Health Psychology Books 

Learn More About the Paradigm Shift

to Integrated Primary Care!


Integrated Primary Care is a new paradigm where a primary care physician works along side a primary care psychologist or other mental health professional. This is a model that is suddenly beginning to take hold in a large scale at a variety of sites across the country. There are two excellent recent books about this that you may wish to review, both of which are extremely important to the future of Health Psychology.

Integrated Primary Care: The Future of Medical and Mental Health Collaboration

Behavioral Health in Primary Care: A Guide for Clinical Integration

Also check out the following books in pertaining the role of psychology in Family Medicine:

Family-oriented Primary Care: A Manual for Medical Providers

Medical Family Therapy: A Biopsychosocial Approach to Families with Health Problems,

The Shared Experience of Illness: Stories of Patients, Families, and their Therapists


Handbook of Pain Assessment

Dennis C. Turk and Ronald Melzack, 1992

Guilford Press: New York.


We have found Turk and Melzack's Handbook of Pain Assessment to be absolutely indispensable in both our clinical practice and our research endeavors. This work is somewhat technical and research oriented, and contains a wealth of psychometric information. Consequently, it is likely to be of most interest to psychologists. Lay persons or non-psychologists may find this book a difficult read though. For practicing health psychologists though, and especially persons who deal with patients who count pain as one of their symptoms, we give this book our highest recommendation.


  Order the Handbook of Pain Assessment

Presurgical Psychological Screening in Chronic Pain Syndromes:

A Guide for the Behavioral Health Practitioner

Andrew R. Block, 1996

Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates


Dr. Block has written the first truly comprehensive book on the role of psychological evaluations prior to surgery. Dr. Block's review of research on how psychological factors impact surgical outcome is the best we have seen. He goes on to lay out a systematic plan for performing presurgical evaluations. Persons in medical management or surgeons, as well as psychologists, will find the first chapters interesting. The latter part of the book is more technical, and intended for the psychologists, but nevertheless, an excellent book.

Incidentally, we should state here that we find this book especially interesting as we feel that in some small way we contributed to it being commissioned. During the course of the BHI validation, we discussed presurgical evaluations at length with the NCS staff. NCS became convinced of the importance of this area, and later Ray Deveaux of NCS contracted with Dr. Block to write this work. We are gratified to see such a detailed and practical approach to this important topic.

One caveat we might suggest however, for practitioners using this work. Dr. Block does not really address the role of characterological variables in surgical outcome. Despite this one omission however, we find the quality of Dr. Block's book to be exceptional.


  Order Presurgical Psychological Screening

Childhood Abuse and Chronic Pain : A Curious Relationship?

Ranjan Roy, Michael R. Bond, 1998

Toronto: University of Toronto Press


  Order Childhood Abuse and Chronic Pain


Deceits of the Mind and Their Effects on the Body

Jane C. Goldberg, 1991

New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers


Dr. Goldberg's book is an attempt to set forth a comprehensive theory of disease, which incorporates both bodily and mental components. She begins the first chapter with a fascinating story of a man named Michael S, who in 1984 was convicted of what could be called a psychosomatic murder. In 1984, while robbing Pearl P, he in no way physically assaulted her. Nevertheless, Ms. P subsequently died of fright. The jury later convicted Mr. S of murder, with the murder weapon being words. Dr. Goldberg goes on to use this tragic but intriguing case as a spring board for launching into a discussion of the realtionship between mind and body. This book might be most helpful for clinicians involved in psychotherapy of patients with medical symptoms. However, it is also written in a manner that makes it accessible to the motivated lay person.


  Order Deceits of the Mind


Favorite Books for Patients


Lost Voices : Women, Chronic Pain, and Abuse

Nellie A. Radomsky, 1995


To the best of our knowledge, Dr. Radomsky was the first person to publish a book on this important topic. Dr. Radomsky is a practicing physician, who has also conducted and published research on her own chronic pain patients. In her preface, Dr. Radomsky reported her reasons for writing this book:

I wrote this book for all women who experience chronic pain and for all women who feel silenced. I wrote for women who sit patiently in doctors' offices hoping to be fixed. I wrote for women who feel confused when more blood tests, more X-rays, more procedures, and more knives put into their bodies fail to remove pain. . . . The project represented my struggle to understand why it was that women staying in a women's shelter inevitably had stories of chronic pain and many surgeries along with the stories of abuse--why it was that women with chronic pain often had complex and abusive past histories.

One of the most unique aspects of this work is its readability. While it references research and contains theoretical discussions, the book revolves largely around the stories of seven of Dr. Radomsky's patients. These sections of the books are Radomsky's recollections of her interactions with these patients, and read almost like a novel. This captures the compelling nature of these women's stories, and is a good balance for the more scientific portions of the book.

Because of the style in which it is written, Dr. Radomsky's book is an excellent one to give to patients. As practicing psychologists, we have found on many occasions that when we are evaluating chronic pain patients, these persons are at first offended when we ask about histories of abuse, and then often proceed to tell us sad and lengthy stories. Typically, there is little awareness of the connection between what they have experienced, and their own personal histories, and their own present medical symptomatology.

There are perhaps two shortcomings to Dr. Radomsky's book. One is that it does not touch at all on syndromes associated with men who have been abused. Another shortcoming might be that in the years since Dr. Radomsky wrote this book, there have been a number of important findings in the area of the long-term psychophysiological affects of abuse. Despite these minor shortcomings however, Dr. Radomsky's book remains an extremely valuable work. In particular, it is the best work we have ever seen for educating the female chronic pain patient with regard to the relationship between pain and abuse. Anyone who works with chronic pain patients should have this book.


  Order Lost Voices


Love and Survival:

The Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy

Dean Ornish, 1998

New York: HarperCollins


Dr. Ornish is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and is one of the founders of the Center for Integrative Medicine. Dr. Ornish gained famed as the physician/scientist who proved that heart disease could be reversed by changing life style. He now returns with another monumental work, which is a scientific and clinical exploration of the role of healthy relationships on our physical health. In easy to read layman's language, Dr. Ornish discusses a number of remarkable scientific studies. One such study was the role of social support was measured in persons undergoing open heart surgery. The results here found that persons having no social support were seven times more likely to die following surgery than those with the highest levels of support. These studies, as well as a wealth of individual patient reports provide the basis for an intriguing exploration into the role of intimacy and physical health. Dr. Ornish, himself, says, "I am not aware of any other factor in medicine-not diet, not smoking, not exercise, not stress, not genetics, not drugs, not surgery-that has a greater impact on our quality of life, incidence of illness, and premature death from all causes."


This is an important work, useful for both patients and professionals.

  Order Love and Survival


Timeless Healing: The Power and Biology of Belief

Herbert Benson, 1996

New York: Scribner


Over the span of Dr. Benson's career, he has made major contributions to the field of health psychology. He has been a professor at the Harvard Medical School for 30 years, and is also the president and founder of the Mind/Body Medical Institute. He has written numerous articles on the relationship between mind and body, and is the author of the well known book, The Relaxation Response.

Dr. Benson's most recent book, Timeless Healing, is a highly readable discussion of his own findings and theories. Dr. Benson's gift is the ability to take the difficult topic of interaction between beliefs and biology, and to discuss this clinically and scientifically in a manner simple enough for anyone to read. This is a book that offers a great deal to patients and professionals alike.

We would like to underscore here that although this book is quite readable and accessible to anyone, and although it tackles the mysterious topic of the mind/body connection, it does so in a manner that it has a very strong foundation in empirical science. At the same time, Dr. Benson's reliance on science does not prevent him from discussing the value of spirituality. Overall, this is an intriguing book with remarkable range, which succeeds in cutting across disciplines, and strives for integration of the outer scientific world of medicine with the inner subjective world of the patient.


  Order Timeless Healing (hardcover)

  Order Timeless Healing (paperback)

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