The Writer’s Guide to Psychology

The Writer's Guide to Psychology Book Cover The Writer's Guide to Psychology
Carolyn Kaufman, Psy.D.
Writer's' How-to, Psychology
Quill Driver Books

Myth busting facts in the field of psychology. How to write accurately about psychological disorders, clinical treatment and human behavior.

Writers struggle to “get it right.” We don’t want to make blatant errors like shells ejecting from a revolver (they can’t) or our character driving a 1968 Chevy Vega (they weren’t available until 1970).

The late Carolyn Kaufman, Psy.D. assists writers in getting it right the field of psychology. In her book, The Writer’s Guide to Psychology, she describes how to accurately depict mental disorders and their treatment. While busting several myths about psychology, Dr. Kaufman includes tidbits on books and movies that got it wrong.

In Chapter One, we find a quiz designed by Dr. Kaufman based on 15 statements. Here, she explains some fundamental beliefs and misconceptions about the field of psychology. She goes on in the following chapters to describe therapist orientations, which is the framework that guides a psychologist in his or her approach to therapy. Included are questions a therapist would use in each of the different orientations. She concludes this section with discussions on the therapist profession and on client sessions.

In the next group of chapters, the reader learns about the various disorders, their diagnosis and the medications used with a particular illness. Included are mood and psychotic disorders, childhood and eating disorders, PTSD and personality disorders. This section draws to a close discussing psychopaths and villains.

In the final three chapters, Carolyn concludes with:

  • Treatment,
  • Intervention,
  • and how to determine whether someone is suicidal or homicidal.

This book is for writers to get elements of psychology and treatments correct. It is not a thesis that will allow you to practice therapy. For what this book was designed to accomplish, it does so very well.

This book is highly informative and very easy to read as it is written for the lay people. This is one book that should be included on your writer’s bookshelf.

Carolyn’s blog is still up:

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