Books Recommended by Therapists

Books Recommended by Therapists

Let’s be honest, life can feel like a never-ending rollercoaster ride of emotions. One minute you’re on top of the world, the next you’re white-knuckling your way through a downpour. Sometimes, we all need a little extra guidance to navigate those twists and turns.Enter therapists: the superheroes of the mental health world. They’ve seen it all, heard it all, and have a whole lot of tools to help us navigate this crazy thing called life. And guess what? One of their secret weapons is actually… books!

Think of this article as your exclusive peek behind the therapy room curtain. We’ve pulled back the velvet rope and compiled a list of books recommended by therapists themselves, for all sorts of situations you might be facing. Maybe you’re feeling the constant anxiety, or maybe your relationships could use a communication upgrade. Perhaps you’re simply on a quest for a little more self-compassion (because let’s face it, we all deserve a healthy dose of that!).

Whatever your mental health goal, there’s a book on this list waiting to be your personal growth companion. Remember, you’ve got this! And with the help of these therapist-approved reads, you’ll be feeling like a mental health rockstar in no time.

Peek behind the Therapy Room Curtain with These Books Recommended by Therapists

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

by James Clear

isbn: 9780735211292,template: listNo matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving–every day. James Clear, one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.

If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don’t want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Here, you’ll get a proven system that can take you to new heights.


The Black Woman’s Guide to Coping with Stress: Mindfulness and Self-Compassion Skills to Create a Life of Joy and Well-Being

by Cheryl L Woods Giscombé – Rhonda V Magee

isbn: 9781648481147,template: listAs a Black woman, do you often feel an intense pressure to do it all? To be a kind of “superwoman” who never lets others down? Do you feel compelled to hide your own emotions for fear of being vulnerable or appearing weak? If so, you are not alone. Our culture tells us in many ways that Black women must be strong and unwavering for their community, family, friends, and partners. But at what cost? If you’re feeling the effects of stress and burnout, this book can help you find balance.

In The Black Woman’s Guide to Coping with Stress, Black psychologist and registered nurse Cheryl Woods Giscombe introduces the innovative, research-based superwoman schema (SWS) framework–five core beliefs that drive Black women’s stress–and provides self-care practices grounded in mindfulness and self-compassion to help you live a life of joy and greater well-being.

Breaking Through Depression: A Guide to the Next Generation of Promising Research and Revolutionary New Treatments

by Philip William Gold

isbn: 9781538724613,template: listBreaking Through Depression explores how the anatomy of the brain and the biochemistry of nerve impulses play a major role in how we view ourselves and the world. Drawing from his long-term research, Dr. Philip W. Gold makes the case for depression arising at the intersection of genetic vulnerability with stressful, disturbing life experiences that get encoded in our emotional memory. Breaking Through Depression will delve into the interplay between our anatomy and our lived experiences as the key to understanding why there are such individual differences in how we make connections with others, deal with adversity, or recover from trauma.



Devout: A Memoir of Doubt

by Anna Gazmarian

isbn: 9781668004036,template: listIn this revelatory memoir, Anna Gazmarian tells the story of how her evangelical upbringing in North Carolina failed to help her understand the mental health diagnosis she received, and the work she had to do to find proper medical treatment while also maintaining her faith.

When Anna is diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2011, she’s faced with a conundrum: while the diagnosis provides clarity about her manic and depressive episodes, she must confront the stigma that her evangelical community attaches to her condition. Over the course of ten years, we follow Anna on her journey to reframe her understanding of mental health to expand the limits of what her religious practice can offer.

In Devout: A Memoir of Doubt, Anna shows that pursuing our emotional health and our spiritual well-being is one single mission and, in both cases, an act of faith.

Fires in the Dark: Healing the Unquiet Mind

by Kay Redfield Jamison

isbn: 9780525657170,template: list“To treat, even to cure, is not always to heal.” In this expansive cultural history of the treatment and healing of mental suffering, Kay Jamison writes about psychotherapy, what makes a great healer, and the role of imagination and memory in regenerating the mind. From the trauma of the battlefields of the twentieth century, to those who are grieving, depressed, or with otherwise unquiet minds, to her own experience with bipolar illness, Jamison demonstrates how remarkable psychotherapy and other treatments can be when done well.

She argues that not only patients but doctors must be healed. She draws on the example of W.H.R. Rivers, the renowned psychiatrist who treated poet Siegfried Sassoon and other World War I soldiers, and discusses the long history of physical treatments for mental illness, as well as the ancient and modern importance of religion, ritual, and myth in healing the mind. She looks at the vital role of artists and writers, as well as exemplary figures, such as Paul Robeson, who have helped to heal us as a people.

I’m So Effing Tired: A Proven Plan to Beat Burnout, Boost Your Energy, and Reclaim Your Life

by Amy Shah MD

isbn: 9780358697121,template: listDoes it feel like your life is too busy and your days are too short? Are you feeling overworked, overstressed, and overtired? Chances are you’ve asked your doctor for help, only to be told that it’s because of your age, or your workload, or, worse, that it’s just “normal.”

If so, you’re not alone. Women of all ages are suffering from an epidemic of fatigue and burnout. But exhaustion doesn’t have to be your new normal. Inspired by her personal wellness journey, integrative medical doctor Amy Shah has created this program so that you can regain your energy and reclaim your life.

The key is tapping into the powerful energy trifecta: the complex relationship between your gut, your immune system, and your hormones.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed

by Lori Gottlieb

isbn: 9781328662057,template: listOne day, Lori Gottlieb is a therapist who helps patients in her Los Angeles practice. The next, a crisis causes her world to come crashing down. Enter Wendell, the quirky but seasoned therapist in whose of-fice she suddenly lands. With his balding head, cardigan, and khakis, he seems to have come straight from Therapist Central Casting. Yet he will turn out to be anything but.

As Gottlieb explores the inner chambers of her patients’ lives — a self-absorbed Hollywood producer, a young newlywed diagnosed with a terminal illness, a senior citizen threatening to end her life on her birthday if nothing gets better, and a twenty-something who can’t stop hooking up with the wrong guys — she finds that the questions they are struggling with are the very ones she is now bringing to Wendell.

Your Way There (to Being Fully Alive): Concepts and Tools for Mindful Transformation

by Gretta Keene – Murray Murray

isbn: 9781634895057,template: listBetween social distance and social media, meaningful connection in the 21st century is complicated–not just with others, but with ourselves too.

With decades of experience in psychotherapy, Gretta Keene warmly introduces positive psychology tools for elevating relationships, navigating challenges, and savoring the joy of being alive.

After all, like weather, life happens. You can’t change the weather–but you can learn how to change your response.

Paired with whimsical artwork by William Murray, the friendly language of Your Way There makes concepts like “reparenting” and “new neural pathways” feel not just approachable, but possible.

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

by Bessel Van Der Kolk

isbn: 9780143127741,template: listTrauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma, has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust.

He explores innovative treatments–from neurofeedback and meditation to sports, drama, and yoga. That offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity. Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists. The Body Keeps the Score exposes the tremendous power of our relationships both to hurt and to heal. And offers new hope for reclaiming lives.

Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find–And Keep–Love

by Amir Levine – Rachel Heller

isbn: 9781585429134,template: listWe already rely on science to tell us what to eat, when to exercise, and how long to sleep. Why not use science to help us improve our relationships? In this revolutionary book, psychiatrist and neuroscientist Dr. Amir Levine and Rachel Heller. Scientifically explain why some people seem to navigate relationships effortlessly, while others struggle.

Discover how an understanding of adult attachment–the most advanced relationship science in existence today–can help us find and sustain love. Pioneered by psychologist John Bowlby in the 1950s. The field of attachment posits that each of us behaves in relationships in one of three distinct ways:

– Anxious people are often preoccupied with their relationships and tend to worry about their partner’s ability to love them back.
– Avoidant people equate intimacy with a loss of independence and constantly try to minimize closeness.
– Secure people feel comfortable with intimacy and are usually warm and loving.

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