Did You Know...
...that serial killers are almost never psychotic?
Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality and usually includes hallucinations and delusions. Once in a while a serial killer does have a psychotic disorder, but that’s rare for a couple of reasons. First, psychotic behavior draws attention to itself, making it difficult for people to disguise what they’re doing. Second, to get away with multiple dangerous crimes, planning and forethought is necessary. The deterioration of organized thought and behavior associated with psychosis makes successful planning nearly impossible.
By contrast, serial killers are diagnosable with Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD), which is an ongoing carelessness for and violation of others’ rights. People with severe APD—like serial killers!—may also be called psychopathic. Psychopaths don’t experience normal guilt when they break rules or hurt people, so they lie, cheat, con, steal, and behave aggressively without qualms. In some cases, they're also extremely charming.
For more information on what makes people become psychopaths and how their brains are different from other people's, buy The Writer's Guide to Psychology now!
...that modern electroconvulsive therapy (“shock therapy”) causes neither convulsions nor pain?
When most people think of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), they imagine someone strapped to a table while painful electrical currents are directed through his body, causing him to jitter and shake.
Electroconvulsive therapy works by triggering a seizure, but early instances of the treatment were “unmodified,” which means the person wasn’t given any medication to control the associated convulsions. Because in some cases the convulsions were so extreme that patients fractured or broke bones, treatment teams began to use muscle relaxants during the 1950s. Since it’s scary for most people not to be able to move, they also administer a general anesthetic. Brain activity caused by the seizures is monitored on a screen.
Need to portray ECT in your story? Get detailed information on which medications are used, where the electrodes are placed, and what kinds of side effects the person is likely to experience in The Writer's Guide to Psychology!
...that many therapists believe the examination of one's childhood is unimportant or even irrelevant to therapy?
Only one branch of psychotherapeutic theory emphasizes how our childhoods affect us—the rest don’t. Most modern practitioners assume that what’s happened since childhood is at least as important, if not more important, than what happened to us as children.
Some therapists actually believe that discussion of the past is an attempt to escape responsibility for current life problems. Others believe that the social and cultural environments we live in are what cause problems.
Learn about the different approaches to therapy, including which questions the therapist will ask and specific names for the treatments she'll use in The Writer's Guide to Psychology!
These are just a few of the myth-busting facts you'll find in The Writer's Guide to Psychology.
Written by a psychologist and college professor, this authoritative and accessible exploration of modern psychological theory and practice offers writers practical advice for incorporating psychological elements into their work and refutes popularly held misconceptions.
In addition to detailed information on how therapy works from the therapist's perspective, tricks on getting tough clients to talk, ethical conundrums, and why your character might need a psychologist and a psychiatrist, The Writer's Guide to Psychology includes chapters that delve into disorders, what makes the wickedest villains' brains different from everyone else's, how some medications can make people commit suicide, and what mental hospitals are really like.
Sidebars are packed with even more information—Q&As from real writers, information on controversial treatments and issues, character-building tips, and examples from novels and film. You'll also love the Don't Let This Happen to You! boxes, which detail mistakes in popular fiction...and teach you how to get it right.
Don't Let This Happen to You!
On a season eight episode of Smallville, a show that chronicles Clark Kent’s life before he became Superman, EMT Davis Bloome is unable to control his dark side, Doomsday. Desperate to stop turning into a monster, Davis steals packages of “antipsychotics used for multiple personalities.”
In reality, multiple personality disorder (aka dissociative identity disorder or DID) is not a psychotic disorder. Therefore, there is no such thing as an antipsychotic (or any other medication) that suppresses personality changes in DID. Sorry, Davis!
If there's psychology in your story, buy The Writer's Guide to Psychology today and be sure you're getting your psych right!