There are countless resources available to us in our wellness, mental health journey. Here is a list of some of the books that have shaped my therapeutic practice, both personally and professionally.
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.
This book is a wonderful exploration of trauma, and a resource for ways in which all of us carry trauma, anxiety, and depression physically around with us. Dr. van der Kolk is the founder and medical director of the Trauma Center in Brookline, MA, as well as a professor of psychiatry at Boston University. His work explores war veterans, children of alcoholics, and survivors of domestic and physical violence. Trauma impacts our ability to experience pleasure and engagement. This book is a resource for navigating healing trauma, and understanding the mind/body connection.
The Gifts of Imperfection. Brené Brown.
Granted, all of Brené Brown’s books are incredible reads! What I love about The Gifts of Imperfection is the step-by-step process she outlines for us to challenge our self-identified perfectionism, and find ways to truly and fully live into who we are and become our true selves. This book celebrates being you!
Deeper Dating. Ken Page
Right now, dating apps are encouraging their users to connect with potential dates remotely. These apps are taking a very active stance in following the shelter-in-place guidelines. Your dating life does not have to come to a complete end! Ken Page, a fellow New York City psychotherapist, has developed a wonderful guide to dating in the modern era. Unlike other dating books, Page encourages the reader to first identify their “core gifts” or their values. It allows for wonderful reflection and self-identification, that strengthens our future connections with potential dates.
Self-Compassion. Kristin Neff
We use a lot of terms in this work, oftentimes without ever really explaining them! Trust, integrity, empathy, values, and self-compassion. I love Kristin Neff’s work because she clearly defines what self-compassion is. A researcher and associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin, Neff has defined and revolutionized the ways in which we speak to ourselves, soothe ourselves, and show ourselves the love we all deserve. She has created a Self-Compassion Scale, an evaluative tool that is available on her website (www.self-compassion.org). This scale allows you to identify specific areas to target improving your self-compassion. She also defines three core components to self-compassion: mindfulness, self-kindness, and common humanity. Mindfulness is the act of being present. Self-kindness is speaking kindly and gently to ourselves, as well as doing kind acts of service for ourselves. Common humanity is the understanding that we are all in this together: suffering is a universal experience. Her book, as well as a companion workbook and activities on her website, provide us with hands-on ways to practice self-compassion every day. Her work is so relevant that mental health professionals in various differing disciplines site her work. A must read!