Book review for Jon Frew and Michael D. Spiegler Contemporary psychotherapies for a diverse world (first revised edition)

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Elizabeth Day, The Australian College of Applied Psychology


In this hefty textbook, running to over 600 pages after its first revision, Frew and Spiegler have managed to produce an excellent resource for students and practitioners curious about contemporary psychotherapy and counselling as they are practised in the USA.  Aimed at graduate students in North America, the text comprises elucidations of the histories, theories and practices of 11 new and renewed approaches within contemporary psychotherapy.

The approaches are listed according to the chronology of their historical development, respectively: psychoanalytic therapy, Adlerian therapy, existential therapy, person-centered therapy, gestalt therapy, behaviourism (which gets two chapters: ‘Traditional Behaviour Therapy’ and ‘Cognitive-behavioural Therapy’), reality therapy, feminist therapy, family therapy, and narrative therapy. 

This approach to organising the material provides a clear sense of the evolutions and revolutions in therapy in North America across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.  But it is not without contention.