Book reviews of Mastering Anxiety and Panic for Adolescents: Riding the Wave, Therapist Guide and Workbook; Islam and Social Work; Beyond Medication; The Right to Transportation; The Morganza, 1967; Handbook of Violence Risk Assessment and Treatment. Video review of Becoming a Social Worker and Becoming a Social Worker With Older Adults.
Mastery of Anxiety and Panic for Adolescents: Riding the Wave, A Therapist Guide, by Donna B. Pincus, Jill T. Ehrenreich, & Sara G. Mattis, Oxford University Press, New York, 2008, 156 pages, $37.95.
Riding the Wave Workbook, by Donna B. Pincus, Jill T. Ehrenreich, & Sara G. Mattis, Oxford University Press, New York, 2008, 109 pages, $19.95.
Mastery of Anxiety and Panic for Adolescents provides a step-by-step program for therapists to follow to assess and treat adolescents experiencing panic disorder. The Therapist Guide includes thirteen chapters that guide therapists through the use of this treatment program that is designed to be delivered over an 11-week period. As the authors state, “[the program] combines elements of CBT with therapist-accompanied situational exposure; skills are taught in a self-study format with therapist teaching skills during session and reviewing and practicing skills with adolescents.”
The Therapist Guide begins with an overview of panic disorder in adolescents and explains the basic premise of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Exposure Therapy to ensure that therapists are comfortable with these types of diagnoses and treatment modalities. The authors then go on to discuss the importance of completing a thorough assessment to ensure that appropriate clients are identified. The authors also discuss the important role of parental involvement and have included parent handouts in the appendix. Throughout the Therapist Guide, the authors use great organization in detailing ways therapists will engage their adolescent clients and practice skills with them.
Each chapter of the Therapist Guide identifies materials needed, the goals of each individual session, and guides therapists through the tasks to be completed in each session. The authors have included vignettes to assist therapists in presenting information to their clients. They also discuss possible reasons for resistance for which therapists need to be prepared. Sessions 1-7 focus on providing information and education to clients about panic disorder, as well as practicing skills that will be utilized during exposure. Sessions 8-10 discuss ways to assist clients in completing exposure exercises. Session 11 focuses on relapse prevention and termination issues. Each session includes homework assignments and optional parent components. The authors also made sure to discuss ways the program can be adapted to different age groups and developmental levels, as well as ways the program can be completed in an 8-day intensive setting for adolescents who are truly disabled by their diagnosis of panic disorder. Each of these chapters is clear and easy to understand, and therapists will have no problem following the manual.
The authors also developed a workbook for clients to keep, which coincides with the Therapist Guide. After getting through Chapter 1 of the Riding the Wave Workbook, readers will find the workbook to be teen-friendly. Chapter 1 includes assessment information that will be difficult for adolescents to understand, but once clients move on to the rest of the Workbook, they will find the format user friendly, including diagrams, pictures, and worksheets that can be photocopied. The adolescent will enjoy having his or her own workbook to keep outside of therapy sessions, as homework and practice are essential components of the treatment program.
The Mastery of Anxiety and Panic for Adolescent Therapist Guide and corresponding Riding the Wave Workbook are great resources for therapists who are experienced in CBT and Exposure Therapy and want a comprehensive, detailed program to follow for use with adolescents. However, therapists who are interested in implementing this treatment program must have flexibility in their schedules, as they will be required to go into the community with clients to practice the exposure exercises. Readers will be able to implement the “Panic Control Program for Adolescents” quickly and easily after reading through the Therapist Guide and corresponding Workbook. I especially appreciated the way the authors prepared therapists for issues that may arise during the course of treatment, included parents in treatment, and discussed ways to adapt the program based on individual client needs. Additionally, the worksheets and parent handouts are great resources for clients and parents.
Reviewed by Shannon Szkotnicki, LCSW, School Social Worker, Glendale Union High School District.
Islam and Social Work: Debating Values, Transforming Practice, by Sara Ashencaen Crabtree, Fatima Husain, & Basia Spalek, The Policy Press, Bristol, England, 2008, 198 pages, $29.95.
This book helps bridge the knowledge gap, exacerbated by social stereotypes and political rhetoric, between social workers and clients of the Muslim faith. The authors further express concern over the potential for well meaning social workers to contribute to the marginalization of Muslim people. The authors provide an overview of the Muslim faith, culture, and potential client needs to inform culturally-sensitive practice. Most importantly, the authors clarify how social work principles are in line with the Muslim faith to provide a common ground for practice. The authors demonstrate how personal experience can influence one’s understanding of diversity. This helps the reader learn more about the importance of self-examination and personal change to effectively serve a diverse clientele. The book focuses on the role of families, with specific discussion about sexual orientation, divorce, domestic violence, spousal abuse, forced marriage, and adoption. Health issues such as reproduction, mental illness, and end-of-life care are addressed. The book ends with the topic of Muslims as victims and perpetrators of crime.
Muslims have migrated all over the world. Along with an increased number of people who have converted to Islam, the Muslim community is very diverse. The family unit is central to the Muslim faith. Family forms include nuclear, polygamous, and extended family. Marital relationships are hierarchical, with men and women having complimentary social roles. Men are responsible for earning wages and attending to religious/civic duties outside the home. They may use physical abuse to maintain family control. The value of women is relative to childbearing, particularly in giving birth to sons. Giving birth to a disabled child or being infertile is considered shameful. Women are also responsible for child-rearing and domestic life. When women leave their homes, they traditionally wear a veil that covers distinguishing features. A veil is said to help one manage exposure to the external environment, keep one’s spiritual energy within, and protect one from sexual harassment. However, wearing a veil in other parts of the world has been identified as an affront to the dominant culture.
The authors suggest areas in which social workers may be of benefit to Muslims. They illustrate similarities between social work values and Muslim faith. They provide a framework to help social workers draw from shared values throughout the intervention. Social workers are encouraged to ensure that Muslims have access to standard services that may be overlooked upon discomfort associated with a cross-cultural relationship. It is also recommended that social workers address problems within the family network and cultural framework, rather than rely on Western theories and values for intervention. However, it can be challenging when social work values and Muslim faith conflict. This might require the involvement of a respected Muslim community leader to clarify the most appropriate direction. For example, based on a Western paradigm, spousal abuse is viewed as a problem, but it may not be identified as such by Muslims, despite negative consequences. Social work intervention to reduce spousal abuse may actually increase abuse by men who seek to re-establish family authority.
Despite being short in length, this book is comprehensive in approach. The text is well written, which makes for easy reading. There are some points that need further explanation, but tables summarize key information. Case scenarios provide meaningful application of practice principles. This book focuses on generalist practice, thus application in clinical practice would enhance utility for master’s-level social workers. Even though the book is written about the United Kingdom, it serves to illustrate the tumult of social change likely to continue into the future. Further discussion about management and community practice would help round out the approach. Nevertheless, the authors provide a cohesive and objective piece despite significant gaps in the literature. Most cogently, the authors suggest that multi-cultural education may need to reduce an emphasis on European values, theories, and practices to avoid oppressing Muslims. International social work represents an opportunity to enhance knowledge of diversity. Hence, the profession is called to promote international social work as evidence of such a commitment.
Reviewed by Ann M. Callahan, PhD, MSSW, LCSW, assistant professor, Department of Social Work, Lincoln Memorial University. Correspondence regarding this review can be sent to the reviewer at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lincoln Memorial University, 6965 Cumberland Gap Parkway, Harrogate, TN 37752.
Beyond Medication: Therapeutic Engagement and the Recovery from Psychosis, edited by David Garfield and Daniel Mackler, Routledge, 2009, East Sussex, Great Britain, 216 pages, $35.95.
Currently, there is a strong focus on using medication to treat people with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. However, many therapists may be interested in learning how psychotherapy can work to alleviate some of the devastating effects of these severe mental illnesses. Beyond Medication: Therapeutic Engagement and the Recovery from Psychosis, explores ways in which therapists have been able to initiate a therapeutic relationship with people with psychosis and encourage change using psychotherapy.
Editors David Garfield and Daniel Mackler have divided Beyond Medication into four parts: Engaging the Patient, The Elements of Change, Listening to the Patient: Stories of what Really Works and Concluding Chapter. In part one, several clinical cases illustrate a psychotherapeutic understanding of psychosis and ways to engage clients who are coping with psychosis. Among the most fascinating presentations is Garry Prouty’s description of a colleague who uses “Pre-Therapy” to help a client out of a catatonic state over the course of a 12-hour period.
In the second part, the chapters by Julie Kipp and Patricia L. Gibbs are especially informative. Kipp addresses the benefits of milieu treatment for clients with severe mental illness, as well as the very real issue that many therapists working with this population do so in a milieu setting. Gibbs presents an interesting chapter on the use of psychoanalytic treatment for psychotic depression, in which she explores issues of transference and countertransference, as well as how dreams, hallucinations, and delusions can inform treatment.
In part three, two chapters are written from the perspective of the client and describe recovering from schizophrenia with the help of psychotherapy. One of these is written by Joanne Greenberg, the renowned author of I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. The third chapter in this part is a subjective study examining the experiences of medication use among people with schizophrenia. In the fourth part, which is also the final chapter, Ira Steinman explains the need for therapists to engage in dynamic therapy, not just supportive therapy, with people with severe mental illness. The author delineates inherent challenges when implementing dynamic therapy and also highlights the importance of gaining outside support when working with people with severe mental illness.
Readers of Beyond Medication will likely find many of the chapters to be very interesting, helpful, and fair handed when discussing the use of psychotherapy for treating people with psychosis. Other chapters are intriguing, but are possibly less applicable to typical treatment settings. Some chapters may leave the reader wanting further explanation into some of the less traditional approaches being discussed.
One of the strongest merits of this book is the presentation of the idea that psychotherapy can help people with psychosis and severe mental illness. Unfortunately, treatment approaches for psychosis can polarize therapists, causing some to only support the use of medication or to only support the use of therapy. More helpful, perhaps, is an inclusive stance in which one can allow that medication and therapy may be effectual for different clients in different combinations. Ultimately, it is our duty to be knowledgeable about a range of approaches in order to best assist clients in finding the treatments that work for them. Beyond Medication will help readers better understand how psychotherapy may treat psychosis and provide a broader knowledge base to draw from when working with clients.
Reviewed by Mollie Charter, MSW, graduate of Boston University in the spring of 2008.
She currently lives in Denmark and is keeping up with social work through volunteering for an organization for people with mental illness and for a multicultural women’s organization, in addition to writing.
The Right to Transportation: Moving to Equity, by Thomas W. Sanchez, Marc Brenman, Jacinta S. Ma, and Richard H. Stolz, Planners Press, American Planning Association, Chicago, Illinois, Washington, D.C., 2007, 262 pages, List Price $ 57.90 Member Price $35.95. For more information about the book, visit http://www.planning.org/apastore/Search/Default.aspx?p=3655.
Have you encountered clients unable to get to appointments because of transportation problems? How about clients having trouble finding employment because their job search is only limited to places they can commute by bus? Have you counseled senior citizens who stopped driving and are thinking about moving to senior housing facilities where transportation service is provided? Transportation may not be the number one topic for social workers to discuss with their clients. When you come to think of it, however, transportation has a tremendous impact on one’s life. Simply put, without transportation, you cannot really do much.
The Right to Transportation: Moving to Equity describes how transportation inequalities exist in our society and how this disproportionately affects underprivileged individuals. Readers can broaden their understanding about transportation fairness and how it may profoundly affect our clients. Several chapters of this book are dedicated to issues such as transportation-related demographic trends, impact of transportation cost, transportation policies and their influence over the quality of life, and discussion of transportation disadvantaged populations. As a social science researcher whose current research projects deal with transportation issues, I find chapters 6 and 7 are the most interesting and helpful. The title of chapter 6 is Extending Transportation Equity. The notable examples in this chapter include Native Americans’ high motor vehicle death rates and immigrants’ language barriers and their inability to navigate transportation systems. In chapter 7, Disability, Aging, and Transportation Equity, the authors provide 10 principles of transportation equality for individuals with disabilities. Lastly, there is transportation equity terminology in Appendix I. Readers can find definitions such as accessibility, human services transportation, and Job Access and Reverse Commute Program (JARC).
The Right to Transportation: Moving to Equity, written and published by planners, offers some utilities for social work professionals, as well. First, it can be a reading assignment for macro social work classes. When a class is designed with objectives to address topics such as inequality and social justice, this book can be good reading and discussion material. Second, agency administrators may find this book useful when they are looking for strategies to effectively advocate clients’ need to transportation services. Transportation policies and background information featured in this book may suit agencies’ reasoning with relevant references.
This book does not provide answers to social work practitioners as to where one can find transportation resources for their clients. However, readers would be well informed about striking transportation statistics (i.e., transportation cost is the second largest expenditure in American households) and how we can approach transportation inequalities from societal perspectives. This book makes me think of one potential practice implication. Next time social work professionals assess clients’ environment, how about asking one additional question: “How did you get here today?”
Reviewed by Joohee Yum, MSW (Catholic University of America), Ph.D. (University of Maryland, Baltimore) in social work. Joohee Yum is currently working as a social science researcher at Westat, national research organization located in Rockville, Maryland. Her research interests include mobility issues of transportation-disadvantaged populations, coordination efforts among human service agencies, and research methodology.
The Morganza, 1967: Life in a Legendary Reform School, by David E. Stuart, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, 2009, 225 pages, $21.95.
This “sociological memoir” recounts the author’s traineeship as a counselor at the now-defunct Youth Development Center in Canonsburg, PA, known locally as “The Morganza.” From the dramatic and traumatic opening scene and onward, this gripping story documents work with a segment of society that few of us think much about. This lock-up with a reform school veneer is simultaneously a product of its time and place, and also an example of every culture’s attempts to deal with young offenders who don’t understand, respect, or acknowledge society’s stated values, and often fall victim to the unstated ones.
In writing that’s somewhere between Norman Mailer’s An American Dream and Pat Conroy’s The Prince of Tides, the author recounts his history of working with the Morganza’s kids: both the violent criminal cases who absorb so much of the staff’s time, and the “retarded,” rejected, and perennial victims who might benefit from the attention they can too-rarely be spared. Although the kids presented are a rogue’s gallery of PTSD and trauma cases (among other problems: drug addiction, retardation, sexual abuse, more), those four letters don’t appear together in the book. Mr. Stuart offers no DSM diagnoses or any other such categorizations of his former charges; indeed, the American Psychiatric Association didn’t write a DSM until the following year.
Although now a professor of anthropology, his voice in the book is his voice of the day; he presents the kids’ actions and lives to tell their own stories. He avoids the clinical voice of the professionals on “the Hill,” who passed diagnostic judgments based on infrequent hour-long interviews but who never otherwise entered the buildings where the kids lived, worked, and yes, died. Other Morganza personnel offer not-always-negative insights into the motivations, attitudes, and effectiveness of direct-care providers. And there are more than a few vignettes about the vengeful and even instigatory acts of society itself on these kids.
If striking a kid with a pool cue is not part of your ideal trainee image, then Mr. Stuart does not present himself as a model trainee; but don’t look for any mea culpas here. For staff and administrators, as well as for their charges, this is a story about survival in a brutal environment, for which the author presents his own pre-employment credentials. But the author does present himself as an activist who, in talk, in writing, and in action, attempts to identify, discuss, challenge, and otherwise address the shortcomings of the system in which he works. Racism and the politics of the 1960s provide backdrop, but never dominate the personal story. The book reflects a damning view of the institution overall, while admiring good works within it, and spotlighting society’s role in making it exactly what it was. As for the author’s role, both Mr. Stuart and I leave it to you as the reader to judge. Whatever you conclude, it is a riveting read.
Reviewed by Tony Vazquez, MSW; Licensed Clinical Social Worker, NYS, Social Work Supervisor, Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, Queens, NY.
Handbook of Violence Risk Assessment and Treatment: New Approaches for Mental Health Professionals, edited by Joel T. Andrade, MSW, LICSW, Springer Publishing Company, New York, 2009, 656 pages, $85.
In Thomas Grisso’s foreword to this comprehensive and very up-to-date examination of the state of violence risk assessment and treatment, he comments on the “fascinating” body of research and clinical knowledge that has evolved in only the past 35 years. Dr. Grisso traces the evolution of violence risk assessment to two significant legal cases of the 1970s, Tarasoff and O’Connor vs. Donaldson, the first of which established that a mental health professional has a duty to warn others of any risk of serious harm by their patients, and the second of which dictated that individuals can only be hospitalized against their will if they pose a significant risk of harm to themselves or others. Following these rulings, the burden of predicting who will become violent has fallen on mental health professionals, despite a history of limited success in this area and a lack of evidence-based research to guide assessment and treatment planning. In addition, the focus has shifted from simply assessing risk to also reducing it, further highlighting the need for evidence-based assessment instruments and intervention techniques. In the words of Michael Fogel, one of the contributors to this volume, “the goal of violence risk assessment is the prevention of future violence and the development of management strategies to control or minimize assessed risk; it is not the prediction of dangerousness.”
As a practicing social worker, I found this thought to be somewhat comforting. The concept of predicting dangerousness is a daunting one to any mental health professional, and adopting a more preventive framework fits in with our profession’s strengths-based, more global focus better than a reliance on statistics and formulas.
Discussions about violence risk assessment with sexual predators, stalkers, batterers, and individuals diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder/psychopathy reminded me that social workers are often placed in situations in which our fears, biases, and concepts of good/evil/right/wrong become important pieces of our assessments and interventions. Self-knowledge, good supervision, and attention to safety are identified as essential components of any work with these “morally objectionable” clients. Given the complexities of working with such individuals, I found it very useful to have assessment and intervention strategies laid out in a very readable format, with an emphasis on evidence-based tools and techniques.
I admit to skipping over the at-times lengthy descriptions of specific assessment tools, but it is useful to know that this information is contained in this volume, if needed. I was much more interested in the case vignettes, which are very relevant and illustrative of the techniques or concepts being discussed.
I particularly enjoyed the chapters on psychopathy, a topic I knew less about than I thought I did, and emerging research on violent acts committed by women and girls and the importance of recognizing gender differences and gender-specific interventions. The chapter on “Treatment and Management of Violence and Criminal Risk among Mentally Ill Offenders” was a bit of a disappointment to me because of its focus on a research demonstration project in California rather than on a range of evidence-based interventions. I found the remainder of Part I: Adult Violence to be an excellent resource for anyone working with offenders or potentially violent clients.
Part II of this text focuses on youth violence, with useful differentiation between “life-course persistent” and “adolescent-limited” offenders, a discussion of “crossover” youth caught between the child protection and criminal systems, and special attention to sexually abusive youth and juvenile stalking. Even though I don’t currently work with any of these populations, I found these chapters to be helpful from a developmental, or, to borrow a term used by several contributing authors, “pathways to violence” perspective. I was pleased to see that a discussion of compassion fatigue was included, as this is a significant risk for any clinician working with these populations, along with a discussion of therapeutic naiveté vs. therapeutic nihilism.
Whereas social work students could learn a great deal about violent offenders and the assessment of dangerousness from this volume, I would characterize the Handbook as more appropriate for experienced clinicians. Like Dr. Grisso, I would use the term “fascinating” in regards to the subject matter and the contents of this volume, and I would recommend it highly to anyone who finds him or herself working with offenders or potentially violent clients.
Reviewed by Cathleen M. Kelley, LICSW, senior social worker, Fletcher Allen Health Care.
“Becoming a Social Worker: Real Students, Real Clients, Real Growth,” and “Becoming a Social Worker With Older Adults: Real Students, Real Clients, Real Growth,” 2-DVD set, produced by Professor Judith Smith, Fordham University, Developing Images, LLC, New York, 2008. Length: DVD #1—approximately 70 minutes long; DVD #2—approximately 70 minutes long, $149 for each volume, $10 shipping and handling for each volume. http://www.developingimagesllc.com/.
I recently had the opportunity to review the two-part DVD, Becoming a Social Worker and Becoming a Social Worker with Older Adults. The first DVD describes different aspects of becoming a social worker, and it focuses on interviews with specific social work students. Some of the topics covered include why the student wanted to become a social worker, how to establish professional boundaries, and the feelings that students had when they first went out into the field to practice with clients. This DVD also discusses how to make supervision work for the student; the role of the social work student just beginning the field placement; and how to deal with termination issues, such as feelings of guilt associated with leaving the client.
The second DVD, Becoming a Social Worker with Older Adults, goes more in-depth regarding the experiences that new social work students may encounter when working in the gerontological field. A major topic explored in this DVD is the confrontation of the student’s perspectives of older adults. Ageist beliefs should be discussed with field placement supervisors. A wonderful suggestion regarding how to learn more about the older client is to focus on the present, not what the older adult did in the past. The DVD provides examples of how to reframe questions so they do not appear ageist.
This DVD also touches on the difficulties associated with older adults accepting help and services, as well as assisting family caregivers of older adults in obtaining services. The video addresses running a support group for the elderly and provides an interesting recommendation to call it a “discussion group” rather than a “support group,” to attract more group participants. Another timely section of the DVD discusses outreach with the very old and the challenges that may be encountered when working with this population.
These DVDs would be especially useful for social work educators and students. They could also be applicable to social workers who are new to the field of gerontological social work. The DVDs are supplemented with study guide questions and discussion topics that can be accessed through the Web site, http://www.developingimagesllc.com/. Topics and questions have been developed for generalist practice, field work/field placement, and practice with older adults.
There are 14 10-minute film clips, all relating to older clients, that allow the professor to integrate them into class discussion without taking much class time. These clips can be used in a variety of different courses, such as BSW and MSW practice courses and field practicum classes. In practice classes, the students have an opportunity to observe real interactions between other students and the older adults and how these students cope with issues such as termination, boundary-setting, and facilitating a support group. For field practicum courses, it is extremely valuable to hear that all students experience some sort of anxiety and nervousness the first few weeks in the field. The DVD also shows the students discussing how beneficial field supervision is in combating previously held beliefs of older adults.
Reviewed by Dara Bergel Bourassa, LSW, PhD, Assistant Professor and Director of the Gerontology Program, Shippensburg University, Shippensburg, PA.