Each year, tens of thousands of students across the country enroll in abnormal psychology courses. The majority of these students are taught that mental illnesses are genetically-determined malfunctions in the brain, that the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-5 is the primary means of diagnosis and assessment, and that psychotropic medications and cognitive-behavioral interventions are the only scientifically appropriate tools for symptom management.

In this warm and deeply personal text, author Ronald B. Miller offers students a different approach.  Starting with his own professional and personal search for meaning as a young scholar, Miller guides readers through a historical tour of alternative conceptualizations and treatments for psychological problems.  Across a comprehensive range of mental illnesses, including developmental disorders, anxiety, depression, personality disorders and schizophrenia, he reviews theoretical bases, methods of diagnosis and assessment, and treatments that have long produced successful outcomes, yet have too often been denigrated or ignored by proponents of the dominant approaches to mental health care.

A much-needed critical examination of reigning orthodoxies, such as our tendency to pathologize psychological difficulties and to downplay or ignore subjective experiences of human suffering, this text offers a pragmatic and compassionate approach that can revolutionize readers' understanding of abnormal psychology.

Table of Contents


  1. The Personal Allure of a Behavioral Science
  2. The Social, Political, Historical, and Philosophical Context
  3. Theoretical Models of Abnormal Psychology: Approaches to Diagnosis, Assessment, and Development
  4. Psychological Suffering in Childhood
  5. Anxiety and Related Forms of Suffering
  6. Depression, Suicide, and Anorexia
  7. Personality Patterns That Engender Suffering
  8. Schizophrenia: Psychiatry's Poster Child




About the Author

Author Bio

Ronald B. Miller, PhD, is professor of psychology at Saint Michael's College where he has also directed the master's program in clinical psychology for 30 years.

He is the author of Facing Human Suffering: Psychology and Psychotherapy as Moral Engagement (2004), an associate editor for the Encyclopedia of Psychology (2000), and the editor of The Restoration of Dialogue: Readings in the Philosophy of Clinical Psychology (1992). He is a founding associate editor of the journal Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy and the former editor of the Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology.

A fellow of APA, Dr. Miller is currently the chair of the Vermont Board of Psychological Examiners.

Reviews & Awards
  • 2016 PROSE Awards: Honorable Mention, Textbook/Social Sciences Category

This is the type of text book I wish I had in my undergraduate, master's or doctoral training as I think it would have greatly deepened my understanding of both the theories and concepts in abnormal psychology as well as given me insight into my own personal and emotional development.
New England Psychologist

My advice to individuals interested in the field of abnormal psychology, including seasoned clinicians, students, and laypersons who are consumers of therapies, is to read with an open mind the well-written and engaging narrative of Not So Abnormal Psychology. They will discover a book that challenges them to think of the field of abnormal psychology critically, thereby identifying its current strengths and weaknesses.
Metapsychology Online Reviews

I would strongly recommend this book to all practitioners…There is something to offer to all theoretical perspectives, fare for the history aficionados, and a practical quality to a level of theoretical thinking and application that is often missing in thicker tomes. The price is a bargain, it is quite readable, and you get both stories for the same price.