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Writer's Guide to Psychology: How to Write Accurately About Psychological Disorders, Clinical Treatment and Human Behavior Paperback – 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

""A fascinating overview of the major [psychological] disorders. . . . There are literally dozens of ideas for great stories in this guide. This is definitely a book to hold on to for future reference."" --www.AKindleInHongKong.blogspot.com

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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 234 pages
  • Publisher: Linden Publishing (2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1884995683
  • ISBN-13: 978-1884995682
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic resource. Ms. Kaufman takes complex diagnoses and makes them attainable to the everyday person. My usual complaint about books like this is that they are all full of jargon that is not part of my vocabulary. That's not the case with this book. Terms in The Writer's Guide To Psychology are clearly defined and laid out.

There are some features in this book that I found particularly helpful. The "Don't Let This Happen To You" boxes give examples of how psychological conditions have been misrepresented in film and print. There are also boxed sections in which the author goes into greater detail on things commonly found in film and books. For example, in one section, she outlines the Intake Process and gives a step-by-step description of what a therapist might ask on an initial interview.

This is a thoughtful, well-executed resource for writers.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you've ever taken a class covering the basics of psychology, you probably won't need this book. While it provides a solid foundation and some interesting pop-culture examples, reading it felt like a review of every psych class I've ever taken.

One thing I really hoped for in this book, which it does not contain, is a discussion of sociopaths. The book briefly mentions that psychopaths, sociopaths, and people with APD are NOT the same, and while it goes into some detail regarding APD and greater detail involving psychopaths, sociopaths are never discussed at length. I was greatly disappointed by this. However, I give this book 3 stars, as it provides a very solid foundation for someone with no background in psychology.
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Format: Paperback
The Writer's Guide to Psychology explains psychology and the clinical practice of psychology in clear, easy to understand chapters. While it's intended for writers, I think anyone wondering about the basics will find this book helpful. It gives examples of how the subject is treated in film and fiction, and shows how it was done right - or wrong. Highly recommended!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a wonderfully useful book that explains the essence of psychological disorders and treatment concisely and clearly. It's like having a practicing psychologist on hand to explain these topics -- and to warn you when your story contains blatant errors.

No prior knowledge of psychology is needed: this book will quickly get you up to speed on a wide range of therapy, disorders, and diagnosis. After reading this guide, you will be able to incorporate these elements into your fiction with confidence. The material is presented in a light, easy-to-digest format, without once getting bogged down in minutiae or unusable technical information. Every word is valuable.

I particularly liked the "Don't Let This Happen To You!" sections peppered throughout the book. They point out psychological blunders in popular fiction, many of which are cliches with well-worn paths to lead the unwary writer into a pitfall.

If you want to create convincing characters with the full range of human behavior, buy this book.
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Format: Paperback
Have you ever wondered if the descriptions you are using for characters or people in your novel, screenplay or column are accurate? Author Carolyn Kaufman, Psy.D., shows us in a clear, concise guide how to know for sure. Kaufman uses her years of experience in psychology and writing to bring us the most current information on this fascinating area of life.

Today, most of us learn about psychology on TV shows, movies or plays. We have more information available today than ever before. However, did you know that the writers of those TV shows, movies or plays may have not researched the actual psychological traits they are using in their characters?

There is a lot of miss information circulating today. Why not find out for sure and make your characters come alive and be accurate as well?

Kaufman's book is an easy to access, up to date manual on psychological disorders, medications, personality issues, as well as degrees in the field of psychology today. If you are writing about people, you will find great help in this book.

I enjoyed how Kaufman takes psychological disorders, explains them, and then writes from a writer's perspective helping you get your characters right. This is not a boring treatise on Psychology. It is a writer's how-to manual written by a professional in Psychology who also happens to be a terrific writer herself.

She opens her book with common myths and mistakes. Then covers why people do what they do as she teaches you to think like a shrink. She touches on the degrees, training and ethics of the professional therapist. Then she includes a look behind the closed doors of a real therapy session.

Next you will learn about when a problem become a disorder.
Read more ›
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