sM D D Please check back often as I continue to add new books to this reading list.
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Abuse (Physical, Emotional and Sexual)
The Emotionally Abused Women: Overcoming Destructive Patterns and Reclaiming Yourself - Beverly Engel, MFCC
This book helps women recognize abusive patterns, includes good case examples from the writer’s work with clients, and offers exercises to rebuild self-esteem.
When Your Child Has Been Molested: A Parent’s Guide to Healing & Recovery - Kathryn Hagans & Joyce Case
This is a helpful book for parents whose children have been sexually abused. It includes basic information about sexual abuse, reporting abuse, normal sexual development, steps to healing, how to deal with family members, working with a therapist and dealing with the court system.
Rebuilding: When Your Relationship Ends - Dr. Bruce Fisher and Dr. Robert Alberti
This compassionate book describes how to put your life back together after a divorce or separation.
Grief and Loss
Things I Wish I Knew Before My Mom Died: Coping with Loss Every Day - Ty Alexander
This was one of the most helpful books in dealing with the loss of my mother. I could relate to so much of what she shared in her book. One of the most postiive things I took from it is being grateful for your journey and re-centering your life through gratitude. She went from feeling lost to focusing on all the great things she had received from the relationship. In addition, she gives and gave herself permission to feel and know that grief never really ends.
How To Survive the Loss of a Love - Melba Cograve, Ph.D., Harold Bloomfield, M.D. & Peter McWilliams
This is a guide for all types of loss. Written by a psychologist, a psychiatrist and a poet. It has an educational piece and includes poetry that is very touching and meaningful.
Grieving the Death of a Mother - Harold Ivan Smith
This is the first book that I read after my mother's death. I found it comforting and validating of what I was going through.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail - Cheryl Strayed
A memoir of one woman's quest for peace and empowerment after the death of her mother. This was also made into a wonderful movie that captured the heart of the book.
How to Heal a Grieving Heart - Doreen Virtue and James Van Praagh
The thing I like about this book is that you can turn to any page and there are words that bring comfort, clarity and understanding. "Each page contains a healing message to help you come to terms with your loss."
The Long Goodbye: A Memoir - Meghan O'Rourke
O'Rouke's experience of the loss of her mother. Even though my experience of loss was different, there were so many things that I could relate to in this book. A very powerful book.
"Six Feet Under" (the television series)
This is a television show about life and death. This quote from the actor who played Nate sums up the meaning of this show. "The point of the show, Alan's point in making the show, was to help people feel more alive and make decisions in life to be more alive - because it's gonna end."
Nurturing and Understanding Ourselves
The Art of Extreme Self-Care - Cheryl Richardson
I recommend this book to so many clients because it offers a way to start shining the light on ourselves, take better care of ourselves and set boundaries with others. At the end of each chapter she has an Extreme Self-Care Challenge that can help with putting some of these new behaviors into practice. Each chapter also includes a list of additional resources related to the chapter topic.
The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity - Julia Cameron and Mark Bryan
This book can be completed on your own or with a “sacred circle” of friends. This twelve-week program helps people to recover their creativity that has been blocked due to many reasons. You do not have to be an “artist” to benefit from this book.
The I Like Book - Meredith Looney
I was given this book by a friend, and I love it. It has days for each month and every day starts with "I like". I have the one for women, but there are also books for kids and couples. It helps people define their lives and shift their days to gratitude and the things they appreciate and 'like' about their lives.
Creative Visualization - Shakti Gawain
This book describes the power of using affirmations, thoughts and visualizations to create one's life. It has different exercises and affirmations that one can use.
The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World - Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D.
Finally, a book about the positive qualities and strengths of being an introvert. Areas covered include relationships, parenting, socializing and work.
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy - Sarah Ban Breathnach
An essay for every day of the year. This book helps women connect back to themselves. She describes this as an “authentic wakening”. Her “6 threads of abundant living” include Gratitude, Simplicity, Order, Harmony, Beauty and Joy.
The Wealthy Spirit: Daily Affirmations for Financial Stress Reduction - Chellie Campbell
This book is about removing stress in regards to money and enjoying what you have. She has 365 affirmations and stories to inspire you and create change.
Calling in the One: 7 Weeks to Attract the Love of Your Life - Katherine Woodward Thomas
The thing that's different about this relationship book is it's not about where to go or what to do to meet "the one". It discusses how to become the person you need to be to attract the person you're looking for. It's a 7-week course which has different assignments to do on a daily basis. It's a good complement to therapy because it encourages inner work to change outer circumstances.
The Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships - Harriet Lerner
This easy to read book teaches women how to recognize and express their anger so that they can get their needs met. She discusses how anger in women has been looked at negatively by society, However, she sees anger more as a sign that something is just not right.
He’s Just Not That Into You: The No Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys - Greg Behrendt & Liz Lucillo
This book has “the empowering message that a woman deserves a man who truly loves her and not one that she must constantly make excuses for”. It’s also a fun and easy read.
Parenting with Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility - Foster Cline, M.D. & Jim Fay
A parenting book that teaches how to avoid power struggles with your children. The importance of teaching kids responsibility through making choices and dealing with the consequences of these choices.
Queen Bees & Wannabes - Rosalind Wiseman
This book will help you understand your daughter and her secret world of friendships. It also includes discussion of how parents can help their daughters deal with this challenging time.
TEENS AND CHILDREN:
Putting on the Brakes: Young People’s Guide to Understanding ADHD - Patricia Quinn
This easy to read book helps children understand ADHD and find ways to help themselves cope with ADHD. It’s a good book for parents and their children to read together. (rec. ages 9-12)
Wreck This Journal - Keri Smith
How do you describe this book? Well it does something that no other book does. It gives you permission to be free and messy by doing things like painting pages with coffee, taking it into the shower with you and poking it with holes. It's fun, liberating and encourages creativity.
Dinosaurs Divorce: A Guide for Changing Families - Lawrence Krasny Brown & Marc Brown
One of the best picture books written for children dealing with the many aspects of divorce.
Conquering the Beast Within: How I Fought Depression and Won...And How You Can Too - Cait Irwin
This book is written by a teenager about her own experience with depression using words and images.
Grief and Loss
Death is Stupid - Anastasia Higginbotham
This beautiful book discusses the feelings that children may have when someone has died. It also mentions the different statements that well-meaning adults may make that can be confusing to children. It encourages connections with others and ways to honor the person who has died.
When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death - Lawrence Krasny Brown & Marc Brown
This book helps children understand death. Chapters include “Why Does Someone Die?”, “Feelings About Death”, “Saying Goodbye” and “What Comes After Death?”
What’s Happening to Me? An Illustrated Guide to Puberty - Peter Mayle
Mayle describes the book as “answers to some of the world’s most embarrassing questions”. It’s a book for those going through puberty. Kids will be relieved by the funny pictures and down to earth text.
The Hurt - Teddi Doleski
A picture book that describes the importance of sharing your feelings with others.
The Hating Book - Charlotte Zolotow
A picture book that discusses resolving conflicts with friends by talking with them. (rec. ages 4-8)
Mean Chicks, Cliques and Dirty Tricks - Erika Shearin Karres
This is an empowering book which helps girls deal with teasing and bullying. It includes true stories from girls who have dealt with these issues and helps girls understand what is behind this behavior. (rec. grades 6th-12th)
I Like Me - Nancy Carlson
This is a sweet, funny picture book that encourages positive self-esteem in children. (rec. ages 3-8)
Unstoppable Me! 10 Ways to Soar Through Life
Incredible You! 10 Ways to Let Your Greatness Shine - both by Dr. Wayne Dyer
Both picture books describe ways to increase self-esteem, deal with stress and anxiety and enjoy life. Easy and fun to read with your children.
Don’t Forget to Come Back! - Robie Harris
This picture book is about a child who doesn’t want her parents to go out and leave her with a baby-sitter. It’s a reassuring book that helps children deal with separation anxiety. (rec. ages 4-6)
NoNo and the Secret Touch - Sherri Patterson and Judith Feldman
A picture book about a baby seal that has been sexually abused. It describes the importance of disclosing abuse to others and saying no when one is uncomfortable in a relationship (helps children gain self-esteem and empowerment). This book is no longer in print, but may be found at your local library or by requesting the book through an inter-library loan.