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GSEP Professors Investigate Origins of Mental Disorders in New Book
The study of the human psyche and all the ways in which a mind can go 'wrong' is a complex and frequently examined topic. Pepperdine psychology professors Stephanie Woo and Carolyn Keatinge realized, however, that there was a gap in the mental health market for a fully comprehensive book aimed at students and professionals alike.
After nearly four years of research and writing while teaching at the Graduate School of Education and Psychology, Woo and Keatinge have written just such a book: Diagnosis and Treatment of Mental Disorders Across the Lifespan (Wiley 2008).
"We wanted the book to have several distinct features, particularly how different mental disorders manifest in children, adolescents, adults, and older adults. Older adults are often neglected in textbooks," explains Woo, associate professor of psychology and lead author on the project.
"Other textbooks focus on just children or adults, or are aimed at just psychiatrists, meaning the focus is on medication rather than therapy. We wanted to write a book that was tailored as a useful approach for counseling, clinical psychology, therapy, and social work."
In 1998, psychology lecturer Keatinge co-authored Rapid Psychological Assessment, which was published by John Wiley. Woo and Keatinge turned to Wiley with a proposal and two sample chapters for Diagnosis and Treatment. With the support of this pre-existing relationship and the help of GSEP graduate students as research assistants, they were able to stay faithful to the original plan for the book, which worked out at 1140 pages long.
"We didn't want to sacrifice content or our vision, so it was a long process," admits Woo. "It's a unique book. A lot of textbooks don't address the basic skills, so we felt it would be useful for students to have a one-stop shopping experience. While writing we gave chapters to students for feedback, and got a lot of positive response. One student commented that she still pulls out those pre-publication chapters to use, so that was heartening."
Chapters in the book cover symptoms, prevalence, diversity of sufferers, and legal and ethical issues unique to the treatment of specific disorders. Woo worked on the chapters such as anxiety and psychotic disorders, while Keatinge handled those related to childhood and developmental disorders such as autism. At the end of each chapter about broad clinical disorders, the authors have included an in-depth look at one example, such as post-partum depression.
"I feel very proud, and hope this will be a major contribution to the field," says Woo. "We hope that professors in different graduate programs will adopt the book and see it as a useful resource."