Treating Somatization

A Cognitive-Behavioral Approach

Robert L. Woolfolk and Lesley A. Allen

October 13, 2006
ISBN 9781593853501
Price: $45.00
226 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"

“A well-crafted, practical guide for psychotherapists of patients with somatization disorders. Woolfolk and Allen provide the reader with a manageable literature review on aspects and correlates of somatization. The scope of the book, from historical presentations of symptoms to present day epidemiology of DSM-IV-TR and ICD-10 diagnoses, offers hands-on and academic training to the reader....It contains 37 pages of appendices detailing homework assignments, worksheets, self-report measures, and a 10-session manual for delivering affective cognitive behavioral therapy (ACBT)....A useful guide to help psychotherapists navigate the challenges and potential obstacles inherent in the treatment of somatization disorders. The ACBT techniques and the clinical accounts of patients with somatization disorders detailed by the authors offer the behavioral health provider empirically supported methods of helping patients with somatization disorders lower impairment and increase quality of life.”


“The success of Treating Somatization is in elucidating the complexities of the emotional and cognitive experience of people with somatization disorders. It also provides hope that the techniques of a treatment model that is growing more and more familiar can help not only the patients but also the often-frustrated clinicians faced with the challenge of helping people with an unexplained disorder.”

Psychiatric Services

“A major contribution...lucid, comprehensive, and eminently practical....Draws on a wide-ranging combination of conceptual theory, empirical findings, and clinical experience....Taking a biopsychosocial approach, the authors present a wide-ranging review of the relevant influences of stress, emotion, and social learning on the process of somatization. Even clinicians familiar with each of these areas will find their review concise, informative, and enlightening....Woolfolk and Allen's primary contribution consists of their systematic, carefully crafted, and eclectic treatment program....Both a scholarly and a pragmatic book. Its insights will reinforce and sharpen the technique of skilled clinicians, whereas the range of its scholarship will help direct the preparation of students.”


“In this important volume, two leading scientist-practitioners offer a lucid account of the clinical features and etiology of somatization, and also provide a detailed, step-by-step guide to their new, empirically supported treatment. This scholarly yet highly practical book sets a new standard in the treatment of somatization. It is essential reading for all clinicians and clinical trainees who treat patients with somatization problems, whether in the form of somatization disorder or as a feature of other clinical conditions.”

—Steven Taylor, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, Canada

“Somatization, somatoform disorders, medically unexplained and functional somatic symptoms; whatever we call them, they are among the largest and most neglected problems in medicine. Yet there are very few practical guides to assist practitioners. This lucid and scholarly text not only offers a valuable overview of the topic, but also provides detailed guidance on a management approach of proven efficacy. This book will be helpful to students and experienced practitioners alike.”

—Michael Sharpe, MD, University of Edinburgh, UK

“Woolfolk and Allen have written a unique and detailed book that is clearly rooted in theory and empirical findings. Conceptual, assessment, and treatment issues are outlined within a concise and coherent framework that lends itself to practical application. Complete with a 10-session treatment manual, this book is a 'must' for clinicians, interns, residents, and clinical graduate students who are treating people suffering from physical symptoms without identifiable physical cause.”

—Gordon J. G. Asmundson, PhD, University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

“Woolfolk and Allen bring optimism and rigor to the treatment of a misunderstood group of patients who have mistakenly been regarded as untreatable by many physicians and therapists. Starting with a remarkably clear foundation built on theory and a comprehensive review of the literature, the authors provide a straightforward, step-by-step blueprint for their therapeutic approach. The book is exemplary in its eclectic yet critical integration of diverse perspectives and its jargon-free style. This is a book with equal appeal and value for both experts and beginners. Experienced clinicians will find Woolfolk and Allen's work refreshing, inspiring, and informative. At the same time, the book's clinical utility, accessibility, and clarity also make it an excellent choice for beginning therapists, including graduate students in psychology and social work and psychiatric residents.”

—James L. Levenson, MD, Virginia Commonwealth University

“I like this book enormously. The therapeutic approach is comprehensive, innovative, and clearly derived from vast clinical experience. The treatment itself is presented in a vivid and accessible way that enables the reader to learn and apply it in his or her own clinical practice. This work represents a major advance in our ability to treat patients suffering from this prevalent and difficult problem.”

—Arthur J. Barsky, MD, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

“This is the book healthcare professionals have been waiting for! The authors' integrative conceptual model addresses emotional aspects, such as alexithymia, demoralization, and social role theory, while also incorporating classical cognitive and behavioral ideas. They increase our understanding of patients with medically unexplained symptoms in a manner that is comprehensive, profound, and a pleasure to read. However, the core strength of this book is the treatment manual. The authors' deep knowledge of basic processes, together with an unbelievable amount of clinical experience, underpin their helpful descriptions of how to proceed when treating these patients. The breakthrough approach in this book will help healthcare professionals provide effective support for a major patient population, while reducing treatment costs substantially.”

—Winfried Rief, PhD, Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, University of Marburg, Germany