In The Psychotherapy of Personality Disorders, Lisa J. Cohen introduces Emergent Systems Theory, an integrative model of the many different types of psychotherapy, with an emphasis on personality pathology. This model proposes five general levels of the mind/brain, each of which dates back to a different point in human evolutionary history and has its own distinct psychological functions and psychopathology. This book argues that formulating patients’ psychological difficulties in terms of the levels involved permits systematic selection of the most appropriate treatments and can also enhance communication across the mental health field.
Lisa J. Cohen is clinical professor of psychiatry at the Carl Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai/Mount Sinai Beth Israel.
Chapter 1: Emergent Systems Theory
Chapter 2: Beginnings
Chapter 3: Interpersonal Representations
Chapter 4: Describing Personality Pathology
Chapter 5: Differential Diagnosis
Chapter 6: The Different Parts of the Elephant
Chapter 7: The Bottom of the Elephant
Chapter 8: The Accountant and the Artist
Chapter 9: The Socio-Cultural Level
This volume introduces Emergent System Theory, an innovative and timely meta-integration of the complex field of psychotherapy. Focusing on personality disorders and drawing on her expertise as a master teacher and clinician, Lisa J. Cohen synthesizes vast neurocognitive, developmental, psychotherapeutic, and family systems literatures – all through an evolutionary lens - in a way that will aid clinicians at any level of experience in considerably deepening their understanding of personality pathology and why different psychotherapies work the way they do. Psychotherapists from all orientations will appreciate her comprehensive conceptual model, which also provides a much-needed foundation for us to talk to each other about how best to help our patients.
Lisa J. Cohen has written a fascinating book that articulates an emergent systems theory for understanding and treating personality psychopathology, based upon establishing a link between integrative and neuro-evolutionary perspectives. Cohen covers a lot of ground but does so in language that is consistently clear and insightful and that stays relevant to clinical work. The Psychotherapy of Personality Disorders is especially useful as a guide for the perplexed—for graduate students and early career professionals who wish to expand the breadth of their education as well as for seasoned professionals who are receptive to updating their knowledge and applying it in new directions.
The Psychotherapy of Personality Disorders provides an integrative model of personality disorders and their treatment. The strengths of this volume include its integrative approach covering different fields, its coverage of a broad range of psychotherapies, and the useful case descriptions. Graduate students studying the areas of personality and psychotherapy would learn a great deal from this volume.