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Understanding Crisis Therapies

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Title: Understanding Crisis Therapies

Author: Hilda Loughran

Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2011

Reviewer: Michaela McAndrew, community mental health nurse, South Staffordshire and Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust


What was it like?

This book does exactly what it says on the cover. It describes crisis intervention work from seven different theoretical viewpoints to give a well-rounded and informed understanding. The final chapter pulls these ideas together to present an integrative approach including lots of practical suggestions for use in assessment and delivering crisis interventions. It takes a positive approach to crisis work and states at the outset that it views it as an opportunity for change. Each chapter is well structured and outlines the way the theoretical perspective defines and understands crisis, how it is assessed and the way interventions are formulated. It is written in an accessible style and you do not need a prior knowledge of the theories explored to understand it. Every section of the book concludes with a case study, which is really useful in enabling the reader to apply theory to practice.


What were the highlights? 

The highlight for me was the positive way crisis work is represented. Often in mental health practice we see crisis work as a situation to be avoided if possible. To view it as an optimum time to effect change in a positive way was refreshing and has made me be more  thoughtful and less reactive in my approach

Strengths and weaknesses?

There are numerous strengths to this book.  The really clear language and wide range of perspectives represented were useful as so often books of this nature are written from one theoretical perspective and use jargon that requires a level of prior knowledge. I really enjoyed the clear structure that was repeated throughout the chapters and the use of the case studies was valuable. The main concepts of each theory are communicated clearly with lots of referencing and ideas for further reading. The only criticism I would make is that the chapter near the end about post-traumatic stress disorder felt a bit of an afterthought and didn’t really fit with the rest of the book.

Who should read it?

This book is written for mental health workers of all disciplines. It is relevant to mental health nurses,nursing students and applies to most settings. It does not require any prior knowledge but develops ideas to a level that will also be useful to experienced and well-read practitioners.

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