IPT Book Reviews

Title: Evidence-based Psychotherapies for Children and Adolescents   Positive Review Positive Review
Editors: Alan E. Kazdin and John R. Weisz
Publisher: Guilford, 2003

Guilford Publications
72 Spring St., New York, NY 10012
Ph. 212-431-9800
fax: 212-966-6708
Price: $50.00 Hard

The effort to apply the science of psychology to the actual life of human beings has been at least nominally guided by the Boulder model since shortly after World War II.  The Boulder model is that the clinical psychologist is first and foremost a scientist and secondarily a clinician.  However, the ideal has been just that,. an ideal, with not much substance to it.  It has been evident since the 1950's and the work of Hans Eysenck that psychodynamic, Freudian psychotherapy is not effective and may indeed be harmful.  Nevertheless, the dominant approach to integrating psychology and life has been just that, psychodynamic and Freudian.

In 1995 an APA Task Force reported on the review of psychotherapy research to determine which therapy techniques had enough scientific support to be ethically taught at the universities.1  Essentially, the report concluded the cognitive behavioral methods were the only approaches with sufficient credible scientific support to be ethically taught.  This opened up a highly charged controversy which is still going on.  Many clinicians whose careers and work are invested in psychodynamic, unsupported procedures are resisting change.  So it remains the case that unsupported and possibly harmful therapies continue to be vended.  At the same time, effort is being made to continue the process of empirically validating psychotherapies and finding those that are efficacious and actually work to improve human life.

This book is a timely and necessary review of what is now known about the scientific basis for therapies intended for children and adolescents.  It must be read and understood by anyone bold enough to sell services for children and adolescents and anyone who must decide what therapy is appropriate for children and adolescents.

Anyone who knowingly collects money from the government, insurance companies, or private pay patients for therapies that are not empirically supported is guilty of fraud and malpractice.  It will not be long before some group of plaintiff's attorneys realizes that there is a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow and begins to go after it.  For no purpose other than self-defense, mental health practitioners need to study this book and examine their own practice and procedures in the light of its review of the research evidence.  To do less is to leave one's nether parts exposed to the cruel elements.

We recommend immediate purchase and swift study.

Reviewed by Ralph Underwager, PhD,, Institute for Psychological Therapies.

1 Task Force on Promotion and Dissemination of Psychological Procedures. (1995). Training in and dissemination of empirically-validated psychological treatments: Report and recommendations. The Clinical Psychologist, 48(1), 3-23.

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