Nonfiction by Dr. Burt

Creating Characters and Plots


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Creating Characters and Plots gives fiction authors unique tools to develop exciting plots and vibrant characters. Using the Jungian personality typology, Dr. Burt moves through the process of building plots and characters. When the workings of personality and the underlying mental processes are understood, a well of inspiration is opened. Essential tools are organized in an understandable way and examples of the process are provided with detailed guidance on how to use the system.

From the Foreword:

The word “inspiration” may be a noun but it definitely does not refer to anything concrete or static. It involves things such as animation, arousal and even divine intervention. In this instance the inspiration for this book came from two sources, neither of which were divine. The first was a doctoral dissertation in which it was demonstrated that artistic product was clearly influenced by personality. The groundbreaking study has not, to my knowledge, been repeated, but it re-affirmed the fact that there are many sources of inspiration. The details concerning this study can be found in the Appendix.
The second source was the experience my wife and I had with a misbehaving character in one of our novels. She was supposed to be a lovable scamp. Early on in the writing process we found we did not like her and, although we created her, she was anything but under our control. In the end, my wife and I had to face the fact that this character had come from the deepest unconscious parts of our personalities. As such, we had to raise her as a parent would a child. Then we found we loved her.
These two experiences led me to conclude that I had information that could provide useful tools for inspiration for other authors.
In both cases the works of Carl Jung contributed to the understanding of the writing process. The relevant parts of his work will be presented in this book. Jung’s terms and his concepts are highly specific and can be difficult to grasp. I have tried to write this book in a fashion which is clear but the reader should understand that it is not recreational reading.
Lastly, I have to offer an apology to my colleagues who are steeped in Jung’s work. My primary goal is to bring essential tools derived from Jung’s theories to a broad audience of authors. At times it was necessary to use terms in ways which were not strictly in accord with how Jung used them; but I attempted to retain the essence of his meaning so that others might benefit from his work.
Roger B. Burt, Ph.D.

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health?9780977018376_lowres

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There are times when bold initiatives, born of broad vision, are created only to be despoiled by interests with narrow vision. The community mental health movement was one such an initiative.

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health? is the story of the beginning of the community mental health movement in the 1960s as displayed through experiences in one of the first programs in the inner city of Baltimore. It portrays bold, groundbreaking initiatives taken by a young staff to deliver services to the impoverished residents while fulfilling a preventive mission. A valuable alternative to the medical model was developed and there was success in hiring and training community people to become a variety of service providers.

The lessons learned are outlined along with the presentation of issues of philosophy, management and the utility in other settings of this alternative service
model. Although the movement, as originally intended, foundered as the result of professional conservatism and changes in national commitments, this book brings the experiences forward in time and demonstrates the applicability of service and consultation activities today as they apply both to treatment and prevention. The implications of this story also serve as the basis for a fundamental re-evaluation of what mental health is and to what it should be committed in the future.

The promise of community mental health was never fulfilled. Professional  conservatism and the “conservative revolution” swept it aside. As symbolized by the cover, unless we choose otherwise, the movement and all of its lessons will remain homeless.

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Stepfamilies jpeg cover

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America has come a long way in the last fifty years. Back then “the original nuclear family” was the ideal and we didn’t talk much about the other kinds. Now we talk about single parent families, stepfamilies (or remarried and blended families), and have even progressed to accepting same sex marriages which, yes, often include children. We have recognized the many forms of bonding.

When my wife and I formed our stepfamily we found there was little information available and we became a part of a national movement to recognize stepfamilies. By becoming experts we were able to manage our family in crisis and, in turn, help others. While today there is greater recognition of diversity, the fact of major adjustments in the formation of stepfamilies remains. Because of what we learned, we set up our own clinical practice to help stepfamilies. It came down to the fact that the new couples relationship had to survive and that gave a signal to the children that this was going to be a new and enduring family. Then they felt they could get on with their lives meaning devoting themselves to school and friends.

The same process is still at issue today even while we now hear people introducing stepparents and stepchildren without embarrassment and we accept a normal number of family variations. We believe Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership has ongoing utility. It is constructive reading for parents and stepparents on their own or can be used in partnership in professional counseling for a family in crisis. Family crises have not gone away. They have simply taken new forms.