Resources for Clients
Many clients find reading provides a helpful resource as they explore options for improving their lives and relationships. These are some of the books they have found helpful over the years. Not every book is for everybody. So, I encourage you to find ones that seem to be a good fit for you and work with those.
Depression, Anxiety, and Stress
Depression and anxiety have become the nation’s most common disorders with 18% of the adult population experiencing anxiety and 7% experiencing clinical depression in a given year. Despite the high rate of incidence, depression and anxiety are highly responsive to psychotherapy treatment. Avoiding relapse involves learning to manage stress in a way that is effective, practical, and easily doable for you. These books can be useful in learning to manage stress, depression, and anxiety.
Authentic Happiness is a great introduction to the science of happiness, positive psychology. Strangely, what most of us think will make us happy in the long-term, only provides a short-term boost of happiness. And things we don’t think contribute that much to happiness, really are the key to long-term happiness. This book is a great option if you feel like you have much of what should make you happy, yet it still seems elusive.
Written by UCLA interpersonal neurobiology pioneer Dan Siegel, Mindsight is a straightforward approach to reducing stress, anxiety, and depression by learning to observe the mind in action. Mindsight offers readers a visual and systematic approach to managing difficult emotions in a more effective way without denying or drowning in them. Siegel’s down-to-earth style makes his approach easy to learn and practice. This is a great option for visual learners and those who want a practical approach to managing their emotions.
Written by Oprah’s life coach, Finding Your Own North Star a fun, down-to-earth read on identifying what really makes you happy and what does not. Peppered with pointed humor, this book takes you on a step-by-step process of how to get your own version of happy, including how to deal with beliefs, emotions, and relationships that hold you back. A book for action-oriented folks, each chapter has worksheets to help you figure out the right steps for you. If you can’t stand the typical self-help book, this is a good option for you.
The Depression Cure addresses many lifestyle issues that create and maintain depression, such as eating, sleeping, exercise, and social connections. This book is essential if you have moderate to severe depression and you want to avoid anti-depressant medication and/or you have been seriously depressed more than once in life. In fact, it is relevant for anyone wanting to find greater physical and emotional wellness in the 21st century.
Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life uses a workbook format to help address unhelpful thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that result in feeling stressed, depressed, and/or anxious. This book is based on a leading evidence-based therapy approach, acceptance and commitment therapy, that integrates contemporary cognitive-behavioral therapy with some mindfulness-based concepts (don’t worry, no meditating involved: see mindfulness books below if you’d like to do that). This is a great text if you are action- or solution-oriented and get a sense of enjoy from taking practical steps to address concerns in your life.
The Mindful Way is a mindfulness-based workbook that outlines an 8-week program for learning how to respond to anxious and depressing thoughts in new ways. It is based on the number one evidence-based program for preventing depression relapse (i.e., having another depressive episode after successfully treatment with medication, psychotherapy, or both). Essentially, anyone who has struggled with depression or anxiety can likely benefit from this book to not only reduce symptoms but prevent them from coming back. The book has recorded mindfulness meditations that come with the book.
The Dialectic Behavioral Therapy Workbook teaches the life skills we all should have learned more of earlier in life: distress tolerance, emotional regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and cognitive versions of mindfulness. Based on a leading evidence-based therapy model, DBT was specifically designed to help people learn to cope with overwhelming emotions, even one never learned to do so early in life. DBT is also helps with trauma recovery, especially when do to childhood abuse.
The Body Keeps Score provides a comprehensive overview of current trauma treatment. The book provides a user-friendly explanation of the neurobiology of trauma, which helps one understand the reason for symptoms such as flashbacks and nightmares, and specifically addresses what happens to children’s development when they experience trauma that goes untreated. The book then lays out numerous leading approaches to treating trauma, providing survivors the option to identify what works best for their personal needs, circumstances, and preferences.
As the title implies, The PTSD Workbook provides trauma survivors with a practical guidebook for working through difficult symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, hypervigilance (i.e., living on eggshells), and dissociation. When combined with psychotherapy in which memories are reprocessed, these techniques can be very helpful in quickly learning to manage these difficult situations and return to a more normal life.
Couples and Relationships
Written by a leading relationship researcher, The Seven Principles that Make a Marriage Work provides anyone in a committed relationship with research-based recommendations for what one should focus on to have a successful relationship. Whether beginning a new relationship, in a stable one, or between relationships, this book is a classic for understanding the essential behaviors and attitudes needed to succeed while also correcting many myths about committed relationships.
Written by the developer of one of the only two evidence-based treatments for distressed couples, Hold Me Tight provides an outstanding roadmap for maintaining a health relationship. The first three chapters on adult attachment in romantic relationships should be required reading for everyone who turns 18 years of age. Sue Johnson clearly outlines the underlying emotional and survival role intimate relationships play in our lives and uses this explain why we can behave so badly once committed. She then outlines seven conversations she recommends couples should have to create an emotionally safe relationship for years to come. This book is essential for anyone wanting a stable, long-term relationship.
Written by the developer of one of the only two evidence-based treatments for distressed couples (Sue Johnson’s was the other), Reconcilable Differences is the leading cognitive-behavioral approach to helping couples build long-term, satisfying relationships. The book helps partners to examine their differences and find new ways to understand each other, communicate better, and solve problems effectively. This is another essential read for anyone wanting to improve the quality of their current or future relationships.
The Whole Brain Child provides parents with the latest understanding of childhood development, emphasizing what children need for optimum social, intellectual, and neurological development. The book provides practical parenting advice to help parents learn how to set healthy limits while also developing social skills and facilitating optimal brain growth. It is an outstanding guide for parenting in the 21st century.
Magic 1-2-3 is an essential guide for any parenting struggling with children’s behavior issues ages 3-12. If you happened to not start off particularly good at setting limits, this is your essential guide to getting children to listen without drama. And, it ALWAYS works if you can do it calm, without drama, and consistently. It is a very gentle approach to regaining control. If your child has impulse control issues, including ADHD, this book is a must.
Based on positive psychology research, Raising Happiness teaches parents how to raise their children in a way that promotes a lifetime of happiness. Much of the advice is not intuitive and may not be shared by the Jones’ down the street. But in a nation where anxiety and depression are epidemic in children and adults, it is well worth some time to consider these evidence-informed guidelines for raising children who know how to maintain their own happiness, even when life does not go their way.
For parents of teens and soon-to-be-teens, Brain Storm provides a brain-based understanding of these often challenging and painful years. Dan Siegel provides a new way to think of the teens changing brain and how it relates to risk-assessment, motivation, and identity develop and offers parents useful suggestions for how to deal with this frequently turbulent time.
Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child provides parents with an development understanding of emotional intelligence and provides guidance on how to promote it a various stages of a child’s development. As most parents quickly discover, compassion, empathy, kindness, friendship, manners, and civility are not inborn—but taught. And today’s society creates many challenges for parents to do this easily and successfully.
Life Direction and Wellness