ends with a listing of some of the more common structured interviews and self-report measures used as an aid to diagnosis.

The heart of the volume, however, is Part 3, in which Kort Rosemberg discusses empiricallybased interventions. In this section, the author provides sample treatment options for diverse presenting problems such as stuttering, sexual dysfunction, and simple phobias. Clear, step-by-step explanations of theory and technique are interwoven with case examples and research studies providing empirical support for the interventions Kort proposes. This section provides readers with an introduction to concepts such as assertiveness training, aversive conditioning, rational emotive therapy, and the applications of classical and operant conditioning to the treatment of a wide variety of diagnoses and presenting problems.

The danger of presenting so many ideas in so short a volume is that it is difficult to know which concepts are the crucial ones. Thus, when Kort discusses the use of mild electroshock for aversive conditioning and the administration of intravenous barbiturates to facilitate imagery alongside more traditional techniques such as systematic desensitization and role plays, it may be difficult for the cognitive-behavioral novice to distinguish the more commonly used techniques from techniques of last resort. The author herself appears to be aware of this problem, and corrects for it wherever possible by specifying the conditions under which certain treatment methods are to be used.

The main body of the volume concludes with a Summary and Conclusions in Part 4. In this section, Kort Rosemberg presents challenges to the cognitive-behavioral therapy community for the new millennium, and reminds us to avoid common pitfalls such as superficiality in diagnosis and case conceptualization, and "cookbook" intervention strategies that fail to account for the uniqueness of the patient. …