Confession-I’m a bit of a book nerd and collector (I would say hoarder, but thankfully, given my profession, I know enough to keep just below threshold for meeting the criteria). I absolutely love all you can learn from reading. I love it even more when my clients ask me for recommendations for what to read. While I have a literal list of book recommendations for specific things that may come up in therapy, I have a handful of books that I recommend to almost everyone. Here are the top five:
1) Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson
Dr. Sue Johnson, the creator of Emotionally Focused Therapy, writes about relationships in a way that is incredibly relatable. She brings her understanding of relationships as an attachment bond and knowledge gained from years of working with couples to this book. I recommend everyone read this book, regardless of if they are in a romantic relationship. It helps create a deeper understanding of ourselves and how we relate to others as well as why it is so important to have deep and meaningful relationships in our lives.
2) The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk
This is the best book I have found for understanding how trauma impacts the mind, body and psyche. While there are parts of this book that are very scientific (great for anyone who likes to nerd out on neurobiology), Van Der Kolk does a wonderful job of synthesizing the information into something that can be understood by all. I recommend this to all client because it greatly helps normalize a reaction to trauma and can assist clients in developing a deeper understanding of ourselves.
3) Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Glennon Doyle has an authenticity, honesty, and tenderness that is incredibly healing in its own right. However, the main reason I recommend this book is because of her “keys” to becoming who we are meant to be. I have yet to find a more clear, real, and succinct guide to connecting with your authentic self.
4) Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents by Gibson
Another great book that builds self-knowledge, self-awareness, and self-compassion. This book provides insight into how we learn to adapt when we grow up in a family system that did not meet our needs. This book challenges the unfortunately prevalent and very incorrect belief that if our parents were not physically abusive we had a “normal” childhood. Gibson’s approach is clear and compassionate and I love how she helps build insight into the family system without blaming or demonizing your parents.
5) How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids will Talk by Faber and Mazlish
I absolutely love how this book gives clear items to implement into your life. There is no guidebook on how to parent, but this is about as close as we’ll ever get. In addition to the original book, there are also variations for little kids and teens. I recommend this book to anyone who is a parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent, babysitter or is around children for any length of time. Also, bonus note: Anything by Daniel Siegel is also amazing for any parent to read!
Sometimes life can be a struggle. Some parts of ourselves and our pasts can be uncomfortable and difficult to share with someone else. Therapy is a safe place where those memories and parts of our self that bring shame and hurt can be met with compassion, empathy, and support. As a therapist, I am here to help guide you through life’s troubles and help you to create a space where you can be heard. My goal is to help people reconnect, discover their strength, and identify their authentic self. I seek to help people improve their relationships with themselves and those they love most in their lives.
Anyone following the news is finding themselves in a place of abnormal isolation. While the world is shutting down in many regards, we remain in the constant presence of our own thoughts. Regardless of how you view the current international crisis, your life has changed compared to just a few weeks ago.