Books on Trauma, Abuse, and Recovery that I recommend. I have received wisdom from all of these. Some books are therapeutic with practical exercise, others are informative, and others vigils on living a whole, peaceful life.
Belonging by Toko-pa Turner
“We live in one of the most connected times on earth but never before have we been so lonely, so alienated from each other, from ourselves, and from the natural world. Whether this manifests as having difficulty finding community, feeling anxiety about your worthiness and place in the world, or simply feeling disconnected, the absence of belonging is the great silent wound of our times.
Most of us think of belonging as a place outside of ourselves, that if we keep searching for, that maybe one day we’ll find it. But what if belonging isn’t a place at all, but a set of skills, or competencies, that we in modern times have lost or forgotten.
In Belonging, Toko-pa explores the origins of our estrangement, how that alienation affects the choices we make as individuals, and as a culture, and what are those skills to which we can apprentice ourselves to restore a sense of belonging in our lives, and in our world.” – Description from Book, Belonging
Medicine Women : Reclaiming the Soul of healing
“This audacious questioning of the current medical system’s ability to deal with the modern epidemic of chronic illness, combines a raw personal memoir of sickness and healing, woven through with voices of dozens of other long-term sick women of the world and a feminine cultural critique that digs deep into the roots of patriarchal medicine. Pearce takes us from its ancient Greek roots, through the influences of the Enlightenment and Christianity, the wholesale destruction of the wise woman tradition and Western colonial destruction of native medicines to the current technocratic, capitalist model of medicine.
Medicine Woman asks the uncomfortable questions that our culture refuses to face:
- Why chronic illness, mental health issues, medical prescriptions and costs are rising exponentially.
- Why women are the major sufferers of the modern epidemic of auto-immune conditions.
- Why women are twice as likely to be medicated for depression.
- Why women tend to be taken less seriously by medical professionals.
Medicine Woman voices a deep yearning for a broader vision of what it means to be human than our current paradigm allows for, calling on an ancient archetype of healing, Medicine Woman, to re-vision how we can navigate sickness and harness its transformational powers in order to heal.” – Description from book, Medicine Women
“Believing that something is wrong with us is a deep and tenacious suffering, says Tara Brach at the start of this illuminating book. This suffering emerges in crippling self-judgments and conflicts in our relationships, in addictions and perfectionism, in loneliness and overwork – all the forces that keep our lives constricted and unfulfilled. Radical Acceptance offers a path to freedom, including the day-to-day practical guidance developed over Dr. Brach’s twenty years of work with therapy clients and Buddhist students.
Writing with great warmth and clarity, Tara Brach brings her teachings alive through personal stories and case histories, fresh interpretations of Buddhist tales and guided meditations. Step by step, she shows how we can stop being at war with ourselves and begin to live fully every precious moment of our lives.” – Description from book, Radical Acceptance
You Are The One You’ve been waiting for
“In this book, Richard Schwartz, the developer of the Internal Family Systems Model, applies the IFS Model to the topic of intimate relationships in an engaging, understandable, and personal style. Therapists and lay people alike will find this book to be an insightful exploration of how cultivating a relationship with the Self—the wise center of clarity, calmness, and compassion in each of us—creates the foundation for courageous love and resilient intimacy: the capacity to sustain and nourish a healthy intimate relationship. Self-leadership also allows us to embrace our partner’s feedback and use it to discover aspects of ourselves that seek healing. The book includes user-friendly exercises to facilitate learning.” – Description from book, You Are The One You’ve Been Waiting For
Sensing, Feeling, and Action
“Third edition, 2012. This exciting book explores Bonnie’s innovative approach to how mind expresses itself through the body in movement. It contains essays, interviews and exercises covering a broad range of topics, including Sensing, Feeling and Action; Perceiving and Action; The Action of Perceiving; The Alphabet of Movement; The Training Problems of the Dance; The Dancer’s Warmup; The Mechanics of Vocal Expression; The Fluid System; The Organ System; Embryology; and the Nervous System.
New in the third edition: chapters on Mapping Transformation, and Dancing through the Fluids. Also new: an Index and a List of Explorations.” – Description from book, Sensing, Feeling, and Action
The Primal Wound
“To many of us, modern life is a headlong rush to avoid dark feelings that threaten to disrupt our lives at every turn. In order to block the surging tide of this hidden level of experience, we become enthralled with violence, sex, and mass media and addicted to alcohol, drugs, and power, and we compulsively strive for romance, success, and control. All of this, according to the authors, can be traced to the primal wound–a dark specter of isolation, abandonment, and alienation haunting human life.
The primal wound is the result of a violation we all suffer in various ways, beginning in early childhood and continuing throughout life. Because we are treated not as individual, unique human beings but as objects, our intrinsic, authentic sense of self is annihilated. This primal wounding breaks the fundamental relationships that form the fabric of human existence: the relationship to oneself, to other people, to the natural world, and to a sense of transpersonal meaning symbolized in concepts such as the Divine, the Ground of Being, and Ultimate Reality. In this book, Firman and Gila apply object relations theory, self-psychology, transpersonal psychology, and psychosynthesis to the issues of psychological wounding, healing, and growth and show how this wounding can be redeemed through therapy and through changing one”s way of living.” – Description from book, The Primal Wound.
Understanding and treating chronic shame
“Chronic shame is painful, corrosive, and elusive. It resists self-help and undermines even intensive psychoanalysis. Patricia A. DeYoung”s cutting-edge book gives chronic shame the serious attention it deserves, integrating new brain science with an inclusive tradition of relational psychotherapy. She looks behind the myriad symptoms of shame to its relational essence. As DeYoung describes how chronic shame is wired into the brain and developed in personality, she clarifies complex concepts and makes them available for everyday therapy practice.
Grounded in clinical experience and alive with case examples,Understanding and Treating Chronic Shameis highly readable and immediately helpful. Patricia A. DeYoung”s clear, engaging writing helps readers recognize the presence of shame in the therapy room, think through its origins and effects in their clients” lives, and decide how best to work with those clients. Therapists will find thatUnderstanding and Treating Chronic Shameenhances the scope of their practice and efficacy with this client group, which comprises a large part of most therapy practices. Challenging, enlightening, and nourishing, this book belongs in the library of every shame-aware therapist.” – Description from book, Understanding and Treating Chronic Shame.
Self Therapy by Jay Earley
This is the first of many of his books. I recommend all of them. This one is great introduction to the world of Internal Family Systems.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Wholeness, and Healing Your Inner Child, Using Internal Family Systems (IFS), A Cutting-Edge Psychotherapy
IFS has a sophisticated way of working with your “parts,” which are natural divisions in the psyche, sometimes called subpersonalities. This approach has been rapidly spreading across the entire country for the past decade and is being applauded by patients and therapists for its incredible effectiveness.” – Description from Website, Personal Growth Programs
The Body Keeps The Score
“The Body Keeps the Score is the inspiring story of how a group of therapists and scientists— together with their courageous and memorable patients—has struggled to integrate recent advances in brain science, attachment research, and body awareness into treatments that can free trauma survivors from the tyranny of the past. These new paths to recovery activate the brain’s natural neuroplasticity to rewire disturbed functioning and rebuild step by step the ability to “know what you know and feel what you feel.” They also offer experiences that directly counteract the helplessness and invisibility associated with trauma, enabling both adults and children to reclaim ownership of their bodies and their lives.
Drawing on more than thirty years at the forefront of research and clinical practice, Bessel van der Kolk shows that the terror and isolation at the core of trauma literally reshape both brain and body. New insights into our survival instincts explain why traumatized people experience incomprehensible anxiety and numbing and intolerable rage, and how trauma affects their capacity to concentrate, to remember, to form trusting relationships, and even to feel at home in their own bodies. Having lost the sense of control of themselves and frustrated by failed therapies, they often fear that they are damaged beyond repair.
Only making it safe for trauma victims to inhabit their bodies, and to tolerate feeling what they feel, and knowing what they know, can lead to lasting healing. This may involve a range of therapeutic interventions (one size never fits all), including various forms of trauma processing, neurofeedback, theater, meditation, play, and yoga.” – Description from website, Bessel Van der Kolk
Healing the Fragmented selves of Trauma survivors
“Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors integrates a neurobiologically informed understanding of trauma, dissociation, and attachment with a practical approach to treatment, all communicated in straightforward language accessible to both client and therapist. Readers will be exposed to a model that emphasizes “resolution”―a transformation in the relationship to one’s self, replacing shame, self-loathing, and assumptions of guilt with compassionate acceptance. Its unique interventions have been adapted from a number of cutting-edge therapeutic approaches, including Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Internal Family Systems, mindfulness-based therapies, and clinical hypnosis. Readers will close the pages of Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors with a solid grasp of therapeutic approaches to traumatic attachment, working with undiagnosed dissociative symptoms and disorders, integrating “right brain-to-right brain” treatment methods, and much more. Most of all, they will come away with tools for helping clients create an internal sense of safety and compassionate connection to even their most dis-owned selves.” – Description from book, Healing Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors
“A book for clinicians and clients to use together that explains key concepts of body psychotherapy.The body’s intelligence is largely an untapped resource in psychotherapy, yet the story told by the “somatic narrative”– gesture, posture, prosody, facial expressions, eye gaze, and movement — is arguably more significant than the story told by the words. The language of the body communicates implicit meanings and reveals the legacy of trauma and of early or forgotten dynamics with attachment figures. To omit the body as a target of therapeutic action is an unfortunate oversight that deprives clients of a vital avenue of self-knowledge and change.
Written for therapists and clients to explore together in therapy, this book is a practical guide to the language of the body. It begins with a section that orients therapists and clients to the volume and how to use it, followed by an overview of the role of the brain and the use of mindfulness. The last three sections are organized according to a phase approach to therapy, focusing first on developing personal resources, particularly somatic ones; second on utilizing a bottom-up, somatic approach to memory; and third on exploring the impact of attachment on procedural learning, emotional biases, and cognitive distortions. Each chapter is accompanied by a guide to help therapists apply the chapter’s teachings in clinical practice and by worksheets to help clients integrate the material on a personal level.” – Description from book, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy
in an unspoken voice
“In this culmination of his life’s work, Peter A. Levine draws on his broad experience as a clinician, a student of comparative brain research, a stress scientist and a keen observer of the naturalistic animal world to explain the nature and transformation of trauma in the body, brain and psyche. In an Unspoken Voice is based on the idea that trauma is neither a disease nor a disorder, but rather an injury caused by fright, helplessness and loss that can be healed by engaging our innate capacity to self-regulate high states of arousal and intense emotions. Enriched with a coherent theoretical framework and compelling case examples, the book elegantly blends the latest findings in biology, neuroscience and body-oriented psychotherapy to show that when we bring together animal instinct and reason, we can become more whole human beings.” – Description from book, In An Unspoken Voice
The Polyvagal Theory
“This book compiles, for the first time, Stephen W. Porges’s decades of research. A leading expert in developmental psychophysiology and developmental behavioral neuroscience, Porges is the mind behind the groundbreaking Polyvagal Theory, which has startling implications for the treatment of anxiety, depression, trauma, and autism. Adopted by clinicians around the world, the Polyvagal Theory has provided exciting new insights into the way our autonomic nervous system unconsciously mediates social engagement, trust, and intimacy.” Description from book, The Polyvagal Theory.