Top 4 Books for Beginners in a Psychology Major

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Top 4 Books for Beginners in a Psychology Major

Psychology and psychotherapy came to the foreground when pandemics struck in 2020. This surge in popularity is related to the problems people faced during lockdowns. Some young people were forced to spend more time with their relatives during strict lockdown periods, which led to many home violence outbursts.

Students were forced out of the campus and had been studying remotely since March 2020. This fact puts immense pressure on young minds, thus leading to isolation and increased anxiety. Just imagine having to write a process analysis essay outline without any chance to get out of your house!

Such a state of affairs is rather uncomfortable for many young people. Of course, there is always an option to go to and order a paper of any type and length. Yet, there are still some students that do not know about this little helper.

Psychology students, devoid of human contact and real-life practice suffered the heaviest blow. Maybe, some extracurricular reading may fill in the gaps and give new ideas.

1. Existential Psychotherapy, by Irvin Yalom

What is it about?

This work dwells on existential realities and their place in human life and psychotherapy. According to Irwin Yalom, there are four basic existential realities (or ultimate concerns). They describe the existence and distinguish humans from all other living beings.

The 4 existential realities are:

  • Death;
  • Loneliness;
  • Freedom;
  • Meaninglessness.

Most of the book focuses on the detailed and clinically accurate description of the defense mechanisms. Those are associated with each of the realities, case studies, and possible therapeutic strategies.

Why is it worth reading?

Existential Psychotherapy is not an easy book to read. Yet, it shakes up the reader and raises the most important and unpleasant questions. It leads the audience out of the zone of psychological comfort. Few people can explore the themes of death, loneliness, and meaninglessness with enthusiasm. Psychologists have to be able to work with the ultimate concerns mentioned above and contain the feelings of their clients about these concerns.

2. Neurosis and Human Growth, by Karen Horney

The neurotic process is an unfortunate path of human development. A person is forced to spend creative energy and feels exhausted by the eternal struggle. It is the opposite of a healthy life.

Take, for example, a university student whose writing skills leave room for improvement. Suppose they have to write an analytical essay on a poem. If they have a neurotic personality type, asking a fellow student for a reflective essay examples could turn into a challenge. A non-neurotic student could just come up to somebody and ask, but our main character may end up having a panic attack or a headache instead.

What is it about?

The last and most famous book of the outstanding psychoanalyst Karen Horney studies internal problems and personality conflicts. Summarizing many years of clinical experience, the author formulates ideas about neurosis as a specific way of adaptation, opposed to the spiritual path of personality development.

Why is it worth reading?

The book is accessible to a wide readership. Yet, it will best suit those who can recognize themselves in the examples and find ways to overcome the latter. For young psychologists, this book is a must-read.

Neurosis is the long-lasting internal process that will manifest itself in a group or personal therapy. Every specialist will likely face clients suffering from this condition, and this book is a key to helping them.

3. Games People Play, by Eric Bern

What is it about?

Eric Berne, an American psychologist and psychiatrist, founder of transactional analysis, convincingly shows that daily communication between people is rarely direct and honest. More often, it comprises various forms of complex manipulations, that Bern calls “games.”

These games are destructive to varying degrees. Yet, the author writes that people start and enter these games unconsciously. The system, developed by Berne, is designed to rid a person of the influence of life scenarios that program such behavior. The author also aims to promote personal growth and help find freedom from manipulative behavior.

Why is it worth reading?

This reading is a powerful instructive work on the psychology of human relations. The reader will be able to define what drives their actions and actions of those around, and what causes conflicts. Berne gives a lot of information and tips that will help understand the nature of human communication.

The book will be useful to young psychiatrists and psychologists. The author describes the main games using rather graphic real-life examples and shows ways to resolve them. This data will come in handy for psychology majors during the first university practice.

4. Psychoanalytic Diagnosis, by Nancy McWilliams

What is it about?

Here, the author describes personality types and levels of their organization. McWilliams draws on generally accepted international classifications such as DSM-IV. The readers find descriptions of various character structures, levels of personality development, and methods of diagnosing them, and psychological defense mechanisms.

Why is it worth reading?

The book shows psychoanalytic views on conditionally healthy and deeply pathological human personalities. The book includes a detailed description of the characters. The author gives specific practical recommendations for the most complex cases.

Summing Up

To see deep into clients’ traumas, psychologists need to have high empathy levels and theoretical knowledge on many issues. People can master these skills through books and magazines.

Reading only coursebooks is insufficient. It is like reading a causal analysis essay instead of a book. Sometimes, it is extracurricular reading that makes students succeed in their fields.

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