I studied psychology in college, and have a strong interest in the subject still. I always joke that if I didn’t become a literary agent, I’d be a therapist. My eclectic list includes a number of dark, psychological memoirs, in several cases written by mothers and daughters (an odd hybrid that really resonates with me). I’m not sure what this says about my psyche, but I am drawn to deep, painful, emotional stories that explore the inner depths of human suffering, and then highlight the amazing strength people possess to overcome adversity.
For all of you YA authors out there thinking of having your young characters visit a therapist, here’s an interesting piece that talks about just that topic in current YA fiction. Given how many kids today are being medicated for various reasons, it’s refreshing to see in fiction so many talking through their problems. As a literary device, it seems more effective to set a scene in a therapist’s office where dramatic dialogue and action can unfold rather than describing the inherently nondramatic act of taking a pill.
For those of you writing in this category, what do you think of teenagers and therapists? Is it a good idea to open up their world in this way, or do you prefer an interior dialogue and thought process for characters to work through their issues? And have you read any books other than the ones Kabi Hartman discusses (it’s a good list) that effectively implement therapy or therapists into their plots of teenage angst? Since I have 4 girls who will be teenagers in the blink of an eye (ok, I know my oldest is only in first grade, but still), I’d like to know personally as well as professionally!