K.M. Weiland's Reviews > The Writer's Guide to Psychology: How to Write Accurately about Psychological Disorders, Clinical Treatment and Human Behavior

The Writer's Guide to Psychology by Carolyn Kaufman
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Jan 21, 2011

it was amazing
Read from January 21 to February 20, 2011

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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Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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Patty Jansen this sounds interesting. I've put it on my to-read list

K.M. Weiland It's definitely worth the read, IMO, and even more worth having on your shelf as a resource material.

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

sounds very interesting indeed!

message 4: by Natalia (new) - added it

Natalia Sylvester So interesting, definitely adding to my to-read list! Thanks!

K.M. Weiland You'll enjoy it, I think!

message 6: by Ann (new)

Ann Thanks for the great recommendation. I'll add it to my resource shelf.

K.M. Weiland It's definitely a good one to keep within reach when writing.

message 8: by Lynnda (new)

Lynnda Ell Thanks, Katie. I'll order my copy today!

K.M. Weiland Enjoy, Lynnda!

message 10: by Jane (new) - added it

Jane Ooo useful. I found myself wondering in the shower this morning if my villain is a psychopath or not, and that led to the questions: are all murderers psychopaths? are all psychopaths potential murderers? Because it's the bane of a writer's life that we can't think of ordinary things while in the shower. So this book may be very helpful to me.

message 11: by K.M. (new) - rated it 5 stars

K.M. Weiland You'll definitely find your answers in this book!

Meaghan Not all murderers are psychopaths. Though I think probably all psychopaths are potential murderers.

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