Note: These books help us to understand our own experiences in the light of Trauma, attachment and developmental growth but are not a stand-in for DIY therapy. If you feel that you need to work through unresolved Trauma, please reach out to me or your General Practitioner, therapist, counsellor, pastor or healer to consult.
Anchored: How to Befriend Your Nervous System Using Polyvagal Theory
by Deb Dana
guided imagery, meditation, self-inquiry, and more, Anchored offers a practical user's manual for moving from a place of fear and panic into a grounded space of balance and confidence. "Once we know how our nervous system works, we can work with it," teaches Deb Dana. "We can learn to access an embodied, biological resource that is always present, available, and there to guide us toward well-being."
No Bad Parts: Healing Trauma and Restoring Wholeness with the Internal Family Systems Model
An empowering new way of understanding your multifaceted mind—and healing the many parts that make you who you are, as you learn to know how you live from an internal family system. And I found the book very good when explaining how parts of self express faith & spirituality.
by Jasmin Lee Cori
Jasmin Lee Cori is a psychotherapist and trauma survivor herself. A kind, understanding, gentle voice permeates Healing from Trauma. Healing from Trauma is primarily oriented toward C-PTSD and Shock Trauma. It doesn't mention important therapies that have been developed in subsequent years, like Organic Intelligence and the Neuro-Effective Relational Model. But it's still highly relevant and a comprehensive guide is written primarily for trauma survivors. Each chapter contains a synopsis and exercises for understanding and healing.
The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog and Other Stories From a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook,
by Bruce D. Perry, MD, Ph.D., and Maia Szalavitz.
You can't heal Trauma without understanding how Trauma impacts the brain. Perry and Szalavitz provide vivid case studies of traumatized children to describe how Trauma affects the developing brain and how the brain can heal. The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog transforms horrifying childhood traumatic experiences into opportunities for profound change and resilience with humility, compassion, and robust science.
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma,
by Bessel van der Kolk, MD.
Many clients have read The Body Keeps the Score, and it's considered required reading in the trauma treatment community. Kolk exceptionally describes how Trauma impacts the brain and Body. He also explores effective methods used to treat Trauma, such as safe trusting relationships, eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR), yoga, and neurofeedback. If you read just one book from this list, it should be The Body Keeps the Score.
Side note: Bessel van der Kolk recently was interviewed by Krista Tippet for the OnBeing podcast, listen to the full episode on How Trauma Lodges in the Body.
Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma,
by Peter A. Levine, PhD.
Waking the Tiger explores the impact of Trauma on the Body and explains how bodies can heal and self-regulate. Levine, the founder of Somatic Experiencing, provides specific and simple body-oriented healing methods for traumatized clients. If you struggle to understand or utilize somatic experiencing, Waking the Tiger is the perfect place to start.
What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing
by Bruce D. Perry, M.D., PhD, and Oprah Winfrey.
Winfrey interviews neuroscientist and child trauma expert Perry. They embark on a journey together to reframe the stigmatizing concept of Trauma from "What's wrong with you?" to the more accurate question of "What happened to you?" Winfrey shares her trauma narrative and experiences, which help to ground the reader. Also, the conversational nature makes this book a more leisurely read if one wishes to take a break from dry research studies and intense interventions.
by Clare Pain, Kekuni Minton and Pat Ogden
Trauma and the Body is a more clinical approach to understanding Trauma in the Body. They are written for psychotherapists who have been trained in models of psychodynamic, psychoanalytic, or cognitive therapy techniques to take their talking model deeper. This book can be a companion for people not trained in these disciplines to understand their own and others' journeys through the therapy system; with a detailed review of leading research along with clear and compelling clinical examples, Trauma and the Body point to the need for an integrative mind-body approach to Trauma.
by Thomas Hanna
In western medicine, healing happens objectively, meaning a doctor assesses symptoms from the outside based on their metrics. Somatics by Thomas Hanna urges for a collaborative approach between objective assessment and somatic experiencing, i.e. that the patient's experience of their own Body is just as necessary to consider. Addressing the preconceived notions of physical decline, Somatics offers a counter-narrative that suggests physical decline happens due to Sensorimotor Amnesia. This means that one forgets how to control nerves and muscles; thus, they remain contracted and begin to decline. This book is so apparent in everyday life I found myself verbally gasping, "well, duh!" Hanna rounds out Somatics with simple and effective exercises to reverse sensory-motor amnesia, making this a book that could supplement any wellness practice.
The Journey from Abandonment to Healing
by Susan Anderson
This book clearly defines the five phases of a different kind of grieving--grieving over a lost relationship. The Journey From Abandonment to Healing is designed to help all victims of emotional breakups--whether they are suffering from a recent loss or a lingering wound from the past; whether they are caught up in patterns that sabotage their own relationships, or they're in a relationship where they no longer feel loved. From the first stunning blow to starting over, it provides a complete program for abandonment recovery.
Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents. How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents
by Lindsay C. Gibson
Another go-to for anyone who has experienced childhood neglect immature or emotionally unavailable parents. Growing up in an environment where we weren't parented can leave deep wounds and impact how we show up in our present reality. Lindsay Gibson explains the signs and symptoms of being unparented and the steps towards healing.
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
by Brene Brown
This is a book every person on the planet should read a minimum of 10 times. Researcher Brene Brown has become immensely popular over the past handful of years, due in large part to her excellent TED Talks about vulnerability and shame. The Gifts of Imperfection is about evaluating ourselves and seeing that we are bombarded with "messages from society and the media telling us who, what, and how we should be." These messages help to inform how we perceive ourselves and feed the feelings of inadequacy that live beneath the surface for a great number of people who struggle with substance use disorder.
Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself
by Melody Beattie
This book is where my personal growth journey began!!
For the past three decades, Codependent No More has been one of the best books for families of recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. This book is a helpful guide for everyone whose life has been strongly affected by the disease of addiction. Filled with exercises and self-tests, the book is immensely helpful for the individual who has lost himself or herself in the continuous story of a loved one's addictive behaviour. Offering practical advice for regaining one's individuality.
by Gabrielle Bernstein
The most prominent message of Spirit Junkie is that of self-love, though it is delivered in a way that makes it both accessible and non-corny. This book echoes much of what I teach about mindfulness, asking the reader to observe thoughts and distinguish between positive and negative messages. Gabrielle Bernstein conveys the life-altering power that comes from gaining a better understanding of the mind and being able to choose a healthy response. Spirit Junkie can benefit the individual recovering from addiction to reconnect with a sense of hopefulness, gratitude and compassion – tools for productive recovery practice. As demonstrated by Gabrielle Bernstein's explanation of "love," recovery should come from a place of peace and joy. She is adept at making the intangible just a bit easier to grasp. In doing so, transformative practices appear as simple, logical steps.