Suggested Reading

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Reading, learning, and understanding new information about your health, mental health, and well-being is an important part of getting better. Whether you are working on improving your current or future relationships, relieving anxiety, overcoming depression, moving through grief, or focusing on your upward and inward trajectory throughout your life, exercising your brain feels good, and builds the internal resources you need to feel better. It’s also nice to find a book on panic disorder with 10 trillion copies sold, and realize “I’m not the only one!”

I hope that this by no means exhaustive list of resources will be helpful to you as you arrange time each day to learn and grow!

For Survivors of Trauma and Abuse:

  • The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel van der Kolk
  • Waking the Tiger by Peter Levine
  • Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman
  • The Courage to Heal by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis. The seminal guide to healing from the trauma of childhood sexual abuse.

For Anxiety and Panic:

  • The Anxiety and Phobia Workbookby Edmund J Bourne.
    • Just practical. Your anxiety can’t improve unless you make time daily to relax your body, breathe, and work on not judging yourself. This workbook helps calm it all down.
  • The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook. By McKay, Wood, and Brantley
    • You probably don’t have a personality disorder, but DBT skills can help you anyway, as you seek to understand and manage your unruly emotions.
  • Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook. by Davis, Eshelman, and McKay
  • Full Catastrophe Living by Kabat-Zinn Good skills and a guided approach to reducing chronic pain, but also anxiety.

Mindfulness Information and Skills:

  • Anything by Rick Hansen: particularly Buddha’s Brain, Just One Thing, and Resilient. He is great at explaining why we feel all stressed out, and what we can do to calm down our galloping minds and bodies.
  • Anything by Jack Kornfield, particularly The Wise Heart, and Meditation for Beginners. He is a Buddhist Psychologist and his books are interesting explorations of mindfulness philosophy and practice.
  • Radical Acceptance, by Tara Brach. You will recognize yourself, and then feel better knowing you aren’t alone.
  • Real Happiness, by Sharon Salzburg

Relationships and Marriage:

  • Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson. Why, when we love each other so much, do we keep falling into the same lousy damaging arguments? How on Earth can we learn to knock it off? This book helps us understand why we are so desperate for connection and how we can learn to feel safe with our partner.
  • Anything by the Gottmans, particularly the 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work and The Relationship Cure. The Gottmans are super wonky scientists who have the Love Lab, where they hook couples up to electrodes and then instruct them to argue (well, it’s a little more sophisticated than that…). They can apparently predict with excellent accuracy who will be married in 5 years based on about 5 minutes of Love Lab observation. Anyway, they have the lowdown on what leads to divorce, and how to create healthy relationships that last.

Sexuality and Sexual Health:

  • Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski. You are OK, and there is nothing wrong with you, your body, or your sexual desires/practices/fantasies. Boom.
  • Multi-Orgasmic Woman by Rachel Carlton Abrams and Chia Mantak. Specific exercises, meditations, and practices to help with sexual health.

Understanding Abusive Relationships:

  • Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft. Excellent breakdown of the tactics and strategies used by verbally/physically abusive people to control their partners. Describes abusive men; the tactics are the same when women use verbal/physical abuse for control.
  • All of Patricia Evans’ books, especially The Verbally Abusive Relationship. She really gets to the meat of the matter. You are in one reality, and your abusive partner isn’t joining you there. She describes the terrible toll that being in a relationship with an abusive partner takes on our overall well-being, and how to begin to heal.
  • Psychopath Free by Jackson MacKenzie. Title speaks for itself, I think.

Substance Use:

  • Beyond Addiction; how Science and Kindness help People Change, by Foote, Wilkins, and Kosanke. How you can help your substance-disordered partner by helping yourself.
  • Unbroken Brain; a New Way of Understanding Addiction, by Maia Szalavitz.
  • Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs. by Johann Hari

More Titles to come! Enjoy!