Understanding Personality Disorders: An Introduction Paperback – 16 Sep 2010
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[B]ursting with information, Dr. Duane Dobbert's new book is a winner as a brief but comprehensive reference...This new book is an important reference manual in helping the professional and the layperson better understand PDs. Dobbert does two particularly useful things with this book: interprets DSM criteria and presents case study scenarios...This book is a reference manual with illustrative case studies. If you find that you are frequently looking up information on Personality Disorders, it is worth owning, and, since PDs often travel in groups, an individual can show symptoms of more than one type. It is nice to have one book that covers them all. Suite101.Com Writing for general readers, Dobbert explains the nature of personality disorders, then details 11 specific disorders. He uses scenarios of situations common to people with personality disorders to point out warning signs, and to explain how such disorders develop and how they can be successfully addressed. Scitech Book News Dobbert has written a useful and easy-to-read text on personality disorders, which are often misunderstood, misdiagnosed, or ignored completely. The introduction is brief, to the point, and right on target: by outlining the significant differences between personality disorders and other disorder categories, the author helps the reader place such disorders within the full range of human behavior. Dobbert incorporates criteria from the DSM-IV-TR, thus providing a useful comparison of symptoms to diagnostic criteria within the manual. This reader's main concern is the tendency for readers to find described disorders around every corner or in every friend, acquaintance, or family member. However, Dobbert focuses clearly on the criteria and the enduring nature of these disorders, and so does the best he can to ensure that the reader does not fall victim to this version of medical student syndrome. Those studying or engaged in counseling, clinical work, or social work will find this book valuable. Recommended. Graduate students and professionals. CHOICE An excellent survey highly recommended as an authoritative introduction for all walks of life. The Bookwatch
About the Author
Duane L. Dobbert, Ph.D, is a 40-year veteran of the Criminal Justice profession; serving in clinical, administrative, expert witness, educational, research, publishing, and consulting capacities. He is a Fellow of the American College of Forensic Examiners International and a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychological Specialties. His 2004 book, Halting the Sexual Predators Among Us has received national and international recognition and is the clinical perspective utilized in CARTs (Child Abduction Response Team) in the United States and the Florida School Bus Driver training initiative; School Bus Drivers: The 1st line of Defense against Sexual Predators. Dr. Dobbert is also the author of Psychopathy, Perversion, and Lust Homicide. Dr. Dobbert is Professor and Coordinator of Criminal Forensic Studies at Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft, Myers, Florida.
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This book did NOT help me understand these matters any better. For each PD the author tells a little story about a (presumably fictitious) character afflicted with that disorder. The problem is they are completely two-dimensional caricatures. Then he goes on to describe each of the criteria in turn. But again in two-dimensional terms that are little more than rephrasing the DSM definitions. Basically the whole book tells you practically nothing about how these people actually are in the real world - they are just stereotypes.
There is no evidence that the author has ever worked with people with PD's themselves or those whose lives they affect. In fact he is a professor of Criminal Forensic Studies. I came away with the impression that he had done nothing more than read the definitions then invent fictitious examples to flesh them out. The writing style is a very old-fashioned academic style that makes the whole thing look like it has a lot more to say than it actually does.
EG "Dissociation" is basically about losing touch with reality. On p71 we are given the "explanation" that the PD person may experience some sort of out of body experience in a stressful situation when they can't accept it is really happening. Really? Not something I've ever found mentioned in other discussions of this topic. And how much does this claim add to our understanding of what it is like to either suffer this oneself, or interact with someone who does? Nothing - it just suggests someone might appear to switch off maybe.
Contrast this with information to be found elsewhere: a PD person's feelings are more real to them than anything else. They will re-write the facts to fit in with how they feel about a situation or person. They will then utterly believe their own version of events, and tell it to others with total conviction. They are able to simply ignore or re-write evidence that conflicts with their version of reality. Their beliefs and/or actions may be inconsistent, but that does bother them in the way it does for the rest of us who generally feel the need to reconcile such contradictions. This means they can do and say things that appear utterly illogical to other people. It can be hard for other people to believe this really happens because it is so at odds with what we are used to.
i'm not sure this is 100% true, but if not it's very close. But my point is that it is infinitely more useful and informative - even if you want to debate the details. It gives you a good idea of what behaviour to look for and/or sheds light on such baffling behaviour if you have already encountered it.
Compared to this, the "out of body" version seems unhelpful to the point of misleading. Which, as I said above, give me the strong impression the author has no experience with how real people exhibit this trait. It comes across as no more than guesswork about what the words might mean.
This is just one example, but the rest (what I read anyway) is equally bad.
The 2 page "conclusion" at the end is laughable. He only mentions one PD in it - Antisocial PD. He has nothing useful to say here - just a few trite remarks that would not be good enough for a school student essay.
Therefore there is great comfort to be had from knowing that at least some of these problems are understood to some degree. This compact book offers a 'translation' between everyday difficult behaviours and the current official American classifications of 'personality disorders'. It takes a familiar format of little pen-portraits of affected people, followed by point-by-point explanation of their disorder.
It can be read two ways - if someone you know has been diagnosed with a specific disorder, you can see what other characteristics they may have, or you can read the book for clues about unnerving characteristics of people in your life. It won't solve your problem, but it may indicate what kinds of help are out their - for both of you.
It's also a useful 'audit' of oneself - consider the possibility that if you are having problems with other people, your own personality may be contributing to them. That is a very uncomfortable feeling, but the book will sketch clues about what help is out there for you.
Health Warning: Never attempt to 'diagnose' anyone from a book.
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