About MysteryShrink


MysteryShrink is dedicated to the study of human behavior and misbehavior along with championing the ability to laugh at ourselves. Because we’re funny.

The idea for MysteryShrink came from the thought that there ought to be some way for others to benefit from the study, research, training, and clinical work I’ve put in. I know it’s said you can’t learn from someone else’s mistakes, but who knows?

What Works and What Doesn’t in Psychology

About twenty years ago, I’d had it with psychology. Too many fads and cause and effect explanations I couldn’t support. I likely would have quit the profession and returned to my earlier choice of veterinary school had I not been introduced to the theory of Dr. Murray Bowen. Dr. Bowen, doing research at the National Institute of Mental Health, presented a way of thinking about human behavior based in science and observation.

I’m a Strategist. I’m the one who says, “Yeah, Doc, I get the theory, but what can I do differently?

Along with providing humor and ideas, my goal is to pass along some actual behavioral things you try out. Simple ideas. Experiments. We humans are fairly predictable, so yes! There’s stuff you can do to improve your personal cloud. Really.sammieDSC03090

I am a psychologist in private practice and consulting. I’ve been ordered by people further up the cyber world food chain that I should add some history. Since what you will read on this site comes from Bowen theory I’ll share the important parts:

I am the middle of three children, by far least shiny in the trio. My older sister taught me everything I know and my younger brother showed me how to find the humor in every situation. The boy just wouldn’t take me seriously when I lamented the end of the world over lost homework and boyfriends.

Example you say?

002My brother was fourteen and my sister was off at college when my mother died suddenly. This left me as the big sister inform my brother about the frailties of life–not such a good plan due to the above mentioned “end of the world” reaction to even life’s smallest change in plans. The following interaction took place on the day he passed the test for his driver’s license.

Me: “Okay, now that you are going to get behind the wheel you need to understand the seriousness this responsibility. First, you should never, ever, never drive when you are tired, sick, or have had a drink.”

Him: “I–”

Me: “Because any of those behaviors will slow down your reaction time.”

Him: “But, I don’t–”

Me: “This is serious, brother. Serious. Think about it for a minute. Let’s say you’re tired. Just a little tired and a car coming from the other direction is loaded with a family with seven little children and the driver of that car turns right in front of you? Right in front of you! Or what if a drunk person on the freeway veers right into your lane? What are you going to do then?”

Him: “Well, I–”

Me: “No, seriously, this guy is aiming right for you. He’s drunk and you’re tired and your eyes are itchy. What are you going to do? What?”

Him: “I know exactly what I’d do in that situation.”

Me: (all huffy) “What?”

Him: “It’s obvious. I’m pulling over onto the shoulder and wait for that family I’m supposed to wipe out.”Suzi 600

A decade was spent in undergraduate and graduate school and teaching at the University of Texas at Austin. I’d been in school so long that when I took my first real job in the Governor’s Office and was told that I was expected to be in my office from nine to five—I asked Assistant to the Governor if that would be on Monday-Wednesday-Friday? or Tuesday-Thursday?

Research in graduate school led me to write The Special Educator: Stress and Survival. One day a decade or so ago, blind foolishness won out over good sense and I decided to write a mystery series with ta-da a female psychologist. My first mystery went to Echelon Press–Too Rich and Too Thin, NOT an Autobiography.

Picture 001coverToo Rich and Too Thin, Not an Autobiography is here has Dr. Jessica in the jungles of Mexico, the cowboy haunts of West Texas and New Mexico all in search of the man who killed her husband. We’re talking making movies, Billy the Kid, Navajo Charley Dreadfulwater, Yaquis, Austin-Texans, and Nazis. Eating disorders and a mother who would stop at nothing to make her family perfect.

Actually, more than idiocy led me to write fiction. A tragedy happened in my family-to my family. I wanted to write about it so that someone else going through anything close would know there’s one person who knows how it feels.

So how do I write about the worst thing that’s ever happened or could happen? A humorous mystery, of course!Scan001

The Mercy, recently published, is actually Volume One of the Jessica LeFave series. The Mercy was the story I set out to tell when I started fiction but the first twenty or so drafts were so pitiful I put it aside and worked on another story which turned out to be Too Rich

The Mercy is more psychological thriller than mystery but one has to choose a category and the story opens with Dr. Jessica LeFave’s best friend dead in her horse’s stall posed on an altar to Santa Muerte. From there, Jessica, already tipping into scary emotional areas after the recent suicide of her stepdaughter, sets out to find the killer. Will Jessica find peace? Will she survive her search in Mexico City for a murderer?



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