Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Book Reviews -- Family Evaluation: A Psychological Approach by Luciano L'Abate

Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Book Reviews -- Family Evaluation: A Psychological Approach by Luciano L'Abate

Article excerpt

Family Evaluation: A Psychological Approach. Luciano L'Abate. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 1994. 184 pp. Hardcover ISBN 0-8039-4238-9. $36 cloth, $17.95 paper.

L'Abate provides the reader with a clearly written and engaging treatise on how structured interviews and psychometrics can be used to obtain greater correspondence between evaluations, diagnosis, and treatment in family therapy. The general problem being addressed is summed in a quote from Efran, Lukens, and Lukens (1990):

Although articles in professional journals extol the virtues of systematically matching clients and problems to therapists and methods, in actual clinical work this is rarely feasible and almost never practiced. . . . In the large majority of circumstances facing the average clinician, the selection of therapeutic strategies is still a seat-of-the-pants operation, guided more by personal predilections, intuitions and financial considerations than by hard facts. (p. 12)

In Chapter 1 of Family Evaluation: A Psychological Approach, L'Abate shows by extension how this Gordian knot rises in complexity as one moves from individual to family therapy. Chapters 2 and 3 deal with standard methodological issues that arise in attempts to understand families, including systemic, multidirectional, and reciprocal effects. Chapters 4 and 5 pose various forms of interviews and assessment techniques as means of tightening up the links between evaluation, diagnosis, and therapy. In Chapter 6 the reader is walked through a hypothetical assessment of a family. Chapters 7 through 9 emphasize the importance of the skilled human interpretation that must be applied to interviews and psychometrics after they have been conducted, and includes a sample written evaluation of a family. …

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