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  1. Welsh_Biatch
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    Welsh_Biatch New Member

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    Psychology Question

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Welsh_Biatch, Nov 3, 2009.

    I know this may sound like a strange question but I'm going to ask anyway =) my second main protagonist has ongoing psychological problems, I haven’t yet revealed what exactly he’s been suffering from, so I want to have a section where he is having a discussion with his therapist which gives the reader a minor insight into his problem; when he was a teenager he was racially abused, tormented and gang raped, I understand his condition is very deep but I want to make it as believable as possible. Basically my question is how would a patient and therapist’s conversation sound based on this scenario? I hope this makes sense
    Thanks =)
     
  2. Grissom Barnes
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    Grissom Barnes Member

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    I can kind of offer insight with this, but I'd have to know which psychological disorder you're planning on here. The four main types would be Sadist, Narcissist, Schizoid, and Schizophrenic... Or, were you planning it as a multi-personality disorder? See, I only ask because their childhood, and also this conversation depend on that.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You need to do some research. Unfortunately, you won't find a lot of session transcripts on line, due to patient confidentiality. But you may be able to talk with a cooperative therapist (a retired one may be a good bet), and you can take a risk by reading fictionalized sessions (the risk being that the author may not know what he or she is talking about), or possibly training materials for counsellors in training.
     
  4. Welsh_Biatch
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    Welsh_Biatch New Member

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    I am not yet sure of the mental condition, but I will try to explain, my character, he is African American and at the age of eighteen he was racially abused and gang raped, tortured as two close family members were forced to watch. Now he suffers from self-esteem issues, doesn’t go out, depression, aggression he also likes to see people suffer not physically but emotionally and intimidate other people by using his bodybuilder stature, he also has control issues but not overly controlling. I really hope this makes sense lol
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i ditto cog's comments...

    seems to me what you're basically doing is asking us to write that part of your book for you... sorry, but you'll have to do the research and write it on your own, which is what writers do... it's the not so fun part of the job...

    after you've done that, it's ok to post an excerpt and ask if it works...
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Don't you think a psychology forum might be a better place for this question? You might also try an abuse recovery/prevention forum, although you aren't as likely to see diagnostic criteria there.

    Also, look up DSM IV
     
  7. 67Kangaroos
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    67Kangaroos Contributing Member

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    i second cog's advice to go to training materials for counsellors, which may shed light not only on what kinds of things are discussed, but also how counsellors should react.
    also, from what you mentioned, would his psychological problem be PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)? this is a serious disorder in itself and need not be supplimented by other psychological problems.
     
  8. Welsh_Biatch
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    Welsh_Biatch New Member

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    I think a psychology forum would be best, It hadnt even crossed my mind. Thanks for the help :)
     
  9. Grissom Barnes
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    Grissom Barnes Member

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    This sounds like a case of severe depression. There's not much I can actually say about that. It sounds a little contradictory with some of the things. I think your best bet is to try the psychology forums like Cogito said and if they can't help you, maybe you should change some of the things with your character's background. I hope this helped a tad bit.
     
  10. Welsh_Biatch
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    Welsh_Biatch New Member

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    I'm still trying to gain as much information as I can on different mental disorders so I can delve straight into the section rather than have a vague insight and struggle through. Evidently I have a long way to go, as a writing forum I thought maybe someone would have maybe wrote a similar story using mental disorders as the main concept, that being the main reason as to why I asked on here first. However, your comments have been helpful and I have now enquired sensitively on a psychology forum, praying that I don't offend anyone with my touchy subject *Fingers crossed* Once again this forum has proved to be supportive unlike others I have been on =)

    Thanks Guys =)
     
  11. Sillraaia
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    Sillraaia Senior Member

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    I think I understand what you are saying - he feels like his masculinity has been stolen, and now tries to make up for it by being overly aggressive, and requiring more reassurances from those around him to 'balance' him out.

    Sounds like just badly scarred mentally, rather than any kind of mental illness. Besides maybe depression - I can see that too. Good luck on the Psych forums. :)
     
  12. InkDream
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    InkDream Senior Member

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    I only have a B.A. in psychology but my understanding is that he would be talking to a psychologist or a counselor depending on what his diagnosis actually was. Regardless, their job is to help them cope with their past and come to terms with what happened to them. Their job is to help them help themselves ultimately.

    Some key things to keep in mind when writing dialogue of this nature would be phrases like "So what you're saying is..." and "So that made you feel like..." etc. The psychologist would not put words into the patients mouth but rather encourage them to complete their own train of thought and use their own words.

    I hope that helped. I'd recommend looking at books on the psychotherapy process or text books if you know anyone going to school in that field. Even a Pscyh 101 text would have something in there about it I would think.

    Oh and the symptoms you described for Cogito suggest post traumatic stress disorder which can lead to depression and anxiety disorders. Makes sense considering what this character experienced.
     
  13. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you found a psychiatrist who would answer the questions, there wouldn't be any problem. You are not necessarily asking about a particular patient of his and are purely going on a hypothetical situation. This means it doesn't break any confidentiality agreement.
     
  14. Eoz Eanj
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    Eoz Eanj Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do some research, and keep away from pop psychology, that's prolific in every medium of literature, offline and online. I suggest you base your research in abnormal and cognitive psychology. Abnormal psychology will help you understand how certain psychological conditions manifest, how they are classified (DSM IV: It's a giant, comprehensive diagnoistic handbook used by doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists) and how they are treated. Cognitive psychology texts will also help in this understanding but specifically will help you understand how counselling functions.
    As said, counselling isn't about solving a patients problems for them, rather, it is about evoking self awareness and understanding so that particular cognitive-behavioural stragedy's can be employed on behalf of the patient as suggested by the psychologist. This 'kind' of counselling is often referred to as 'cognitive behavioural' therapy and is a very popular form of non-drug treatment.
    Also, try to find this book, Abnormal Psychology: An Integrative Approach by David H. Barlow and V. Mark Durand. It comes with a CD rom of recorded counselling sessions between psychologists and different patients (each suffering from a different psychological affliction). It's an awesome book, it was one of my textbooks I used when studying abnormal psychology last semester.
     
  15. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    If you have the money, see a psychologist for a session. Find one that is willing to let you play your character and he will play along.

    For the right price, I don't see why one wouldn't play along.
     
  16. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    lol at arch :p thats a great idea

    I have not read it yet, but it's on my shelf. From what I understand, Dora, but Sigmund Freud, turned out to be have a story behind it. Maybe there is some one-on-one therapy in there. Just a suggestion as I have not read it yet, but that is all from what I've heard
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Freudian psychology is not widely practiced these days.
     
  18. Frédo
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    Frédo New Member

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    As everyone else said, you'll need to run the symptoms through the DSM if you wanted your character to have a specific diagnosis. A basis counselling textbook will give you some insight into how the session will proceed. Also, Irvin Yalom has written many books about his experiences as a psychiatrist, several focussing on different clients he's had. I think there's some dialogue included. He is a psychotherapist though, which, as Cogito said, isn't a widely used form of therapy these days, but again, there should be some insight there as to the psych-client relationship.
     
  19. Operaghost
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    I suffer from depression myself and do see a psychotherapist (as well as study for an MSc in psychology go figure) but the main problem is thatyou can't really tell anyone teh best way to write it to make it beleievable, in fact it will be very personal to your character so you need a good strong solid understanding of them before you can even delve into their thoughts, and despite the way the media portrays it the roles aren't as defined as a two way conversation, in fact most of the talkign will come from the patient themselves, and may not make much sense as it is them trying to articulate their feelings, whilst the therapists role is actually to try and guide them to the right conlucions themselves. The character you have sounds interesting however so i do wish you all the best in getting this off the ground
     
  20. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    There is an HBO show called In Treatment that might be helpful for you to watch. The therapist is more of a cognitive behavioral therapist with an antagonistic style of treatment. I've been to a behavioral therapist before (for pain management -- though that didn't help me any cause the pain isn't in my head) and he was rather talkative, unlike some of the more stoic versions of therapists you see in popular media.

    As for what type of disorder he might be suffering from...you can have a blending of several disorders at once, or just a single disorder. From the violent happenings of his youth there are a couple of disorders that could fit the bill. Antisocial personality disorder would be my first suggestion. You can also throw in a few phobias for the drama of it if you wanted. Severe Clinical Depression with antisocial tendencies can also be a possible diagnosis, or SCD with suicidal idealation. Schizophrenia and Multiple Personality disorder are also two other options. As is Bi-polar (which doesn't have to be a genetically inherited disorder.)

    Narcissism can be a possibility, but it doesn't always have the antisocial part too it, which I think is what you are going for.

    One to me that would be the most likely is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. All the of the symptoms would fit, withdrawn, aggressive, past trauma... It would probably fit the best of most disorders. He could also have a side helping of Avoidant Personality Disorder.
     
  21. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    It depends on the therapist's professional variation. For example, a psychoanalytical approach would involve lengthy sessions in which the therapist says very little. This approach seeks to resolve conflict over many years of insight development and conflict analysis. On the other hand, a behaviorist would be more interactive with the patient, trying to isolate conflict and resolve it through adaptive behavior changes. Gestalt therapy is a brutal form of counseling in which the patient is subjected to direct confrontation regarding the source of conflict. A Rogerian approach to therapy places the counselor in a uniquely supportive role, almost like a best friend, who guides the patient through conflict analysis and resolution. Then, there are the existentialists, social environmentalists, cognitive behaviorists...

    Point is, the counseling sessions will be guided by the counselor's professional discipline. As others have said, you can not write realistic therapy dialog until you understand the counselor's format. Do your research. Here is a starting point...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychotherapy

    ps Psychiatrists are medical doctors who can prescribe psychoactive drugs. Psychologists can not prescribe medication, hence they rely on behavioral approaches. Clinical Social workers view the patient in relation to their social environment; kind of an "external" point of view. They tend to seek ways to alter the environment that is causing the patient's troubles.

    In truth, all the different approaches to mental health counceling provide valid methods for resolving conditions. Some depression needs medication from a psychiatrist. Other depression responds best to behavioral changes/adaptation offered by a clinical psychologist. There are also depressions produced by a patient's unhealthy environment and a clinical social worker is great at identifying them. Again, before you write a therapy session, you need to do your homework.
     
  22. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto that!
     

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