Psychotherapy with Cardiac Patients: Behavioral Cardiology in Practice

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Heart disease is the leading cause of the death in the United States, and those who experience cardiac events suffer a wide range of psychological sequelae. Yet, few books show psychotherapy practitioners how they can modify their techniques to accommodate the unique needs of this population. The author, an experienced hospital-based psychologist, provides an orientation to this specialization and, drawing on a variety of therapy models, describes empirically-supported intervention strategies. After providing an overview of the cardiovascular system, she discusses lifestyle and psychological risk factors for heart disease. Subsequent chapters cover practical techniques for helping patients overcome depression, anxiety, and hostility, all facotrs that complicate recovery. A final group of chapters addresses factors that affect treatment effectiveness, such as substance abuse problems, overweight, and sex differences. Case illustrations are provided throughout.