By: Michael Clarkson-Hendrix, MSW
Hertlein, K. M., & Viers, D. (Eds.). (2005). The Couple and Family Therapist’s Notebook: Homework, Handouts, and Activities for Use in Marital and Family Therapy. New York, London, Oxford: The Haworth Clinical Practice Press. 231 pages, $34.95.
The Couple and Family Therapist’s Notebook: Homework, Handouts, and Activities for Use in Marital and Family Therapy is a collection of field tested interventions written by clinicians of various theoretical orientations, such as counseling psychology, school psychology, social work, and marriage and family therapy. The book includes three major sections. The first section describes interventions generated for use with couples in therapy. The second section describes interventions for use with families. Finally, the third section describes interventions involving larger systems. Chapters are divided into sections including an objective that orients the reader to the intervention, a brief rationale for the intervention, its instructions, a clinical vignette, a section highlighting contraindications, and a list of resources for both the practitioner and the client.
The intention of this book is to be a resource for clinicians of all theoretical orientations and experience levels. For social workers, the book expands into theories beyond those traditionally learned through social work education. This expansion allows room for social workers to develop different understandings of client problems. Also, social workers can use the interventions as starting points for their own creative solutions to client problems. The chapters about incorporating cultural knowledge into goal development for the African American family and the chapter toward developing a culturally and spiritually consonant treatment of native Hawaiians are especially helpful in expanding awareness of racial and spiritual diversity in practice.
This book would be of help for social work students during their fieldwork experience with couples and/or families. Fieldwork supervisors can provide chapters to develop clinical competencies in their students, or students can read the book independently to develop their capacity for intervening with these client problems.
Social work educators can use the books as a supplementary text for advanced practice courses in couples and family therapy. Because of the multiple clinical orientations, it would be likely students’ understanding of clinical theories as they relate to client problems would be enhanced. Also, the book provides a framework for students to begin to understand how to create effective interventions based upon theoretical and empirical literature. Social work educators may note the book could more comprehensively address the needs of vulnerable populations, which are the specialty of social work practice, by including even more interventions with sensitivities to race, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
Since this book is intended for clinicians, it would not be a helpful book to recommend to clients. However, each chapter provides a reading list for clients. Clinicians may find it helpful to recommend reading from this list as appropriate.
Reviewed by Michael Clarkson-Hendrix, MSW, Master of Science (School Psychology), LMSW, Certified School Psychologist.