Self-Help Resources

1.  The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion by Christopher Germer
An Acceptance & Commitment Therapy-based guide to self-compassion
“I look at it this way: the instinctive response to danger—the stress response—consists of fight, flight, or freeze. These three strategies help us survive physically, but when they’re applied to our mental and emotional functioning, we get into trouble. When there’s no enemy to defend against, we turn on ourselves. ‘Fight’ becomes self-criticism, ‘flight’ becomes self-isolation, and ‘freeze’ becomes self-absorption, getting locked into our own thoughts.”

2. The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression By Andrew Solomon
An exploration of depression, anchored in both research and the author’s personal experience
“One aspect of depression is a deep knowledge that the comforting doctors who assure you that your judgment is bad are wrong. You are in touch with the real terribleness of your life. You can accept rationally that later, after the medication sets in, you will be better able to deal with the terribleness, but you will not be free of it. When you are depressed, the past and future are absorbed entirely by the present moment, as in the world of a three-year-old. You cannot remember a time when you felt better, at least not clearly; and you certainly cannot imagine a future time when you will feel better.”

3.  The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook, Fourth Edition by Edmund J. Bourne
An excellent, practical resource for people struggling with anxiety, and panic attacks in particular
“An anxious mind cannot exist in a relaxed body; body and mind are inextricably related in anxiety.”

4. The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
A groundbreaking book highlighting trauma’s effects on both body and mind
“Traumatized people chronically feel unsafe inside their bodies: The past is alive in the form of gnawing interior discomfort. Their bodies are constantly bombarded by visceral warning signs, and, in an attempt to control these processes, they often become expert at ignoring their gut feelings and in numbing awareness of what is played out inside. They learn to hide from their selves.”

5. The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris
A light-hearted, down-to-earth guide to managing worry, sadness, and disappointment
“Thus, evolution has shaped our brains so that we are hardwired to suffer psychologically: to compare, evaluate, and criticize ourselves, to focus on what we’re lacking, to rapidly become dissatisfied with what we have, and to imagine all sorts of frightening scenarios, most of which will never happen. No wonder humans find it hard to be happy!”

6. My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem
A book on the physical and psychological effects of systemic racism, police brutality, and fear of blackness
“In today’s America, we tend to think of healing as something binary: either we’re broken or we’re healed from that brokenness. But that’s not how healing operates, and it’s almost never how human growth works. More often, healing and growth take place on a continuum, with innumerable points between utter brokenness and total health. If this book moves you even a step or two in the direction of healing, it will make an important difference.”

7. Empowered Boundaries: Speaking Truth, Setting Boundaries, and Inspiring Social Change by Cristien Storm
A guide to boundary setting rooted in the current climate of gender-based oppression and violence
“We depend on one another in very deep and complex ways, yet most boundary discussions are focused on how to cut off or distance ourselves from unwanted behaviors or people. … Boundary work is just as much about negotiating and asking for what we want and need as what we don’t want and don’t need. To this end, if we are working towards not just our own individual safety but towards changing the conditions in which people are not safe or are harmed, boundaries are about imagining radical possibilities as much as responding to events in the present.”

8. The Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller
A book on the lasting repercussions of childhood messages that one’s feelings must take a backseat to others’ wishes
“Many people suffer all their lives from this oppressive feeling of guilt, the sense of not having lived up to their parents’ expectations. This feeling is stronger than any intellectual insight they might have, that it is not a child’s task or duty to satisfy his parents needs. No argument can overcome these guilt feelings, for they have their beginnings in life’s earliest periods, and from that they derive their intensity and obduracy.”

9. Modern Man in Search of a Soul by C. G. Jung
A collection of essays by psychoanalyst Carl Jung on faith, spirituality, and innovation in psychotherapy
“What is illusion? By what criterion do we judge something to be an illusion? Does there exist for the psyche anything which we may call ‘illusion’? What we are pleased to call such may be for the psyche a most important factor of life—something as indispensable as oxygen for the organism—a psychic actuality of prime importance. Presumably the psyche does not trouble itself about our categories of reality, and it would therefore be the better part of wisdom for us to say: everything that acts is actual.”

10. Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip Heath & Dan Heath
An engaging social psychology-based handbook for creating realistic life change
“Change is hard because people wear themselves out. And that’s the second surprise about change: What looks like laziness is often exhaustion.”

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