The Writer's Guide to Psychology: How to Write Accurately About Psychological Disorders, Clinical Treatment and Human Behavior

The Writer's Guide to Psychology: How to Write Accurately About Psychological Disorders, Clinical Treatment and Human Behavior

by Carolyn Kaufman


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An accurate and accessible survey of modern psychological theory and practice, this reference offers professional writers practical advice for incorporating psychological elements into their work. With easy-to-understand explanations and definitions, this book is an invaluable resource for any writer wishing to add realistic details to scenes that depict psychologists, mental illnesses and disorders, and psychotherapeutic treatments. Designed around the needs of professional fiction and nonfiction writers, this is an easy-to-use resource that includes historical and modern psychological treatments and terms and refutes popularly held misconceptions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781884995682
Publisher: Linden Publishing
Publication date: 12/01/2010
Pages: 234
Sales rank: 476,563
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Carolyn Kaufman, PsyD, is a professor at Columbus State Community College. She is a full member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the APA's Media Psychology division. She lives in Westerville, Ohio.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v

Foreword ix

Introduction xi

Chapter 1 Common Myths and Mistakes

A Look at Fictional Portrayals of Psychological Problems, Professionals, and Treatments 1

Chapter 2 Why People Do What They Do

Learning to Think Like a Shrink 17

Chapter 3 The Therapist's Profession

Degrees, Training, and Ethics 37

Chapter 4 Behind Closed Doors

How Real Therapy Sessions Work 47

Chapter 5 Disorders and Diagnosis

When Does a Problem Become a Disorder? 63

Chapter 6 The Disorders, Part I

Mood, Anxiety, and Psychotic Disorders 77

Chapter 7 The Disorders, Part II

Childhood Disorders, Dementia, and Eating Disorders 109

Chapter 8 The Disorders, Part III

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Dissociation 125

Chapter 9 The Disorders, Part IV

Personality Disorders 145

Chapter 10 Psychopaths and Villains

Crossing the Line 163

Chapter 11 Physical and Biological Interventions

Medications, Electroshock, and One Really Horrible Idea 175

Chapter 12 Emergencies in Psychotherapy

Suicidality, Homicidality, and Hospitalization 195

Conclusion 211

Glossary 212

Note About the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) 217

Bibliography 219

Index 224

What People are Saying About This

Roberta Isleib

Fiction writers can get all the help they need with [flat characters, phony fictional shrinks and false diagnoses] in Carolyn Kaufman's excellent reference. (Dr. Roberta Isleib author, Deadly Advice)

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The Writer's Guide to Psychology: How to Write Accurately About Psychological Disorders, Clinical Treatment and Human Behavior 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
KWeiland More than 1 year ago
Because authors tend to write about seriously flawed people, we often delve into the realm of psychology, intentionally or not. Stories in a wide array of genres feature psychologists, psychiatrists, psychopaths, schizophrenics, and any number of other characters that fall within the pale of modern psychology. Unfortunately, however, modern authors are too often guilty of taking their understanding of psychology at face value and running away with common misconceptions without a second thought. How many of us know the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist or the difference between psychopathy and psychosis? How many of us (and if you've watched A Beautiful Mind, you don't count!) know that schizophrenia does not involve multiple personalities? Amid this scene of confusion, Carolyn Kaufman's accessible The Writer's Guide to Psychology offers both a fascinating read and a wealth of resource material. This is the kind of book you'll want to read from cover to cover and then store within reach of your desk for quick reference. Kaufman tackles a complicated subject and breaks it down into easily digestible pieces. She discusses everything from common myths and mistakes, to "thinking like a shrink," to detailed descriptions of many prominent disorders, including mood disorders, dementia, eating disorders, and PTSD, among many others. The book is peppered with a delightful gamut of extra goodies, including Q&As and the always fun "Don't Let This Happen to You," in which Kaufman uses examples from popular film and fiction to illustrate how not to write about psychological subjects. The book came in particularly handy for me, since one of the stories I'm working on features a psychologist (now I don't have to worry about whether he should be called a psychiatrist instead!), but I have no doubt that it will be equally useful even in writing stories with no blatant connection to psychology. This one will be on my shelf for a long time to come.
kippras on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sometimes it seems everywhere you turn, the entertainment and book industry throws mentally disturbed characters at us. Dennis Lahane¿s ¿Shutter Island,¿ both the book and the movie, are good examples of this: the federal agent visits a mental institution in the 1950¿s to assist in the search for an escaped patient. Great story¿the book AND the movie were definitely done right, entertainment-wise. But what about factually? As a writer, I want to ensure that my works are as accurate as possible. Accuracy lends itself to realism which lends itself to a reader¿s suspension of disbelief which lends itself to the beginnings of a great novel.Written by a practicing psychotherapist and writer, Carolyn Kaufman, Psy.D, ¿The Writer¿s Guide to Psychology: How to Write Accurately about Psychological Disorders, Clinical Treatment and Human Behavior¿ is a gift to writers everywhere who need a jumping off point to ensure they are on the right path when it comes to accuracy in the area of psychology.In the first chapter, Dr. Kaufman points out the need for consistency in research by fiction writers by talking about various public perceptions regarding psychological disorders as well as the psychology profession itself. In each chapter, she takes topical examples from popular TV shows, movies and books, showing us the inaccuracies with the characters and how they are portrayed, showing us where the writers went wrong and how that information has been disseminated into popular culture.With chapters on fictional representations of psychological issues, how to think like a shrink, the ethics of a therapy and how therapy actually works, this book gives you a strong working background to incorporate into your story. The latter half of the book lists most of the well-known disorders, a chapter focusing on psychopathic behaviors in villains, a chapter on well-known interventions ranging from medication to electroconvulsive therapy to lobotomies as well as how to handle suicidal behavior and psychiatric hospitalizations.¿The Writer¿s Guide to Psychology¿ is a great roadmap for writers, authors and anyone who wants to start factually based research in the field of psychology.
meggyweg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think this is a really good, if brief, education about mental illness, personality disorders, therapy and psychiatry for the writer's eyes. The references to the screw-ups in real books and movies were an excellent feature. I would recommend this to any writer who felt they needed to know more about this topic. However, I did think it was repetitive at times, and it also focused only on what COMPETENT therapists would do. I've encountered incompetent clinicians in my time who did exactly the opposite of what the book said they would do.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago