If you enjoy reading, here are a number of books that I recommend to my clients. While this is not an exhaustive list of all the books I recommend, these are the ones that people seem to enjoy the most!
THE HAPPINESS ADVANTAGE
Positive Psychology is a field of psychology in which researchers look at what it takes to increases happiness and wellness in a person, rather than simply looking at how to remove mental illness. This book discusses the latest research in positive psychology and what you could implement into your life to increase your happiness. This is one of my favourite psychology books and I re-read it every year or so!
WAKING THE TIGER: Healing Trauma
Dr. Peter Levine
This book is a fantastic read for anyone who is struggling with symptoms after a traumatic incident. Levine goes into detail about how trauma impacts the body and how healing is about using the body’s natural resources to release the pent-up energy the trauma has created. The benefit of this book is that it is written in very simple language, which makes it very accessible to those who want to build their understanding without needing to earn a biology degree.
THE BODY REMEMBERS: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment
This book can help folks learn to manage and heal their trauma symptoms. Part 1 of takes a deep dive into the physiology of trauma. This section can be a little tricky to understand, and is probably best for someone who wants a very deep understanding of trauma. Someone who just wants the basics probably would find this section to be a little too in-depth. Part 2 talks about tools and techniques that can be used to manage and heal your trauma.
WHEN THE BODY SAYS NO: The Cost of Hidden Stress
Dr. Gabor Maté
This book discusses the psychological components of common physical illnesses, such as cancer, ALS, IBS and MS. Dr. Maté discusses how repressing our emotions impacts our immune system and can result in physical illness. While everything Maté discusses is based on research, he makes this book very engaging and easy to read by including lots of true stories. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand how stress and psychological factors impact physical illnesses.
TAKING SEXY BACK: How to Own Your Sexuality and Create the Relationships You Want
Dr. Alexandra Solomon
If you don’t feel empowered and alive in your sexuality, this book is for you. Dr. Solomon helps folks reconnect with their sexuality in a healthy way. Not only is this book written with all genders and sexual preferences in mind, it also considers factors like how our society, family values and characteristics such as gender and ethnicity, impact our sexuality. Dr. Solomon provides simple exercises and journal prompts for you to use.
MAYBE YOU SHOULD TALK TO SOMEONE
Have you ever wanted to be a fly on a wall in someone else’s therapy session? Maybe gain the insights they got from therapy without attending yourself? Or maybe get a sense of what therapy may be like before you decide to try it yourself? Psychotherapist Gottlieb gives us access to her own personal therapy journey as well as those of four of her clients in this book. A great read for anyone who wants to understand the therapy process a little more.
MIND OVER MOOD: Change How You Feel By Changing The Way You Think
Drs. Dennis Greenberger & Christine Padesky
This book is classic in cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). It starts by teaching you in very simple terms what CBT is and then helps you learn to use it to change your mood. I use this book a lot in my practice and often give my clients photo copies of different sections to really drive home what we discussed in session. If you are wanting to try CBT or brush up on some skills you already learnt, I highly recommend this book.
THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES FOR MAKING MARRIAGE WORK
Dr. John Gottman
If you want a cheat sheet for marriage, this is the book for you. Dr. Gottman has done a lot of research on what creates relationships that thrive and has explained it in such an easy, clear way. This book is a must-read for everyone who is in (or wants to be in) a relationship. Not only does this book discuss what causes marriages/relationships to crumble, it clearly states what makes relationships work and gives fun exercises to practice these skills.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR GRIEF: 10 Touchstones for Finding Hope and Healing your Heart
Dr. Alan Wolfelt
Many people view grief as a problem that needs to be fixed, when grief is actually a natural process that our body undergoes after loss. This book takes a beautiful approach to healing and helps guide you through the process while allowing you the space to grieve as you need. Dr. Wolfelt is very well known and well respected when it comes to grief work and this book is a fantastic resource to have as you mourn a loss.
LOVING BRAVELY: Twenty Lessons of Self-Discovery to Help You Get the Love You Want
Dr. Alexandra Solomon
The title of this book makes it seem like this book is about finding a relationship but this book is truly about creating a healthy relationship yourself. Dr. Solomon works as a marriage counsellor which means that she has filled with book with actual exercises that she uses with her clients. I love this book because it is so actionable and really guides you to building a new relationship with yourself.
THE GIFTS OF IMPERFECTION: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
Dr. Brene Brown
Brene Brown is almost a celebrity these days and there’s good reason for it! Her books are based in a lot of research but then written so that they are easy to understand and very applicable to every day life. While she has many amazing books, I chose to include this one on my list because I think that it is a very foundational book to help you understand how to begin embrace your true self.
SWITCH: How to Change Things When Change is Hard
Drs. Chip and Dan Heath
Creating change is really hard because of how our brain works. The Heaths take really complicated concepts about the brain and make them super understandable to help you learn how to create change in your life. This book doesn’t talk about what changes make, but rather about HOW to make the changes, meaning that this book is perfect for someone who knows already what changes they want to make but needs help making them.