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Treating AddictionReview - Treating Addiction
A Guide for Professionals
by William R. Miller, Alyssa A. Forcehimes, and Allen Zweben
Guilford Press, 2011
Review by Eric Klein, Ph.D.
Apr 23rd 2013 (Volume 17, Issue 17)

At some point in clinical practice, most therapists will encounter a client who meets diagnostic criteria for an addictive disorder, but many are uncertain of the most current, evidence-based treatment strategies.  This can be problematic for a variety of reasons, especially since the there has been an increased emphasis on cost effectiveness and treatment accountability in the mental health field, and inconsistent practices that are not based on evidence of treatment efficacy are rapidly becoming unacceptable.

Treating Addiction: A Guide for Professionals offers both a valuable update for mental health practitioners, as well as a useful text for graduate-level courses on addiction counseling and treatment.  The authors, William R. Miller, Alyssa A. Forcehimes, and Allen Zweben, have packed this book with unique insights and a thoughtful distillation of what research has taught us about the nature of addiction and its treatment.

The authors begin the book with a well-focused, comprehensive, and quite readable overview of addiction, including a context for addiction treatment.  I was most impressed by their inclusion of a lengthy chapter on the importance of individualizing treatment plans, and selecting the most appropriate treatments for clients based on research and evidence.  I believe the topic of matching is too often overlooked, particularly in the area of addiction treatment.  The authors are truly leaders in the field who describe ways to better understand and effectively help people with addictive disorders.

The authors also include an extensive menu of evidence-based options for addiction treatment in an easy to read and logical style.  Each chapter contains information related to both efficacy and practicality, and offers practical, ready-to-use clinical tools.  As a bonus, reproducible clinical materials (including assessment tools) are made available by the authors through the publisher's website.

Eminently practical and authoritative, this book provides real-world, practical information for improving addiction treatment and for increasing the adoption of evidence-based practices among clinicians.  Moreover, it identifies and illustrates the issues that arise in addiction treatment, including topics such as responding to resistance, enhancing adherence, promoting maintenance, working with groups, and addressing the spiritual side of addiction treatment.

Throughout the book, I found myself most drawn to the reflection questions and pointed areas of further consideration.  For examples, the authors pose and meaningfully discuss such questions as, "Do clients really learn new coping skills?"

Overall, this is an excellent integrative guide that empowers readers with a wealth of information, understanding, and advice.  The authors draw on cutting-edge theory and research to explain what works (and what doesn't work).  I highly recommend adding this book to your library or collection.


© 2013 Eric Klein


Eric Klein, Ph.D. , Department Chair, College of Health, Human Services, and Science,  Ashford University


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