Part II: What should lawyers know about psychology?

In my last post I gave some examples of how insights from psychology can help lawyers to serve their clients and society more effectively, and I promised a short book list of helpful titles. The list turned out to be longer than I anticipated, and I added some other suggestions as well!

But that’s all good news. It means there are many ways to dive into these topics. I won’t claim to have read everything below cover-to-cover, but I’ve spent enough time with each to make a positive recommendation. Here goes:


For lawyers and law students who are interested in how legal practice can integrate insights from psychology and counseling, the following make for a useful core collection of works. There’s some overlap among these books in terms of subject matter and chapter authors, but I wouldn’t consider that a problem.

Susan L. Brooks and Robert G. Madden, eds., Relationship-Centered Lawyering: Social Science Theory for Transforming Legal Practice (2010).

Susan Swaim Daicoff, Comprehensive Law Practice: Law as a Healing Profession (2011).

Marjorie A. Silver, ed., The Affective Assistance of Counsel: Practicing Law as a Healing Profession (2007).

Dennis P. Stolle, David B. Wexler, and Bruce J. Winick, eds., Practicing Therapeutic Jurisprudence: Law as a Helping Profession (2000).

J. Kim Wright, Lawyers as Peacemakers: Practicing Holistic, Problem-Solving Law (2010).

Related websites

The International Network on Therapeutic Jurisprudence includes a continually updated bibliographical database of relevant law review articles and publications.

Cutting Edge Law offers a wealth of information on alternative, holistic approaches to legal practice.

The American Psychology-Law Society is a division of the American Psychological Association.

Continuing legal education

The new Integrative Law Institute offers courses, workshops, and programs on law as a healing profession.

For those who want to dig deeply into mental disability law, New York Law School offers online graduate and certificate programs.


Eugene Kennedy and Sara C. Charles, On Becoming a Counselor: A Basic Guide for Nonprofessional Counselors and Other Helpers (3rd ed. 2001) is a very helpful introduction to mental health issues commonly encountered by those in helping professions.


Textbooks get a bad rap from educators and students alike, but good textbooks can lay out a topic with breadth and depth. I’m happy to recommend any recent editions of the following:

Barbara R. Bjorklund, The Journey of Adulthood.

Frank J. Landy and Jeffrey M. Conte, Work in the 21st Century: An Introduction to Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

David G. Myers, Psychology.

David G. Myers, Social Psychology.

Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, (Ab)normal Psychology.


Coursera offers free online courses taught by professors at schools around the world. A number of psychology offerings are part of their current catalog.

The Great Courses a/k/a The Teaching Company sells digitally recorded courses on various topics featuring leading professors, including psychology and related subjects.


Scientific American Mind gets top marks for high quality, readable articles.

Psychology Today has become a tabloid version of Scientific American Mind, but it hosts an excellent array of blogs.

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