Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Handbook of Complementary and Alternative Therapies in Mental Health

I've been so busy preparing my book proposal that I haven't had any time to write this blog. While researching the market for my book I came across the following text book that I think readers ought to know about. I checked the Index rather quickly and I notice that even F.M. Alexander, originator of The Alexander Technique, is listed.

Handbook of Complementary and Alternative Therapies in Mental Health, edited by Scott Shannon, MD. Dr. Shannon is a former head of the American Holistic Medical Association, another excellent resource to keep in mind.

Editorial Reviews

"Handbook of Complementary and Alternative Therapies in Mental Health represents a comprehensive overview of reapidly expanding field that includes chapters by 24 leading psychiatric/psychological experts in these fields... There are few previous books of this nature or scope for professional audience... This is an excellent compendium of integrative and holistic therapies, not just for mental health... This groundbreaking text should become a standard reference for any mental health care professional. It is well written, and a pleasurable read."


"Shannon imposes a detailed format that includes an in-depth overview of the field, safety considerations, extent of published research on each approach, and validation of effects... Shannon makes a persuasive argument that Eastern and Western medicine can easily complement one another and reinforce each other's strengths in healing many forms of mental illnesses. Highly recommended for graduate students, researchers and clinicians in both mental health and medicine."


"Mental health professionals would be well advised to look into the topics covered in this book, both to broadentheir professional horizons, and, to get some idea of what their clients are likely to be up to."


"This is a very useful book, organizing a large amount of information in a relevant, easy-to-use format. It provides a clear, up-to-date description of the interface between current medical practice and the therapies it covers, particularly contraindications and potential interactions. It is an important beginning of the dissemination to mental health professionals of information about alternative therapies many clients are already using."

-divine, inc.

"This volume is a significant contribution to the emerging field of complementary and alternative medicine. Dr. Shannon's survey of the scientific evidence underlying complementary and alternative approaches to mental healthcare is dazzling, and will add to the growing respectability and acceptance of these approaches. Shannon shows compellingly that pharmacological treatments for mental disorders, which currently dominate psychotherapy, are but one possible approach. This book will become a classic in its field."

-Larry Dossey, MD

Author: Reinventing Medicine and Healing Words

"Dr. Scott Shannon has compiled a thorough guide to alternative therapies in the mental health field; one that will be most useful for both patients and health professionals. There is so much more out there than conventional approaches. This book tells you what is available and how to make use of it."

-Andrew Weil, M.D., Author of 8 Weeks to Optimum Health and Director of the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona in Tucson

"Self-care is the the foundation of 21st century medicine, and with this book Scott Shannon has powerfully provided the reader with access to a multitude of options for improving their mental health. While filling a critical void in medical reference texts, this book also allows the public a comprehensive and in-depth look at the mental health therapies of holistic medicine -- America's newest specialty."

-ROBERT S. IVKER, D.O., President-elect of the American Board of Holistic Medicine and author of the bestselling SINUS SURVIVAL

"Well researched and well written, this compilation enhances our understanding of CAM approaches and enlarges our perspective as mental health professionals."


Author, Manifesto for a New Medicine: Your Guide to Healing Partnerships and the Wise Use of Alternative Medicine; Founder and Director, Center for Mind-Body Washington, DC


  1. Hi Rossa

    I just went to Amazon to try to get that book. Only a Kindle edition is available (obviously I can't complain about that!) but it costs £63...ouch. I might try to order it from the library. Or look elsewhere online, thinking about it.

    A friend of mine came over with her kids today. She is an occupational nurse, has done a fair amount of counselling work (her last job was with the police force). She has been reading my book and we had a chat (between feeding and watering the troops). She mentioned something called 'Human Givens' which she said she did a seminar on through work and has been meaning to research further. I just did a quick Google search on it and thought it might be another useful thread for your book research. Apologies if you have heard of it probably have. I have not yet read all the back posts to your blog, so I don't know. All the best, Louise

  2. Yes, the price is a textbook price. The book is targeted to physicians. I don't think that any researcher will ever be able to subject complementary and alternative medicine to double blind tests, etc. The beauty of this, is that it should stay outside of conventional medicine. Complementary, alternative and holistic medicine really "do no harm." There are cautions, of course, with certain homeopathic remedies, like St. John's wort, but for the vast number of mind/body therapies, it is up to the individual to decide how far they want to go with it. I will look up the book your friend recommended. Strange title.

  3. Re: Human Givens

    Sorry, Rossa, I should have explained further. Human Givens is an approach to the understanding and treatment of mental illness. 'Givens' refers to basic human needs.

    This link to a page on the Human Givens Institute website should help:

    I also wrote a short blog post this evening on the subject with a link to an article on Human Givens and schizophrenia.

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the Human Givens approach. I have been reading about it on the net for the last few hours (also watched a short video) and have found it fascinating.

    Louise x

  4. people directing care can harm...doesn't matter what one calls themselves (traditional or alternative). I've had coercive treatment by more alt docs then I care to spell out...

    I just don't go to care providers of any sort anymore unless they truly and deeply get that at most I'm consulting them...I take no more direction. I almost died under the care of an alt medicine more than once...I wish I was exaggerating. And then the number of times people got bent out of shape because I chose to listen to my body and tweak their directions...well...I can't possibly count that.

    I do have some wonderful people in alt fields that I've come to know as well...but I never tell people to assume it's safe because it's alt. It's simply not. The withdrawal boards are littered with stories of people being harmed by such care.

    Sorry...I do think alt care is potentially a much better choice and certainly most of my self-care comes under such a heading...but it took many many years of trial and error and many times of bumping up against stuff that hurt and harmed both to find what is supporting me now.

  5. Hi, Gianna,
    I guess I am now contradicting myself when I agree with you that even an alternative approach can harm, but to me, a lot of the perceived harm in CAM can be in the personality of the practitioner. Some can be just as dogmatic as the mainstream, especially in the area of psychotherapies, but not limited to this area. The reason I posted the book is because it's the only textbook I've seen that takes CAM seriously and explains what might be available for people. I had to stumble around on my own, with no guidance, finding therapies on the Internet that I thought might work for Chris. This book seems to cover most of the approaches, without being too specific, but at least cluing people in that there is something available. Then, it's up to the person to take what they want from it and move on. Everybody has to decide for themselves about what works for them and be selfish about it. When it comes to vitamins and minerals, though, the body count cannot be compared with the body count from pharmaceuticals. Homeopathy needs professional advice, but the situation is always trickier with withdrawal from drugs. However, isn't it the drugs in the first place that cause the problem with the withdrawal? Generally, most non-pharmaceutical remedies are safe. That's why there has been such an big increase in the number of people turning to CAM in the first place. Anyway, thanks for pointing out that nothing is 100% harmless, and that it is, indeed, trial and error.

  6. the book looks helpful and important :-)

    we're in agreement there. I simply get concerned that people will feel safe with a care provider just because they don't use pharma...

    it's not a safe assumption to must always remain engaged with their care and unfortunately the only way to get truly good care is to learn as much as one can about exactly what is being done to their body...

    that, tragically, is not always possible.

    I guess the bottom line is life is full of risk. always.

    I have two very wonderful mainstream doctors...who've respected me all along as well...people are people...that's the big lesson I've come away with in all of this.

    have a great vacation!!


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