As a business psychologist, I advise large corporations on executive performance and leadership development. My work has some similarities to sports psychology, as I’m hired to increase the success of executives who are already performing at the top of their game; so doing even better is down to subtle refinements of leadership that can make a powerful impact on business results.
In order to help my clients, I am widely trained in an extensive range of human change methods and techniques, from traditional therapies and psychological frameworks to the contemporary methods of positive psychology that impact the dynamics of thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Psychological resilience is a hot topic in corporate psychology at the moment, and I am experienced in the techniques that promote this.
I spend my working days in close communication with executives, either one on one or within their teams. Understanding the organisational context is important, and I need a good business grasp of the strategic aims, culture and goals of the client company, and of the broader corporate world.
My two novels, Honor’s Shadow and Honor’s Ghost are psychological dramas, aimed at a general readership. Because of their focus on personal relationships, they may have more appeal for women.
Dr Honor Sinclair is a psychiatrist and psychotherapist and her personal and professional challenges tangle, facing her with profound dilemmas.
Honor’s Shadow, was published in 2011 by Karnac, a publisher that traditionally specialises in psychology titles, who decided to start a selected fiction list, of books with a psychological theme and/or written by psychologists. The novel is a tale of secrets, betrayal and revenge in marriage. Honor’s memory of her husband’s marital infidelity is ignited when she meets Tisi, a strange new client, distraught at her husband’s betrayal. Honor struggles to maintain her professional distance as old scars re-open, clouding her judgment, and stimulating her desire for revenge.
In Honor’s Ghost, my almost finished novel, Honor faces a new dilemma as a mesh of interconnecting pressures threaten her marriage. Her professional knowledge is of limited help to her personally: what she really longs for is advice from her great grandmother, Annie, who died before Honor was born. When Honor is asked to participate in clinical trials for a drug for anxiety and depressive disorders, which appears to stimulate ancestral memories, she is tempted to experiment with the drug herself….
I plan a third novel in the Honor series, Honor’s Spirit, a work of speculative fiction set fifty years in the future. The main character is Isabelle, Honor’s great granddaughter, who is a neuro-scientist. Like Honor, Isabelle faces complex dilemmas both professionally and personally.
After that, I’m going to write something completely different. Which I’m looking forward to.
Being a practicing psychologist has both advantages and disadvantages for me as a writer. My fiction writing has been praised for its depth of characterisation, and I think that’s a direct result of my psychological understanding of character and personality, which helps me create well rounded, real people, with all their strengths, flaws and contradictions.
My fascination with the complex psychological challenges of dilemmas is a perfect topic for my fiction writing, but I sometimes struggle to hold the line between the scientific discipline of psychology and the imaginative world of story telling. I have a tendency to include diversions and sub plots around psychological details that capture my interest, but that are not strictly necessary to my plot and can even obscure the central story line, muffling its impact. So I have to be pretty brutal at the editing stage.
Despite these challenges, fiction writing is the perfect marriage of my two passions in life, psychology and creative writing, and I am profoundly grateful to be able to both listen to people’s real life stories in my psychology practice, and to imagine brand new stories as a novelist.
Thanks, Voula. If you'd like to find out more about Voula and her writing, click on the images to go to her website and/or Amazon page. Or ask a question via the comments here.