Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

Using Cognitive Approaches with the Seriously Mentally Ill; Dialogue across the Barrier

Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

Using Cognitive Approaches with the Seriously Mentally Ill; Dialogue across the Barrier

Article excerpt

BARBARA A. OLEVITCH: Using Cognitive Approaches with the Seriously Mentally Ill: Dialogue Across the Barrier Westport: Praeger Publishers, 1995, 184 pp., $SS.00, ISBN 0-275-95244-4.

The purpose of this book is to describe methods for overcoming the communication barrier that exists between mental health workers and the seriously mentally ill. Olevitch believes this barrier reflects biochemical and cognitive disabilities. Therapy is described as a "thinking assist" (p. 6), and employs REBT (Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy) modified for this patient group. The goal of therapy is to help patients explore the meaning of events and look at how their thoughts about the events can lead to painful emotions. Her modifications include discussing with the patient how their illness alters perceptions or affects their assessment of perceptions.

The book is divided into four sections. The first section focuses on individual treatment, describing the use of cognitive therapy tools in dealing with common symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, depression, and anger. It is not intended to be a manual on technique and is anecdotal in style. Her interventions come across as sound bites and could have been expanded to give an accurate sense of the time it takes to do this work, but it does impart a creative and hopeful attitude. One interesting example describes the use of an optical illusion to educate a patient about hallucinations and how our senses can be fooled. …

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