Coping with Stress
For information on understanding and managing stress, check out these websites:
- Canadian Mental Healh Association: What is stress?
- Aetna Intelihealth: Coping with Stress
- Mayo Clinic: Stress management and much more
Finding Direction in Self-help Books
While psychology self-help books may not always be sufficient to guide you on the path of healing or personal growth, they can still be a useful tool. With the many thousands of books out there, it can be difficult to know what to choose. Reviews of books on Amazon.com can be helpful.
Below are some self-help books that you may wish to consider:
I Can’t Get Over It: A Handbook for Trauma Survivors. In this book Aphrodite Matsakis takes the reader on a thorough exploration of PTSD, helping survivors of trauma to understand their emotional reactions to trauma, and the healing process.
Adult Victims of Childhood Abuse
When parents fail to value and truly love their children, and treat them in emotionally or physically abusive ways, those children are likely to suffer throughout their lives, finding themselves depressed and anxious, and unable to experience satisfying relationships.
Susan Forward, in her book, Toxic Parents, clearly shows with examples from her own clinical practice, how the emotional damage of early childhood abusive experiences is carried into adulthood, and how adult victims of abuse can reclaim that lost part of their inner emotional self, and find fulfillment in their lives.
Alice Miller has written many books on the impact of childhood abuse on the psychological health of adults. Her repeated message has been that only by facing the truth and emotional pain of what happened can victims of abuse free themselves from the past. Her book, The Truth Will Set You Free, is one of many she has written that poignantly explores how one can overcome emotional blindness resulting from an abusive past, opening the way to finding one’s true inner self. In The Body Never Lies she shows how what happens to us as children leaves an imprint on us both emotionally and physically in our adult lives.
Depression, Anxiety and Low Self-Esteem
There are many approaches to overcoming depression, anxiety and lack of self-esteem. In his classic book, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, David Burns helps the reader understand emotions and moods and provides a range of cognitive coping techniques and problem solving approaches to feeling good.
Problems with Intimate Relationships
Many times intimate relationships that begin with love become entangled in conflicts that seem to have no solution. Underlying those conflicts are emotional forces that have their origin in the relationship experiences each partner had in his and her family when growing up. Harville Hendrix, in his practical book, Getting the Love You Want, shows how our early parent-child experiences influence how we express intimacy with our partners. He offers specific approaches and exercises to help couples unburden themselves of past self-defeating patterns of relating so that they can regain closeness. Sue Johnson in Hold Me Tight describes the different types of negative cycles of conflict that couples become trapped in, and shows how to find new, more fulfilling ways of communicating. John Gottman in his book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, provides a very practical, research based, guide to improving communication.
Much distress can fill our lives when we find ourselves dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. When this occurs, there is little room left to enjoy, engage in, and be fully aware of the present moment, where real living takes place. Mindfulness is a state of heightened, clear awareness of the present moment. When we learn to be in the present, letting go of things beyond our control, we can experience a fuller sense of well-being. Both of the books below are guides to relieving our distress by learning how to live in the present. Eckhart’s book invites the reader to accompany him on an inner journey. Siegel’s book offers practical exercises to develop the ability to be in the present moment.
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle.
The Mindfulness Solution: Everyday Practices for Everyday Problems by Ronald Siegel.