FRANK M. DATTILIO AND ARTHUR FREEMAN, EDS.: Cognitive-Behavioral Strategies in Crisis Intervention. The Guilford Press, New York, 1994, 412 pp., $7.95.
Arguably, cognitive therapy has become the pre-eminent psychological treatment modality. Research has demonstrated its effectiveness in ameliorating a variety of emotional disorders, including anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, marital and family discord, and personality disorders. Cognitive methods have also been implicit in experiential, behavioral, and psychodynamic therapies, making almost axiomatic the idea that change depends in large part upon altering the way people think about their problems, which in turn alters their feelings about themselves and their emotional states. Cogito ergo sum...I think, therefore I am...curable.
Now into the breech comes Dattilio and Freeman's book, Cognitive-Behavioral Strategies in Crisis Intervention. The many contributing authors are noted for their distinguished clinical and/or academic backgrounds. A brief foreword written by Aaron T. Beck, M.D., the noted pioneer and perhaps foremost authority in cognitive therapy adds further status to Dattilio's and Freeman's editorial efforts. Their intentions are "to help bridge the gap in the professional literature on the application to crises of cognitive-behavioral interventions that have proven effective" (p. xv), while recognizing that the use of cognitive-behavioral strategies is in its infancy in the crisis intervention field.
After providing an introduction to both crisis intervention and to cognitive-behavioral-therapy techniques, the editors divide their book into two parts. Part I is devoted to the treatment of clinical syndromes or other conditions that may pose crisis situations for the clinician. There are chapters on panic disorders, borderline personality, suicidal depression, schizophrenia, substance abuse, eating disorders, and rape. The inclusion of borderlines is understandable, since multiple crises involving self-injury behavior and suicidal threats often characterize the clinical work with this population. In schizophrenia, critical events can determine the course of the disorder and can precipitate "mini-psychotic reactions," thus placing some of the therapeutic work with this group in the category of crisis intervention or crisis prevention. A chapter is also reserved for crisis-intervention strategies with older adults presenting affectively laden problems. …