Doctoral Program Director publishes new book

University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work Doctoral Program Director publishes new book

The text aims to provide a biopsychosocial treatment guide to those suffering from serious mental illness

PITTSBURGH-In the wake of several mass shooting sprees, the dire state of America’s mental health system has come to the forefront. In her new book, Interventions for Severe Mental Disorders: Working with Individuals and their Families, University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work Doctoral Program Director Dr. Christina Newhill strives to prepare the beginning social work practitioner to work with some of the most challenging clients seen at public community mental/behavioral health care services.

This title includes how to develop and maintain a therapeutic alliance with individuals with serious mental illness; how to manage and overcome the impact of stigma; how to manage a client’s lack of insight and facilitate illness awareness; and how to work with and engage involuntary and resistant clients. Readers also will learn how to overcome potential barriers to effective treatment engagement with individuals suffering from severe mental illness (SMI), and how to engage, support and work with families of individuals with SMI. Mental illnesses addressed include schizophrenia, major depressive disorders, bipolar disorder, paranoid disorders and conditions, severe personality disorders and individuals with both mental illness and substance use problems.

 “This book is based on an advanced clinical practice class focusing on the care and treatment of individuals with serious mental illness and their families which I originally developed in 1991 and have taught ever since,” says Newhill. “Social workers are the primary providers of services to individuals with serious and persistent mental illness, yet there had been no up-to-date textbook written from the social work perspective by a social worker appropriate for such a course. So, I decided to write such a textbook myself and the process of developing and writing this book has enabled me to combine my teaching, research and practice experience into one product that I hope will serve as an effective tool for preparing the next generation of clinical social workers and enhance their commitment to serving those clients in our mental/behavioral health system who are the most vulnerable and in need of the best services we can provide.”


About the Author

Christina E. Newhill, Ph.D., LCSW is currently a Professor of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh, with a secondary appointment in the Clinical and Translational Science Institute. She holds a B.A. in sociology from the State University of New York at Binghamton, a Master in Social Work from Syracuse University and a doctorate in social welfare from the University of California at Berkeley. She is the principal investigator on several research studies focusing on violent behavior and risk assessment and is currently examining the relationship of borderline personality disorder, emotion-regulation problems, and violent behavior. She is also co-investigator on an NIMH-funded five-year project addressing brain imaging, cognitive enhancement and early treatment of schizophrenia.

Dr. Newhill has more than 10 years of community mental health practice experience, primarily in psychiatric emergency and inpatient settings. She has conducted training workshops on client violence and social worker safety at the local, state, and national levels for many years and authored “Client Violence in Social Work Practice: Prevention, Intervention and Research”, published in 2003 by Guilford Press and recently translated into Chinese and Korean.

Interventions for Serious Mental Disorders: Working with Individuals and Their Families (Advancing Core Competencies) is available at and other online retailers.

Media Contact:  Shannon Murphy 412-648-9404 or