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Book Forum: Treatment Perspectives   |    
A Guide to Treatments That Work, 2nd ed.
PEDRO RUIZ, M.D.
Am J Psychiatry 2002;159:1454-1454. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.159.8.1454
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Houston, Tex.

Edited by Peter E. Nathan and Jack M. Gorman. New York, Oxford University Press, 2002, 681 pp., $85.00.

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The first edition of this book was published in 1998 with the objective of offering, in a single volume, a compendium of psychiatric treatments considered to work effectively from a clinical point of view. The second edition is intended to update the treatments and interventions that clinically work, those which don’t, and those which still remain beyond the scope of our current knowledge. The contributors selected for this edition represent a well-recognized group of scientists, educators, and clinicians from the fields of psychology and psychiatry. This second edition has also incorporated the most recent psychopharmacological and psychotherapeutic advances as well as new and well-established clinical interventions and procedures.

In total, 25 chapters address a series of diagnostic categories. Each of these chapters rigorously focuses on what is currently available in the medical literature. Specific attention is given to the type of studies analyzed. That is, randomized, prospective clinical trails with blinded assessments; clinical trails with interventions but without double-blind methodological techniques; open treatment studies aiming at securing pilot data; reviews with secondary data analysis; reviews without secondary data analysis; and, finally, reports based on case studies, essays, and opinions. In other words, the editors and contributors make a strong effort to differentiate the scientific nature and validity of what the medical literature has offered so far.

A final chapter focusing on "Efficacy, Effectiveness, and the Clinical Utility of Psychotherapy Research" was prepared by the editors. I found this chapter of much value, given the flux that for years existed with respect to evidence-based psychotherapeutic interventions and approaches. Actually, I think that this type of rigorous review and analysis is what will permit psychotherapeutic interventions to prevail through these years of challenges.

Another useful feature of this book is the excellent summary of treatments that work, which is presented in the beginning of the book. This summary notes not only the treatments that work but also the evidence on which the opinions are based and where in the book these treatments are addressed and discussed. This summary is both practical and quite beneficial for the busy practitioner and young clinician. Besides, it is an outstanding teaching and educational resource.

Finally, what is also practical and pragmatic about this book is that the information and data are presented in one single volume. In contrast to the numerous practice guidelines and books that have been published in recent years with similar objectives, this book, like DSM-IV, should be kept handy for daily use. I commend Dr. Nathan and Dr. Gorman for an outstanding contribution to the field, and I strongly recommend that clinicians and practitioners read this book and have it nearby, as I intend to do myself.

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