#159 – Therapist to The Hollywood Stars


Dennis Palumbo, M.A., MFT is a writer and licensed psychotherapist in private practice, specializing in creative issues. He’s the author of Writing From the Inside Out, as well as a new collection of mystery short stories, From Crime to Crime.

Formerly a Hollywood screenwriter, his credits include the feature film My Favorite Year, for which he was nominated for a WGA Award for Best Screenplay. He was also a staff writer for the ABC-TV series Welcome Back, Kotter, and has written numerous series episodes and pilots.

He’s the author of a novel, City Wars, and his short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, The Strand and elsewhere. He provides feature articles and reviews for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, EMMY Magazine, and many others. His column, “The Writer’s Life,” appeared monthly for six years in Written By, the magazine of the Writers Guild of America. Currently, he’s a contributing writer to The Lancet, Britain’s leading medical journal, and does commentary for NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

Dennis conducts workshops throughout the country. Recent appearances include the Family Therapy Network Annual Symposium, the Association for Humanistic Psychology, Cal State Northridge, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, PEN West, the Writers Guild Foundation, the Los Angeles Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, Screenwriting Expo, USC, the Directors Guild, and UCLA.

A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and Pepperdine University, he serves on the faculty of UCLA Extension, where he was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year.

A psychology podcast by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.



  1. Posted June 25, 2008 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Many gifted and talented people suffer at times from a lack of healthy self esteem.

    Biographer Larry Kane commented, “People would be surprised at how insecure John Lennon was, and his lack of self esteem. Throughout his life, even during the height of Beatle mania, he had poor self esteem, even though he exuded confidence.”

    Another example: Nobel Prize laureate poet and writer Czeslaw Milosz confessed: “From early on writing for me has been a way to overcome my real or imagined worthlessness.”

    More in my post talented & insecure.

  2. Rick V.
    Posted July 31, 2008 at 2:29 am | Permalink

    Great show. I think some forget that to realize major accomplishments requires hard work and the belief that we have something particularly valuable to offer the world. I loved your last question of the interview Dave because, lucky for me, it’s one I wanted answered. I think a second interview with Dennis would be very interesting, there were lots of intriguing roads that you didn’t have time to travel far down.

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