Exploring the Essentials of Healthy Personality
What Is Normal?
by Camay Woodall, PhD
July 2014, 346pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-3194-2
$75, £58, 66€, A103
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3195-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

For all of the societal pressure to be normal, who can say what “normal” is?

What are the elements upon which a healthy personality is built? This fascinating book identifies the key components and shares vivid case studies that demonstrate what happens when those elements are missing.

What is “normal” when it comes to human personality? And is it possible to achieve emotional health through intended effort, just like physical health? Clinical psychologist Camay Woodall, PhD, addresses these complex questions and many more in this work that cogently discusses the parameters of emotional health. This book covers historical concepts; examines personality at its formative stages and beyond; explains how “normal behavior” varies widely, yet emotional symptoms are definable; and pinpoints the common aspects of normality in human personality, such as the need for social connection, the struggle for realism, and the ability to come to terms with guilt.

Covering topics that include anxiety; self-esteem; depression; food (and the abuses of it), sex, love, and intimacy; shame and guilt; and spirituality, this book identifies common sources of dysfunctional personality traits and stresses the importance of individual responsibility in each area. Each chapter is richly illustrated by actual case studies from the author’s 30 years of experience. The book will be of interest and highly useful to undergraduate or graduate-level students of psychotherapy, individuals undergoing therapy, parents who are concerned about their own or their family’s behavior, and general readers.


  • Underscores the universal and key importance of healthy relationships in achieving emotional health and happiness
  • Provides clear, accessible, and educational text that includes vignettes in each chapter to illustrate key points
  • Identifies parallels between emotional health and subjective feelings of "happiness" and well-being
  • Examines the root causes for common personality traits and behaviors such as aggression, eating disorders, guilt, intolerance, narcissism, and shame
Camay Woodall, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice. She was trained at the Johns Hopkins Hospital Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, where she held a faculty position for six years. Woodall worked in biochemistry research for ten years while doing graduate work in psychology. She holds a doctorate in psychology from Rutgers University, Newark, NJ. Her published work includes articles in Adolescent Psychiatry and International Journal of Eating Disorders as well as the chapter "The use of Metaphor/Poetry Therapy in the Treatment of the Reticent Subgroup of Anorectic Patients" in the book Experiential Therapies for Eating Disorders.


"Based on her decades of experience as a psychotherapist, the author, Camay Woodall, demonstrates her remarkable ability to take understandable, everyday interpersonal situations and use them to reveal profound interpersonal psychological truths. She accomplishes this insightfully and with seeming ease. In plain English and without jargon, Woodall unfolds convoluted interpersonal behavior and underlying motivation, helping us see with clarity what makes us tick."—Barry R. Komisaruk, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Rutgers University

"This extraordinary and well-cited compilation of psychological research is masterfully embroidered by Woodall’s clinical expertise. Patient encounters unfold as exemplary and poignant stories, which compel the reader to “read-on.” This scientific masterpiece is well researched and profoundly readable, and will forever support my work with patient care in the field of mind-body medicine."—Ariane Cometa, MD, Integrative Family Medicine, Founder of the Cometa Wellness Center, www.cometawellnesscenter.com

"So what is normal? In this wonderfully written book, Dr. Woodall defines normal behavior and explores its relationship to health and happiness. Using her years of experience in research and private practice she clarifies the importance of life experiences and motivation in our behavior and relationships. She does this in layman’s terms and with case histories that demonstrate important aspects of personality such as self-esteem, shame and guilt, sexuality and intimacy, self-soothing, and spirituality. She puts us on her patient’s couch and gives us hope and guidance that we can reach those goals of health and happiness."—Randolph Whipps, MD, FACC, Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine; Medical Director, Life Med Institute, Baltimore, Maryland
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