In this section of my website I recommend a few books that I think would be helpful in any persons path to personal growth and development.
8 Keys to Safe Trauma Recovery
by Babette Rothschild
Babette does something in this book that makes it stand out from any other self help book I have read up to this point. Not only does she self disclose in ways that are inherently counter-shaming but she also instills attunement into the book by encouraging the reader to use mindfulness while reading the chapters and keys that she provides. Her use of mindfulness is planted throughout the book and encourages readers to decide for themselves what is applicable to them. This not only takes the pressure off of someone with PTSD to “hurry up and get better” but it concurrently gives power to the reader which is what most of trauma treatment is and should be about. I’m not sure why the 8 series came up with the number 8, (I’m noticing that it’s one more than the previous trend of 7) but Babetts’s list of 8 is thorough and helpful. She also does what she does best in some of her previous books. She proposes themes of trauma and trauma treatment and proposes solutions and avenues to respond to these themes rather than proposing and selling a specific method. Methods are great until they fail and they will fail because the nature of the human spirit can not be folded into and understood by any single method. Babette’s book is collaborate, insightful, and should be at the least a great start for anybody suffering with PTSD.
Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving
by Pete Walker
In this book Pete walker does an amazing job relaying and articulating in writing the internal reality of suffering from CPTSD, other wise known as Developmental Trauma. Pete’s book focuses on the impacts of abusive and neglectful relationships and their impacts on adult survivors. Pete clarifies both the emotional reality of those suffering from CPTSD but also points to the realities of the road to healing and thriving. In this book he points to the spectrum of surviving to thriving and proposes a non judgmental take on healing that embraces steps back as opportunities for steps forward. This book is written in a counter shaming fashion that normalizes and in fact speaks to the strengths of those suffering from CPTSD as well as proposes pathways forward towards integration and growth. Pete describes emotional flashbacks in a way that would help anybody understand otherwise non rational PTSD behavior. In this book he also proposes helpful and necessary strategies for confronting flashbacks and affording longterm healing for the deep suffering that would otherwise torment the CPTSD survivor but in truth offer deep opportunities for healing. Pete’s level of self disclosure in this book also allows the reader to feel that they are not alone as they turn each page, an experience that is deeply healing in and of itself.
Wired for Love: How Understanding Your Partner’s Brain and Attachment Style can Help you Defuse Conflict and Build a Secure Relationship
by Stan Tatkin
Stan does a wonderful job in this book helping individuals to identify their own attachment style, their partners style, and how to protect the integrity of your relationship as well as stay available to each other as resources. There are numerous exercises and concepts that lend from the burgeoning field of attachment research and it’s implications on adult attachment and satisfying relationships. For example Stan discusses rituals regarding, sleeping and waking, coming and going, eyecontact and fighting productively. Intelligently written and proactive in the exercises it provides I highly recommend this book as a support option for couples who are looking to consolidate and deepen their sense of security with each other.
The 5 Love Languages, The Secret to Love that lasts
by Gary Chapman
What I love most about this book is that Gary gets honest in the first chapter about how falling in love is wonderful and staying in love takes commitment. Gary debunks the myth that being in love will always feel like bliss and that one should eternally strive for that bliss state. I appreciate Gary’s use of plain language and that he doesn’t turn love into an overly scientific affair. Through Gary’s use of the 5 love languages he gives couples a fast and effective way to have an impact on their current state of feeling understood, valued, and loved in their romantic relationship. He gives an easy way to diagnose your and your partner’s love language, and even provides ideas for how to speak that language effectively with your partner. I am aware that their is a Christian ethic throughout the book that shows up momentarily in languaging and towards the end of the book and may present no issue for some and will evoke concerns for others. That said you do not need to be Christian in order to take home a lot from reading this book as that has been the case for me.
The Whole-Brain Child
by Dan Siegel M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson PH.D
Dan has done it again in teaming up with Tina Bryson to provide parents with the latest in appropriate parenting styles. This book is based on decades of neurobiological research, attachment studies, and contemporary psychotherapy. Dan and Tina provide easy highlights and take aways that describe both how to approach parenting but also why. In the back of this book they even consolidate and make available the key lessons written throughout. This book goes very well when paired with No-Drama Discipline, a guide to appropriately and responsively disciplining your children.
A General Theory of Love
by Thomas Lewis, M.D., Fari Amini, M.D., Richard Lannon, M.D.
What a book! This popular book provides a very captivating read about the nature of love and how it is impacted by attachment and memory. This book has been referenced in nearly every training modality I have partaken in. It is well written, uses scientific studies to back its materials, and covers a vast number of topics. Topics range vastly enough to include how the past impacts the way we treat the present, what is helpful and unhelpful in psychotherapy, and how and why people choose the partners that they do. I have personally been changed forever as a man and a therapist through my process of reading this book. I’ll say this, I tried to read this book years ago and I found the first chapter difficult to metabolize due to languaging, keep going its worth it.
by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.
Mindsight is a good read for psychotherapists and the layperson alike. It covers the most important topics such as; brains and how they function, awareness and it’s impact on psychology and psychopathology, how mind and body work together, Trauma and recovery, attachment and how it impacts our narrative, and how relationships can enhance our sense of belonging and change our brains. What I appreciate about this book the most is that Dan takes each section and looks at it through a case study of a patient. I found myself relating to his patients both as a client and a therapist.
Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships, Healing the Wound of the Heart
by John Welwood
I have always appreciated John Welwood’s writing and as I have come to expect this book was par for the course. This book really brings together the dimensions of spirituality and psychology and in the process takes the reader on both the high road of spirituality and the low road of psychology. John beautifully points to a particular divine love as way of being with oneself that emanates throughout humanity and shows up in all forms of spirituality. John eloquently points us inside to find the ways that we have not allowed this love in. He gently holds us accountable to this starvation while concurrently being compassionate to our historical factors that contribute to a sense of lack and disconnectedness. Then, very beautifully John provides methods, meditations, and concepts that allow the reader to find what is already there… Perfect Love…May it be your lifelong task to integrate the teachings of this book.