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Drew A Curtis, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor and Director | Angelo State University
Author of Abnormal Psychology: Myths of “Crazy”
Tell us and your fellow KH authors more about your education and publishing journey!
1. Please describe your educational background.
I earned a B.S. in Psychology and M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Sam Houston State University. I earned my Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Texas Woman’s University. My clinical experience has been primarily within university counseling centers and private practice. I completed a pre-doctoral psychology internship at the Career and Counseling Services at the University of Houston Clear Lake in Houston, TX.
2. What was lacking on the market that led you to create this product?
For over a century, movies and media have promoted myths of psychopathology and normalcy that have been absorbed into our daily perception. One of the goals of this book is to challenge students to reconsider the ideas they have concerning myths of "crazy" and how these ideas developed. Other abnormal psychology texts do not examine the development of myths about psychopathology and challenge students to exercise their sociopolitical responsibility when thinking of mental disorders. This book is specifically geared toward evaluating psychomythology and pseudoscience claims in students’ everyday life.
3. Describe your experience with Kendall Hunt publishing’s editors and support staff.
The Kendall Hunt team has been wonderful! The editor and support staff has been extremely supportive throughout the entire process and they continue to be very helpful. The KH team really valued the conceptualization of the textbook and responded very well to concerns that arose. They have been great from the entire process, conceptualization to helping faculty who are interested in adopting the text. Writing with the KH team made the process fun and enjoyable! We are currently working on its second edition, which we plan to have ready by August 2017.
4. What are some of the special features and content that make it different from competing books?
The book focuses on assessing and deconstructing myths in abnormal psychology through engagement, active learning, self-examination, and seeking clinical science. In examining myths, students learn about human error, biases, and how myths shape their social cognitive labels and attitudes toward people with disorders. One way that this is done is by examining how movies, your experiences, talking about differences, and how it relates to what has been learned (MYTHs). MYTHs of abnormal psychology are explored at the beginning of every chapter that reviews mental disorders.
Further, this book guides readers in the deconstruction of these myths by means of a process designed to help formulate a sound approach to abnormality and a thorough understanding of various disorders through the lens of the DSM-5.
Another key feature of the text is that students learn the importance of intentionally directing attention toward the humanity of the individuals who have various disorders, in order to develop more accurate perceptions of these individuals. Students are confronted with the idea that abnormality is not exemplified by “crazies” but human persons, who are often suffering, feeling immense pain, or who have impaired functioning in their life. Behaviors of mental disorders are not otherworldly but are closer to home than we realize. This feature helps educate people with the intent to reduce the socially develop stigmas people hold toward mental illness.
Lastly, there are various cases interwoven throughout the text that help students conceptualize the various disorders in a tangible manner, further revealing how people with mental disorders are people suffering and not “crazies.”
5. Please describe what, if any, technology accompanies the text?
The text is available as an eBook. Also, there are several ancillary materials in the form of PowerPoint presentations, BlackBoard ready quizzes and test items, and Case Studies.
6. Describe some of your student’s and colleague’s comments and success in the classroom with the use of this publication.
Students have shared that the text is engaging, easy to read, and makes conceptualization of the material very accessible. Students have stated that the examples and sample cases help paint a picture of psychopathology that is easily understood from everyday life to clinical settings. One student excitedly shared that she found herself reading well beyond the assigned chapters because of mere interest. Colleagues have shared how impressed they have been with the book and, similar to students, that the textbook is easily understood and fun to read. The Dean of Graduate Studies and Research even expressed high enthusiasm about the book when purchasing it at a book signing.
7. What you’ve done to make switching to your book easy
The overall engaging features of the book for students, a novel approach to examining abnormal psychology, the flexible format (hard copy or eBook), ancillary materials, and the lower cost of the book compared to other abnormal psychology textbooks should make it easy for others to adopt the textbook.
8. Please share any funny, humorous, or interesting stories regarding your experience in the field, progress of writing the publication, or experience using it.
During the writing of my dissertation, I vowed to not let writing take time away from my family. One of the goals I had when writing this textbook was to keep the same promise. Generally, I was successful! This means I failed at least once. I was writing to the editor, Nicole Mathers, some concern or idea about the book that seemed timely when my youngest son had noticed that I was doing something other than showing him attention. He quickly decided that he wanted to be an author like his father and he began typing a series of letters that produced some illegible word. He must have thought that it was a brilliant piece of writing because it somehow got sent in the email before I could even blink. I quickly got up and ran to another room to send an email stating how I promise that I can write coherent statements and that it was my son who typed the previous email. Thankfully, Nicole was very entertained and by the email exchange and continued to work with us on the book. While my son did not get his words in the spotlight, he continued to be supportive as he and the rest of the family surprised me at the book signing by asking their dad sign a copy.