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Understanding and Treating Violent Psychiatric Patients

Edited by Martha L. Crowner, M.D.

  • ISBN 978-0-88048-752-8
  • Item #8752

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One of the major challenges for mental health professionals today is to successfully treat violent patients. The mental health professional is obligated to go beyond containment and control to provide understanding, complete assessment and accurate diagnosis, and humane and effective treatment.

Understanding and Treating Violent Psychiatric Patients is a one-of-a-kind, comprehensive guide to assessment, management, understanding, and treatment of violent patients. The first section encompasses practical guides to treatment for both children and adults. It discusses commonly encountered problems in the treatment of violent adult inpatients and includes a brief guide to pharmacological treatments. A chapter is devoted to the treatment of abnormal aggression in children and adolescents. The second section delves into a more conceptual and broadly focused approach to understanding violent patients. It covers the relationship between dissociation and violence, as well as the relationship between psychiatric disorders and violence, and addresses impulse control and the treatment of impulsive patients.

Heavily researched and clinically focused, this new title is a must read for psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric social workers, psychiatric nurses, or any mental health professional needing a better approach to understanding and treating violent patients.


  • Contributors
  • Introduction to the Progress in Psychiatry Series
  • Introduction
  • Section I: Treatment Strategies for Violent Patients
  • Chapter 1. A brief guide to the assessment and pharmacological treatment of violent adult psychiatric inpatients
  • Chapter 2. Assessment and treatment of abnormal aggression in children and adolescents
  • Chapter 3. Managing acutely violent inpatients
  • Chapter 4. Behavior therapy for aggressive psychiatric patients
  • Chapter 5. A social-learning approach to reducing aggressive behavior among chronically hospitalized psychiatric patients
  • Section II: Approaches to Understanding Violent Patients
  • Chapter 6. Videotape recording of assaults on a secure unit of a large state psychiatric hospital
  • Chapter 7. Violence and dissociation
  • Chapter 8. Impulse control: integrative aspects
  • Chapter 9. Violence and mental disorders: recent research
  • Index

About the Authors

Martha L. Crowner, M.D., is Supervising Psychiatrist in the Secure Care Unit at Manhattan Psychiatric Center Ward's Island, New York, and Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine in New York, New York.

This book is a thorough yet readable summary of how to understand and respond to one of the most difficult problems encountered in clinical psychiatry. The approaches to the understanding of clinical aspects of violence as well as its biological underpinnings presented are quite broad and comprehensive. While carefully reviewing a wealth of biological and clinical research, Dr. Martha Crowner and her co-authors maintain a focus on recommendations with practical clinical utility. Included are descriptions of a variety of innovative programs that have been developed to handle the most severely and persistently violent patients. These are presented concisely yet with enough detail to allow possible implementation by the reader. While the primary focus is on violence in severely ill inpatients, violence in other types of patients is also addressed, and the common features of violence across a range of settings become apparent. This is a key clinical reference for any psychiatrist who encounters violent patients anywhere.—James C.-Y. Chou, M.D., Research Psychiatrist, Nathan Kline Institute, Orangeburg, New York

A most useful guide to practitioners in daily clinical contact with highly distressed and disturbed patients.—American Journal of Psychiatry

Dr Crowner's book provides practical, up-to-date advice on the psychopharmacological and behavioral management of violent patients. This book is going to be of great help to all practitioners who take care of these patients, who are notoriously difficult to manage. But the book does not stop there; it also reviews the latest thinking about the origins of violent behavior. Thus, Dr. Crowner successfully integrates practical and theoretical aspects of violent behavior in psychiatric patients.—Jan Volavka, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry, New York University, Nathan Kline Institute, Orangeburg, New York; Author, Neurobiology of Violence, Second Edition

I recommend this book to psychiatric and nonpsychiatric clinicians for its intended purpose—to provide the reader with some of the latest clinical thinking and research on the care and management of the violent psychiatric patient.—Robert I. Simon, M.D., Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, D.C.

In summary, this book provides a good introduction to the topic of violence among psychiatric patients. Its strongest chapters point to the valuable contribution that skills-based psychological approaches can make in the treatment and management of these patients.—Contemporary Psychology

This book will be quite helpful for those engaged in the inpatient treatment of violent patients, especially long-term inpatients.—American Journal of Psychotherapy

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