13 Mental Health Books & Resources a Couples Therapist Recommends

Mental health is a topic that is often overlooked. However, it is important to address mental health issues head-on in order to improve our overall well-being as well as our relationships.

If you are looking for mental health books or resources, then look no further!

In this blog post, I’ll discuss the top mental health books and resources that I recommend for individuals and couples. I hope that this information will help you on your journey to better mental health!

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

by Bessel van der Kolk M.D. 

Amazon Description: “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.”

How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain

by Lisa Feldman Barrett

How Emotions Are Made is the single most important book about emotions today. It upends so much of what we learned about what they are and how they work. It’s engaging and funny – a bit dense but worth the effort.

Amazon Description: “Leading the charge is psychologist and neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett, whose research overturns the long-standing belief that emotions are automatic, universal, and hardwired in different brain regions. Instead, Barrett shows, we construct each instance of emotion through a unique interplay of brain, body, and culture.

A lucid report from the cutting edge of emotion science, How Emotions Are Made reveals the profound real-world consequences of this breakthrough for everything from neuroscience and medicine to the legal system and even national security, laying bare the immense implications of our latest and most intimate scientific revolution.”

It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle

by Mark Wolynn

This is a good book for those dealing with generational trauma and dysfunctional family dynamics. It Didn’t Start with You normalizes the idea of coming from a “dysfunctional” family.

Amazon Description: “As a pioneer in the field of inherited family trauma, Mark Wolynn has worked with individuals and groups on a therapeutic level for over twenty years. It Didn’t Start with You offers a pragmatic and prescriptive guide to his method, the Core Language Approach. 

It Didn’t Start With You is a transformative approach to resolving longstanding difficulties that in many cases, traditional therapy, drugs, or other interventions have not had the capacity to touch.”

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

by James Clear

Atomic Habits is an absolutely brilliant book! It explains the science of habits and human behavior, drawing on neuroscience, psychology, and biology. James Clear explains behavior at the level of our physical bodies – our systems, which helps clients feel less shame. I think it is a must read for anyone who is helping people change.

Amazon Description: “No 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.

Atomic Habits will reshape the way you think about progress and success, and give you the tools and strategies you need to transform your habits–whether you are a team looking to win a championship, an organization hoping to redefine an industry, or simply an individual who wishes to quit smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, or achieve any other goal.”

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life

by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend

Amazon Description: “Do you feel like your life has spiraled out of control? Have you focused so much on being loving and unselfish that you’ve forgotten your own limits? Do you find yourself taking responsibility for other people’s feelings and problems? In Boundaries, Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend teach you the ins and outs of setting the boundaries that will transform your daily life.

Boundaries, a New York Times bestseller, will give you the tools you need to learn to say yes and know how to say no. Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend are here to share the lessons they’ve learned in their years of practicing psychology and studying the patterns and practices that support clear biblical boundaries.”

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

by Eckhart Tolle

A New Earth needs no introduction. Another great classic. Written in 2005, but I still recommend it to my clients today. This book is helpful for those interested in looking optimistically at how the world is spiritually awakening and raising it’s collective consciousness.

Amazon Description: “With his bestselling spiritual guide The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle inspired millions of readers to discover the freedom and joy of a life lived “in the now.” In A New Earth, Tolle expands on these powerful ideas to show how transcending our ego-based state of consciousness is not only essential to personal happiness, but also the key to ending conflict and suffering throughout the world.

Tolle describes how our attachment to the ego creates the dysfunction that leads to anger, jealousy, and unhappiness, and shows readers how to awaken to a new state of consciousness and follow the path to a truly fulfilling existence.”

Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself

by Dr. Kristin Neff

Amazon Description: “More and more, psychologists are turning away from an emphasis on self-esteem and moving toward self-compassion in the treatment of their patients—and Dr. Neff’s extraordinary book offers exercises and action plans for dealing with every emotionally debilitating struggle, be it parenting, weight loss, or any of the numerous trials of everyday living.”

Bearing the Unbearable: Love, Loss, and the Heartbreaking Path of Grief

by Joanne Cacciatore

Amazon Description:Bearing the Unbearable is a companion for life’s most difficult times, revealing how grief can open our hearts to connection, compassion, and the very essence of our shared humanity. Dr. Joanne Cacciatore—bereavement educator, researcher, Zen priest, and leading counselor in the field—accompanies us along the heartbreaking path of love, loss, and grief.

Through moving stories of her encounters with grief over decades of supporting individuals, families, and communities—as well as her own experience with loss—Cacciatore opens a space to process, integrate, and deeply honor our grief.”

The Mastery of Love: A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationship

by Don Miguel Ruiz

The Mastery of Love is so well done and so valuable. It helps people understand what love is not – but in a kind way.

Amazon Description: “In The Mastery of Love, Don Miguel Ruiz illuminates the fear-based beliefs and assumptions that undermine love and lead to suffering and drama in our relationships. Using insightful stories to bring his message to life, Ruiz shows us how to heal our emotional wounds, recover the freedom and joy that are our birthright, and restore the spirit of playfulness that is vital to loving relationships.”

The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a Toxic Culture

by Gabor Maté MD

The Myth of Normal is a compassionate take on and trauma. I also recommend his other works, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts and In An Unspoken Voice.

Amazon Description: “Over four decades of clinical experience, Maté has come to recognize the prevailing understanding of “normal” as false, neglecting the roles that trauma and stress, and the pressures of modern-day living, exert on our bodies and our minds at the expense of good health. For all our expertise and technological sophistication, Western medicine often fails to treat the whole person, ignoring how today’s culture stresses the body, burdens the immune system, and undermines emotional balance.

Now Maté brings his perspective to the great untangling of common myths about what makes us sick, connects the dots between the maladies of individuals and the declining soundness of society—and offers a compassionate guide for health and healing. Cowritten with his son Daniel, The Myth Of Normal is Maté’s most ambitious and urgent book yet.”

Psychology Today Magazine

Description: “Psychology Today is the world’s largest mental health and behavioral science destination online. It is the original and largest publishing enterprise that is exclusively dedicated to human behavior. These resources are the worldwide destination of choice for expert-authored information about psychology and mental health.”

Psychotherapy Networker Magazine

Description: “For more than four decades, the Psychotherapy Networker magazine has earned a worldwide readership for its incisive, tough-minded coverage of the everyday challenges of clinical practice and the therapeutic innovations shaping the direction of the profession.

Written with the practical needs of clinicians in mind, the Networker is the most topical, timely, and widely read publication in the psychotherapy community today. Celebrated for its engaging style, it’s won just about every award out there, including the National Magazine Award—the Oscar of the magazine industry.”

National Institute for Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine

This is the premier training resource for therapists all over the world. They offer online classes on anything and everything related to psychotherapy. Some of my clients have taken classes online for themselves on topics such as shame, self-loathing, trauma, depression, etc.

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