The Therapist's Guide to Psychopharmacology : Working with Patients, Families, and Physicians to Optimize Care book cover
1st Edition

The Therapist's Guide to Psychopharmacology
Working with Patients, Families, and Physicians to Optimize Care

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ISBN 9781606237007
Published February 19, 2010 by Guilford Press
310 Pages


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Book Description

This indispensable book provides therapists and counselors with crucial knowledge about psychotropic medications: when and how to make medication referrals, how to answer patients' questions and help them handle problems that arise, and how to combine medication and psychotherapy effectively. Ideal for readers without extensive background in neurobiology, the book clearly explains how medications work in the brain and how they affect an individual's emotions, behavior, and relationships. Strategies for collaborating successfully with patients, their family members, and prescribers are discussed in detail. In this edition, psychopharmacology content has been fully updated.

Table of Contents


I. The Mind–Body Connection

1. How the Brain Works

2. How Psychotropic Drugs Work

II. Psychiatric Disorders and Their Treatment

3. Mood Disorders

4. Anxiety Disorders

5. Schizophrenia and Other Psychoses

6. Cognitive Disorders

7. Alcoholism and Substance Abuse

8. Special Populations and Situations

III. Creative Collaboration

9. Focusing the Lens: The Referral Process and Medication Evaluation

10. Sharing Care: Building Successful Collaborative Relationships

11. Strengthening Bonds: Collaborating with the Family

Appendix A. How Drugs Are Developed

Appendix B. Future Trends

Appendix C. Professional Outreach


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Jo Ellen Patterson, PhD, LMFT, is Professor in the Marital and Family Therapy Program at the University of San Diego. She is also Associate Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. She serves on the editorial boards of Family Systems and Health and the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy.

A. Ari Albala, MD, is currently Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine; Clinical Director, Quality Improvement, Aurora Behavioral Health; and Medical Director at Psychiatric Centers at San Diego. Dr. Albala has received numerous distinctions in his career as both an educator and practitioner, including being awarded the status of Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

Margaret E. McCahill, MD, is Health Sciences Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, and she practices both specialties. Dr. McCahill is a residency training director and also provides training and supervision for students in social work, marital and family therapy, and clinical psychology.

Todd M. Edwards, PhD, LMFT, is Associate Professor and Director of the Marital and Family Therapy Program at the University of San Diego and Voluntary Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.


This book fills an important gap in the literature by providing psychotherapists with trustworthy medical information. The authors get to the essence of complex subjects and present them in an engaging and conversational writing style that readers will appreciate. Those without a strong science background will find the book to be an accessible introduction to psychopharmacology, medical culture, and collaboration with medical professionals. I will recommend this book highly to all of our nonmedical trainees.--Wayne Denton, MD, PhD, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Patterson et al. have written a book every therapist and student needs. This volume is filled with illustrative case examples that point to ways to work with medication and medication issues in a clinically skillful way. Providing just the right amount of detail, the authors discuss the most appropriate medications for each of the most common mental health syndromes, as well as their typical side effects. They systematically address how to decide when referral for medication evaluation is appropriate, how to collaborate with physicians, how to help clients overcome the barriers to accepting and obtaining medication, how to mix psychopharmacology and psychotherapy, and how to work with families to support medication treatment. This book should be a standard text in graduate programs and required reading for all students in psychotherapy and assessment practica.--Jay Lebow, PhD, The Family Institute at Northwestern University

This book is essential reading for all mental health professionals. It provides both beginning and seasoned therapists a working knowledge of psychotropic medication and the skills to collaborate effectively with medical prescribers. Using the framework of the biopsychosocial model, the authors emphasize that treatment is not just a choice between therapy or medication; rather, many patients benefit from a combined and integrated approach. The book is up to date and very practical. It can be used as a textbook for trainees in psychology, family therapy, or social work, or as a reference text for the busy clinician to pull off the shelf when a client is prescribed a new medication. Patterson and her colleagues have provided a valuable resource for the field. I highly recommend this book.--Thomas L. Campbell, MD, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

The product of intense collaboration between two psychiatrists and two family therapists, this book focuses on the power of collaboration to improve the quality of care for clients who take psychiatric medications. There is a good mix of accurate information about psychopharmacology and the clinical wisdom needed for effective medication management. Useful case vignettes appear throughout, with helpful analysis built around complex, real-world questions. Readers will be especially satisfied with the extensive consideration of the interaction of physical and mental health issues. But the best parts of this book are its excellent discussion of the family's impact on decision making and treatment efficacy, and its practical logistical advice for improving referrals and sustaining interdisciplinary connections.--Kia J. Bentley, PhD, LCSW, Virginia Commonwealth University
The text has up-to-date information on medications and includes studies detailing the effectiveness of each medication. The book has an appendix containing detailed information on vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), including a helpful diagram of where the VNS electrodes and pacemaker generator are implanted in the body. There is a section in Chapter 9, 'Focusing the Lens,' which provides three examples of referral letters—the first to a family physician, the second to a psychiatrist, and the last to a psychiatric emergency screener. This section alone is worth purchasing the book. The therapist's guide to psychopharmacology is a must-have text for clinicians, and will help them provide the best standard of care to their patients and clients.
--Metapsychology Online Reviews, 12/25/2009ƒƒ
An exceptional reference guide for the therapist. The information provided is explained in a straightforward format and is easy to understand and use in one's work with families. In addition, this book would be a wonderful faculty reference or text for students in courses that focus on psychological disorders.
--Family Journal, 12/25/2009ƒƒ
The authors are careful to emphasize client concerns that often are overlooked, such as the importance of insurance considerations when determining appropriate physician referrals and medication choices....Provides a useful overview of many issues relevant for providing effective collaborative care.
--PsycCRITIQUES, 12/25/2009