Laurel Lum, MA, LMHC
- "The Mindful Way through Depression" by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal and Jon Kabat-Zinn
- "The Mindful Way through Anxiety" by Susan Orsillo, Lizabeth Roemer, and Zindel Segal
Mindfulness is quickly becoming a powerful tool within the psychology field. These are just a few titles among the growing list of mindfulness and psychology books.
- "Mindfulness for Beginners" by Jon Kabat-Zinn
One of my favorite meditation books. He has a humorous style that points out the human foibles than can trip up anyone's meditation, whether a novice or long-term practitioner.
- "A Path with Heart" by Jack Kornfield
Combines traditional meditation practices with healing exercises for the mind, heart and soul.
Neuroscience and Psychology
- "Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation" by Daniel J. Siegel
New discoveries in neuroscience are really changing how health and wellness are viewed in both the medical and psychology fields. A child psychiatrist, Dan Siegel is at the forefront of this movement. He explains complex scientific concepts in simple, everyday language.
- "The Success and Strategies of Lifespan Integration" by M.A. Catherine Thorpe
Originally developed for dissociative clients, Lifespan Integration combines neuroscience, developmental theory, body awareness and visual imagery to treat trauma and other chronic, often difficult to treat issues.
Integrative Mind/Body Therapies
The Diamond Approach
The Diamond Approach merges our psychological (personal) processes with spiritual (universal) processes. Too often these two paths are pitted against each other as if one invalidates the other. Almaas speaks to their common ground and how they complement, instead of oppose, each other.
Psychology and the Chakras
- "Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self" by Anodea Judith
Integrates Eastern and Western concepts of the mind, body and self-transformation in a clear, structured, intuitive format.
"Working with the Dreaming Body," by Arnold Mindell
"River's Way: The Process Science of the Dreambody," by Arnold Mindell
Process Psychology non-pathologizes all of our troublesome symptoms and problems. A former Jungian psychologist, Mindell presents the idea of an ongoing process that reveals itself at night through our dreams, but continues during the day as well. Often in the guise of problematic physical and mental symptoms that we wish only to be rid of. Mindell found that if these symptoms are allowed to unfold naturally, they can unlock our deepest potentials, biggest dreams and hidden talents. These early books are clear, simple and user-friendly.
Trauma and Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder (PTSD)
Somatic Trauma Therapies
- "Waking the Tiger" by Peter Levine
Levine was one of the first to discover the autonomic bodily responses to trauma that are rooted in evolutionary biology. These natural biological responses are often overridden by our cognitive minds. These truncated responses result in what we call PTSD.
- "The Body Remembers: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment" by Babette Rothschild
- "8 Keys to Safe Trauma Recovery" by Babette Rothschild
Rothschild describes the unresolved effects of trauma as like having your foot on the accelerator and the brake at the same time. Conventional therapy techniques can sometimes unknowingly re-trigger and re-traumatize these automatic survival responses. She emphasizes safety instead of overwhelming the already burdened nervous system. She has an easy, conversational style.
- "Trauma and the Body" by Pat Ogden, Kekuni Minton, Claire Pain, and Daniel J. Siegel
This model of trauma, called Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, is based on interpersonal neurobiology, developmental and attachment theory, and the body. A wonderful and comprehensive model, but the text is somewhat science-heavy.
Imagery and Trauma
- "Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal" by Belleruth Naparstek
Visual imagery can access parts of the brain where traumatic events are stored, processed and healed. Her website lists numerous resources utilizing visual imagery to treat many different health issues.
Meditation and Trauma
Deirdre Fay recognizes the difficulties that trauma survivors can face when attempting meditation. The overloaded nervous system can easily get overstimulated with even short meditation sits. Her website has some wonderful videos and resources to help address the challenges faced by meditators with trauma histories.
Diversity and Trauma
- "Thriving in the Wake of Trauma: A Multicultural Guide" by Thema Bryant-Davis
One of the few books for non-clinicians to address diversity issues in trauma recovery. Addresses diversity as it applies to ethnicity, gender, religion, disability, etc., although somewhat superficially.
- "Beginning to Heal: A First Book for Men and Women who were Sexually Abused as Children" by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis
A welcome update to their classic, "A Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse," this version includes both male and female survivors and the particular issues they might face.
- "Allies in Healing: When the Person you Love was Sexually Abused as a Child" by Laura Davis
A wonderful resource for the many intimate partners, friends, and family members of childhood sexual abuse survivors.
- "The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize it and How to Respond" by Patricia Evans
Verbal abuse is defined here not just as hurtful insults, but the constant invalidating of one's feelings and perspectives about troubling relationship problems. Evans shows how easy it is to get co-opted into the blame game by trying to explain yourself "better." Good tips on how to circumvent this unproductive and ultimately destructive cycle.
The Healing Journey
- "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" by Joseph Campbell
Affirms the hero's journey as one of self-discovery often found in the psychotherapy process.
- "Mysteries of the Dark Moon" by Demetra George
In Jungian terms, this is a "solar" culture in which everything is always supposed to be cheerful and happy. This can feel very alienating when a healing crisis hits and life can feel like anything but that. This book beautifully affirms the healing journey and the inevitable darkness that accompanies it, as a natural process mirroring the cycles of nature.
- "Heal Thy Self' by Saki Santorelli
Saki is director of the UMass Mindfulness (MBSR) clinic, but this beautifully written book goes far beyond mindfulness. Drawing upon the world's myths and healing traditions, Saki points to the universality of the human condition as one begins to accept, embrace, and thereby heal, oneself.
Whatever speaks to you. Poetry can touch the soul in ways that ordinary prose just cannot reach. Here is one:
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice—
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do—
determined to save
the only life you could save.
- Mary Oliver