Author (and My Mom : ) Linda Edelstein Ph.D.

I am proud to report that my mother Dr. Linda Edelstein was recently interviewed for check it out!

Author, Linda N. Edelstein Ph.D.

I’m a clinical psychologist, author and professor. I have a private practice in Chicago and Evanston, Illinois, where I work with individuals and couples. My course at Northwestern University is entitled, “Adult Development” and comes from my years of clinical work, as do my books. My first book was Maternal Bereavement, a book about grief and adaptation.

The Art of Midlife: Courage and Creative Living for Women was much more upbeat and helped midlife women make creative changes in their lives. The Writer’s Guide to Character Traits has been a big seller, 60,000 + copies. In that book, I took tons of research and boiled it down into lists that writers can easily use to create authentic characters in their novels.

Thank you Linda for answering a few questions for us! What is your latest project about?

My latest project is writing a book entitled, “What Do I Say?” It’s a book for student therapists and early career clinicians who worry about answering the uncomfortable questions that clients ask them. It is quite different from any books on the shelves; it is very friendly, even humorous, and speaks in conversational language rather than the heavy psychological terms that so many therapy books use. My co-author, Charlie Waehler, Ph.D., and I are lucky that we have a contract with John Wiley and Sons and we are working hard to make the May, 2010 deadline.

Have you received any awards for your work?

I received Teacher of the Year Award twice when I was a professor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Chicago.

Do you also do speaking engagements, or seminars?

Yes, I love to talk to people outside the classroom or therapy room. Teaching grad students is very rewarding because I like having a say in the training of future clinicians but it is a terrific feeling to bring psychology out of the office or classroom and into people’s lives in practical ways. I often talk about midlife, life transitions, identity, and adaptation throughout life.

How has your education, profession or background helped you in your writing career? Or conversely, how has you writing success helped you in your profession?

I just had this conversation with one of my grad students. My core identity is that of a therapist – everything else seems to have grown out of that central identity. My teaching, my writing, even my sculpture emanates from thinking about people’s emotions, puzzling through problems, and wanting to listen to and tell stories. Certainly, my lengthy education and being a therapist has helped. As a clinician, it is important to be clear, to be genuine, and to focus on the important points, not irrelevancies. Those hard won skills are very helpful to me as a writer.

Is there any aspect to your profession that gets you in touch with your readers directly?

I am lucky to be in a profession that is very real and directly connected to emotion. That helps my writing.

What will your next project be?

The next project is in progress – it is the therapy book that I described above. In that book, in addition to answering hundreds of questions, I created a cast of cartoon characters who illustrate the universal problems that grad students deal with. Maybe I’ll take those characters and give them life on a blog for the book. I also have written a psychological novel that I want to fix up and try to get published.

Who inspires you on a personal or business level?

My parents used to inspire me because they really believed that I could accomplish anything – silly as that was, it gave me confidence. Now, my daughters inspire me (of course this is my favorite part : ). Like many other mothers, I want to do well so that I can shine in their eyes.

What can you recommend for writers who are just getting started and are trying to make a name for themselves?

It has been said before… Write what you know; fake sounds fake and authentic sounds authentic. Even if you change the scene, time, or events, use the emotions that you can personally reach. Also, be brutally honest with your writing. Finally, and I learned this the hard way – stay away from too many lessons, classes, or teaches who inhibit your writing – always go toward greater freedom, push the edge.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

I work as a clinician four days a week. When I have a writing project, I daily add a couple of hours for writing and more on weekends and Monday (my non-clinical day). I need structure. I often block out writing time on my calendar and then I try to respect it in the same way that I respect my therapy hours.

Finally, a most important question: what was the last song you sang out loud when you were by yourself? 🙂

It hasn’t been a song lately. At odd hours, I find myself saying, “Thank you.” I teach adult development, but it still took me a long time to really understand that we better keep growing, keep developing, keep creating our lives in whatever ways that we can or life steps in and dictates our days.

Thank you Linda! We wish you great success with your new book “What Do I Say?”!

To read the original interview click here

To read my mother’s guest posts on this blog click here

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