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Joseph Wolpe

Joseph Wolpe

  • Roger Poppen - Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois

December 1996 | 240 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
This new volume in the Key Figures in Counselling and Psychotherapy series explores the life and work of Joseph Wolpe, an integral figure in the foundation of behavior therapy. This volume traces Wolpe's influence on the behavioral school and discusses the ongoing theoretical and practical contributions to the field. Author Roger Poppen, who witnessed some of Wolpe's influence firsthand as a doctoral student, assesses the criticism that Wolpe's work has attracted from both outside and within the behavior therapy profession and provides an evaluation of whether, and to what extent, they are justified. Providing a broad overview of Joseph Wolpe's life and his place both in psychotherapy in general and behavior therapy in particular, this clear and eminently readable book will be invaluable to practitioners, trainers, and students in counseling, psychotherapy, clinical psychology, and social work.

The Life of Joseph Wolpe
Major Contributions to Theory
Major Contributions to Practice
Criticisms and Rebuttals
The Overall Influence of Joseph Wolpe
A Select Bibliography of Wolpe's Works

`I particularly enjoyed Roger Poppen's approaches to the behavioural psychotherapy disciplines and the life of one of its major contributors. Moving smoothly from broad topics towards more complicated matters, the author accomplishes a great amount of information in a succinct and well-written style, making the book easy to habituate to and free of anxiety-provoking stimuli. I would encourage anyone interested in behavioural sciences or actively involved in clinical or research activities to consider diving into this volume. Not only is the work focused on the most noteworthy aspects of behaviourism, but it is also spirited. Finally, I consider the list of quotations and references provided at the end of the book as valuable and up-to-date' - International Review of Psychiatry

`Presents an accurate and sympathetic picture of an intriguing personality and outstanding scientist... [ Joseph Wolpe] is a doughty fighter in the cause... to make abnormal psychology and psychiatry more scientific and more useful. The presentation of his life, his struggles, his creativity, his successes and his failures is an absorbing account... I think all behaviour therapists, indeed all psychologists and psychiatrists interested in the development of their "science", should read this well-written and intensely interesting account of one man's courageous voyage into the unknown' - Hans Eysenck, Behaviour Research and Therapy

`Provides a good picture of Wolpe's research as it developed in the context of others doing similar work... Poppen's book is a good encyclopedia of Wolpe's work, providing detail about his emergent theory, techniques and institutional affiliations. He delineates well some of the fundamental tenets of behavior therapy that Wolpe contributed: reciprocal inhibition, systematic desensitization, hierarchy construction, anxiety as learned response... Poppen's diligent exposition of the breadth and depth of Wolpe's work is admirable... This book is a helpful and informative introduction to Wolpe's work' - Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences

`Graduate students will appreciate the thorough, referenced and readable background of cognitive-behavior therapy. Practitioners may welcome the broad review of techniques. And psychologists who were in graduate school when Wolpe was emerging in the 1950s and 1960s... might enjoy a regression to recall interesting, even exhilarating times' - Contemporary Psychology