Comprehensive Handbook of Psychotherapy: Vol. 1. Psychodynamic/object relations/Comprehensive Handbook of Psychotherapy: Vol. 2. Cognitive-Behavioral Approaches

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Kaslow, F. W., & Magnavita, J. J. (Eds.). (2002). Comprehensive handbook of psychotherapy: Vol. 1. Psychodynamic/object relations. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 622 pp. $160.

Kaslow, F. W., & Patterson T. (Eds.). (2002). Comprehensive handbook of psychotherapy: Vol. 2. Cognitive-behavioral approaches. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 636 pp. $160.

With most of the major psychotherapy handbooks well out of date, the need for more current ones reflecting the state of the art of the field are long over due. However, this is no small task and, as Andrew Christensen points out in the forward to Volume 2, 30 years ago one book on behavior modification and a drawer full of articles was sufficient to work effectively. Now, the field of psychotherapy is so immense that it is difficult to keep up with even a segment of the field. It is in this vein that Kaslow and her co-editors rise to the challenge of covering the field of psychotherapy. The creation, a massive compendium encompassing 108 chapters in 4 edited volumes, is the Comprehensive Handbook of Psychotherapy. Each volume is divided into 6 sections with the first three sections focusing on developmental issues (children, adolescents/young adults, and adults), the second section addressing different therapy formats (couples and families, and groups) and the final section considering special topics.

The authors included in the handbook are, for the most part, well respected leaders in the field of psychotherapy and hail from around the world. By and large, all of the chapters follow the same format. The authors start with a brief history of the intervention, then a synopsis of the theoretical basis, an examination of the methods of assessment and intervention, consideration of the symptoms and problems best addressed by the intervention, a case study, and a review of the efficacy and effectiveness literature. As one might expect, with 25 chapters in each volume, there was some variation in the quality between chapters as well as within.

One can only imagine the challenges involved in determining the chapter topics and the authors for such an undertaking. In Volume 1: Psychodynamic/Object Relations, the inclusion of many of the chapters made logical sense. For example, "Psychodynamic approaches to child therapy," "Short-term dynamic psychotherapy of narcissistic disorders," "Object-relations couple therapy," and "Race, gender, and transference in psychotherapy. …