Bibliotherapy, the use of books to enhance therapy, is ideal for those who absorb information best by reading, or want more information on a topic. Reading a book can provide in-depth knowledge as well as comfort, insight, and the reminder that you are not alone. Below are some books that I recommend on a variety of the topics that I address in my therapeutic work.

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ANXIETY

The Body Is Not an Apology, Second Edition: The Power of Radical Self-Love by Sonya Renee Taylor


The Body Is Not an Apology moves beyond a focus on self-esteem and acceptance to combating self-hate and body terrorism through the concept of radical self-love. Radical self-love is our inherent state of being worthy and enough. The concepts in this book are a practice – a muscle that we must exercise to deprogram a lifetime of messages from society, media, culture, as well as family, friends, and enemies, that there is something inherently wrong with us as we are. Why is the beauty industry valued at over 500 billion dollars a year? – because we have been taught that we need to pluck, paint, diet, dye, and shape ourselves into an acceptable version of a body. Who decided what an acceptable body is? Don't look at the man behind the curtain!

Sonya Renee Taylor's book reads like a friend chatting you up, but shares concepts that can serve to launch an exploration of how self-hatred has impacted your life while providing steps to begin forging a new path – a path that starts with loving yourself. It's also a quick read that offers reflections throughout that can also function as journal prompts.
MEMORABLE QUOTES: "Whenever my critical eye focused laser-like on some perceived imperfection of my own or some other human's being, the words would arrive like a well-trained butler to remind me, 'Hey, the body is not an apology.'"

"No matter how 'enlightened' our ideas, none of us is immune to the social, political, and cultural indoctrination of body shame."

"Racism, sexism, ableism, homo-and transphobia, agesim, fatphobia are algorithms created by humans' struggle to make peace with the body. A radical self-love world is a world free from the systems of oppression that make it difficult and sometimes deadly to live in our bodies. A radical self-love world is a world that works for evey body. Creating such a world is an inside-out job. How we value and honor our own bodies impacts how we value and honor the bodies of others."

"Children do not arrive here ashamed of their race, gender, age, or differing abilities. Babies love their bodies! Each discovery they encounter is freaking awesome. Have you ever seen an infant realise they have feet? Talk about wonder! That is what an unobstructed relationship with our bodies looks like … just knowing that there was a point in history when you once loved your body can be a reminder that body shame is a fantastically crappy inheritance. We didn't give it to ourselves and we are not obligated to keep it."

"Health is not a state we owe the world. We are not less valuable, worthy, or lovable because we are not healthy. Lastly, there is no standard of health that is achievable for all bodies. Our belief that there should be anchors the systemic oppression of ableism and reinforces the notion that people with illnesses and disabilities have defective bodies rather than different bodies. Each of us will have varying degrees of health and wellness throughout our lives, and our arbitrary demands and expectations as they relate to health and size of people's bodies fuel inequality and injustice."

"We may be trying to convey how we don't judge people based on racial identity, but 'color blindness' is an act of erasure. Not only does it make invisible all the experiences a person has had that were shaped by their racial identity or color, it implies that to truly respect another human being we must obscure their areas of difference."

"When our personal value is dependent on the lesser value of other bodies, radical self-love is unachievable."

"Remember, we are not our beliefs. We can examine them without judgment and shame."





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PERSONAL GROWTH & LIFE TRANSITIONS

Fault Lines: Fractured Families and How to Mend Them by Karl A. Pillemer


In Fault Lines, Cornell professor and family sociologist, Karl A. Pillemer addresses the common, but not commonly discussed, issue of familial estrangements. One study found that around 27% of American adults have experienced estrangement from at least one family member. The book outlines the collateral damage and intergenerational trauma that can stem from these estrangements, addresses the issue of reconciliation, several paths towards reconciliation, and examines boundaries that may need to be in place in order for a reconciliation to happen. The real impact of the book comes from the wisdom that Pillemer collected in long-form interviews with people who are experiencing, or have experienced, estrangements. Through their words, the reader may experience the universality of their own experience and, possibly, find a path forward. Pillemer presents categories of causes of estrangements including: The Long Arm of the Past, The Legacy of Divorce, The Problematic In-Law, Money and Inheritance, Unmet Expectations, and Value and Lifestyle Differences. TRIGGER WARNING: The book is largely written with a focus on reconciliation. If you are experiencing a family estrangement and you are not wanting to reconcile, or just don't feel that this is where you are in your journey at this time, this book could be triggering. The majority of the people interviewed in the book are endorsing reconciliation as a path toward peace, but, for many estrangements, a certain amount of healing and work on developing healthy boundaries may be necessary before taking those next steps. MEMORABLE QUOTES: "Of all the regrets older people have, a family estrangement is often the most painful." "The groundwork for an estrangement can be established early in a person's life, through disruptions and difficulties that occur while growing up in the family. A history of harsh parenting, emotional or physical abuse and neglect, parental favoritism, or sibling conflict can shape relationships decades into the future." "People describe estrangement in precisely these terms: a form of chronic stress that never goes away. It may be punctuated at times by a burst of contact from the estranged relative, followed by silence. It is characterized by attempts to reach out that become highly stressful sources of disappointment." "You can and should, perhaps with the help of a counselor, piece together the incidents that led to a rift, understanding your role and that of others involved. However, when it is time to reconcile, the relationship must be lived forward. For many people, the attempt to create a shared 'backward understanding' will fail, because our narratives are our own and form part of our identity. If you are considering an attempt at reconciliation, you must ultimately move forward together, whether or not the two pasts can be aligned."





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The Body Is Not an Apology, Second Edition: The Power of Radical Self-Love by Sonya Renee Taylor


The Body Is Not an Apology moves beyond a focus on self-esteem and acceptance to combating self-hate and body terrorism through the concept of radical self-love. Radical self-love is our inherent state of being worthy and enough. The concepts in this book are a practice – a muscle that we must exercise to deprogram a lifetime of messages from society, media, culture, as well as family, friends, and enemies, that there is something inherently wrong with us as we are. Why is the beauty industry valued at over 500 billion dollars a year? – because we have been taught that we need to pluck, paint, diet, dye, and shape ourselves into an acceptable version of a body. Who decided what an acceptable body is? Don't look at the man behind the curtain!

Sonya Renee Taylor's book reads like a friend chatting you up, but shares concepts that can serve to launch an exploration of how self-hatred has impacted your life while providing steps to begin forging a new path – a path that starts with loving yourself. It's also a quick read that offers reflections throughout that can also function as journal prompts.
MEMORABLE QUOTES: "Whenever my critical eye focused laser-like on some perceived imperfection of my own or some other human's being, the words would arrive like a well-trained butler to remind me, 'Hey, the body is not an apology.'"

"No matter how 'enlightened' our ideas, none of us is immune to the social, political, and cultural indoctrination of body shame."

"Racism, sexism, ableism, homo-and transphobia, agesim, fatphobia are algorithms created by humans' struggle to make peace with the body. A radical self-love world is a world free from the systems of oppression that make it difficult and sometimes deadly to live in our bodies. A radical self-love world is a world that works for evey body. Creating such a world is an inside-out job. How we value and honor our own bodies impacts how we value and honor the bodies of others."

"Children do not arrive here ashamed of their race, gender, age, or differing abilities. Babies love their bodies! Each discovery they encounter is freaking awesome. Have you ever seen an infant realise they have feet? Talk about wonder! That is what an unobstructed relationship with our bodies looks like … just knowing that there was a point in history when you once loved your body can be a reminder that body shame is a fantastically crappy inheritance. We didn't give it to ourselves and we are not obligated to keep it."

"Health is not a state we owe the world. We are not less valuable, worthy, or lovable because we are not healthy. Lastly, there is no standard of health that is achievable for all bodies. Our belief that there should be anchors the systemic oppression of ableism and reinforces the notion that people with illnesses and disabilities have defective bodies rather than different bodies. Each of us will have varying degrees of health and wellness throughout our lives, and our arbitrary demands and expectations as they relate to health and size of people's bodies fuel inequality and injustice."

"We may be trying to convey how we don't judge people based on racial identity, but 'color blindness' is an act of erasure. Not only does it make invisible all the experiences a person has had that were shaped by their racial identity or color, it implies that to truly respect another human being we must obscure their areas of difference."

"When our personal value is dependent on the lesser value of other bodies, radical self-love is unachievable."

"Remember, we are not our beliefs. We can examine them without judgment and shame."





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The Body Is Not an Apology, Second Edition: The Power of Radical Self-Love by Sonya Renee Taylor


The Body Is Not an Apology moves beyond a focus on self-esteem and acceptance to combating self-hate and body terrorism through the concept of radical self-love. Radical self-love is our inherent state of being worthy and enough. The concepts in this book are a practice – a muscle that we must exercise to deprogram a lifetime of messages from society, media, culture, as well as family, friends, and enemies, that there is something inherently wrong with us as we are. Why is the beauty industry valued at over 500 billion dollars a year? – because we have been taught that we need to pluck, paint, diet, dye, and shape ourselves into an acceptable version of a body. Who decided what an acceptable body is? Don't look at the man behind the curtain!

Sonya Renee Taylor's book reads like a friend chatting you up, but shares concepts that can serve to launch an exploration of how self-hatred has impacted your life while providing steps to begin forging a new path – a path that starts with loving yourself. It's also a quick read that offers reflections throughout that can also function as journal prompts.
MEMORABLE QUOTES: "Whenever my critical eye focused laser-like on some perceived imperfection of my own or some other human's being, the words would arrive like a well-trained butler to remind me, 'Hey, the body is not an apology.'"

"No matter how 'enlightened' our ideas, none of us is immune to the social, political, and cultural indoctrination of body shame."

"Racism, sexism, ableism, homo-and transphobia, agesim, fatphobia are algorithms created by humans' struggle to make peace with the body. A radical self-love world is a world free from the systems of oppression that make it difficult and sometimes deadly to live in our bodies. A radical self-love world is a world that works for evey body. Creating such a world is an inside-out job. How we value and honor our own bodies impacts how we value and honor the bodies of others."

"Children do not arrive here ashamed of their race, gender, age, or differing abilities. Babies love their bodies! Each discovery they encounter is freaking awesome. Have you ever seen an infant realise they have feet? Talk about wonder! That is what an unobstructed relationship with our bodies looks like … just knowing that there was a point in history when you once loved your body can be a reminder that body shame is a fantastically crappy inheritance. We didn't give it to ourselves and we are not obligated to keep it."

"Health is not a state we owe the world. We are not less valuable, worthy, or lovable because we are not healthy. Lastly, there is no standard of health that is achievable for all bodies. Our belief that there should be anchors the systemic oppression of ableism and reinforces the notion that people with illnesses and disabilities have defective bodies rather than different bodies. Each of us will have varying degrees of health and wellness throughout our lives, and our arbitrary demands and expectations as they relate to health and size of people's bodies fuel inequality and injustice."

"We may be trying to convey how we don't judge people based on racial identity, but 'color blindness' is an act of erasure. Not only does it make invisible all the experiences a person has had that were shaped by their racial identity or color, it implies that to truly respect another human being we must obscure their areas of difference."

"When our personal value is dependent on the lesser value of other bodies, radical self-love is unachievable."

"Remember, we are not our beliefs. We can examine them without judgment and shame."





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TRAUMA

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Will I Ever Be Free of You?: How to Navigate a High-Conflict Divorce from a Narcissist and Heal Your Family by Dr. Karyl McBride Ph.D.


Will I Ever Be Free of You? does a wonderful job of walking the reader through the impact of recovering from a narcissistic romantic relationship, with a heavy focus on divorces and partnership separations. Special attention is paid to navigating caring for children through this process, though the book would be equally useful for those without children. Because being romantically involved with a narcissist involves a heavy amount of gaslighting, it can be gratifying to learn that the abusive tactics that you may be experiencing/have experienced are universal in these types of relationships. Recognizing that commonality can be soothing, and serve as a reminder that . . . it’s not you . . . it’s them. The additional emphasis on how to deal with the divorce/separation process and how to protect children to the best of your ability in that process, elevates this book from a source of comfort to an easy to follow guide to your high-conflict divorce/separation. TRIGGER WARNING: If you are early on in your recovery process, it could be triggering to read some of the stories included of others suffering through narcissistic relationships. Though I think the book can be very helpful, I invite you to notice where you are in your healing before diving in. MEMORABLE QUOTES: How narcissism impacts the family system: “The narcissist does not feel secure enough to allow each individual in the family to have his or her own sense of self, beliefs, decisions, and separate interests. They expect all family members’ lives to revolve around them, and they ignore other people’s needs or desires. There is no sense of community or individuality. Their needs rule.” Keeping children healthy during divorce: “As children adjust to divorce, they tend to mirror their parents’ emotions. So the better you deal with the changes, the better the children will do. If a parent is stuck in anger, a child is likely to be stuck there too. The same goes for the other emotional stages of divorce.” Narcissists and the family court system: “The narcissist does not play well with others. He or she does not necessarily follow rules, laws, and court orders. Unfortunately, you may find little support or understanding about what you are dealing with. Especially in the beginning, the professionals – attorneys, judges, parenting-time evaluators, and others – may assume that both of you are unbalanced and creating unnecessary and time-consuming problems.”





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Will I Ever Be Free of You?: How to Navigate a High-Conflict Divorce from a Narcissist and Heal Your Family by Dr. Karyl McBride Ph.D.


Will I Ever Be Free of You? does a wonderful job of walking the reader through the impact of recovering from a narcissistic romantic relationship, with a heavy focus on divorces and partnership separations. Special attention is paid to navigating caring for children through this process, though the book would be equally useful for those without children. Because being romantically involved with a narcissist involves a heavy amount of gaslighting, it can be gratifying to learn that the abusive tactics that you may be experiencing/have experienced are universal in these types of relationships. Recognizing that commonality can be soothing, and serve as a reminder that . . . it’s not you . . . it’s them. The additional emphasis on how to deal with the divorce/separation process and how to protect children to the best of your ability in that process, elevates this book from a source of comfort to an easy to follow guide to your high-conflict divorce/separation. TRIGGER WARNING: If you are early on in your recovery process, it could be triggering to read some of the stories included of others suffering through narcissistic relationships. Though I think the book can be very helpful, I invite you to notice where you are in your healing before diving in. MEMORABLE QUOTES: How narcissism impacts the family system: “The narcissist does not feel secure enough to allow each individual in the family to have his or her own sense of self, beliefs, decisions, and separate interests. They expect all family members’ lives to revolve around them, and they ignore other people’s needs or desires. There is no sense of community or individuality. Their needs rule.” Keeping children healthy during divorce: “As children adjust to divorce, they tend to mirror their parents’ emotions. So the better you deal with the changes, the better the children will do. If a parent is stuck in anger, a child is likely to be stuck there too. The same goes for the other emotional stages of divorce.” Narcissists and the family court system: “The narcissist does not play well with others. He or she does not necessarily follow rules, laws, and court orders. Unfortunately, you may find little support or understanding about what you are dealing with. Especially in the beginning, the professionals – attorneys, judges, parenting-time evaluators, and others – may assume that both of you are unbalanced and creating unnecessary and time-consuming problems.”





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RELATIONSHIPS AND INTIMACY

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Will I Ever Be Free of You?: How to Navigate a High-Conflict Divorce from a Narcissist and Heal Your Family by Dr. Karyl McBride Ph.D.


Will I Ever Be Free of You? does a wonderful job of walking the reader through the impact of recovering from a narcissistic romantic relationship, with a heavy focus on divorces and partnership separations. Special attention is paid to navigating caring for children through this process, though the book would be equally useful for those without children. Because being romantically involved with a narcissist involves a heavy amount of gaslighting, it can be gratifying to learn that the abusive tactics that you may be experiencing/have experienced are universal in these types of relationships. Recognizing that commonality can be soothing, and serve as a reminder that . . . it’s not you . . . it’s them. The additional emphasis on how to deal with the divorce/separation process and how to protect children to the best of your ability in that process, elevates this book from a source of comfort to an easy to follow guide to your high-conflict divorce/separation. TRIGGER WARNING: If you are early on in your recovery process, it could be triggering to read some of the stories included of others suffering through narcissistic relationships. Though I think the book can be very helpful, I invite you to notice where you are in your healing before diving in. MEMORABLE QUOTES: How narcissism impacts the family system: “The narcissist does not feel secure enough to allow each individual in the family to have his or her own sense of self, beliefs, decisions, and separate interests. They expect all family members’ lives to revolve around them, and they ignore other people’s needs or desires. There is no sense of community or individuality. Their needs rule.” Keeping children healthy during divorce: “As children adjust to divorce, they tend to mirror their parents’ emotions. So the better you deal with the changes, the better the children will do. If a parent is stuck in anger, a child is likely to be stuck there too. The same goes for the other emotional stages of divorce.” Narcissists and the family court system: “The narcissist does not play well with others. He or she does not necessarily follow rules, laws, and court orders. Unfortunately, you may find little support or understanding about what you are dealing with. Especially in the beginning, the professionals – attorneys, judges, parenting-time evaluators, and others – may assume that both of you are unbalanced and creating unnecessary and time-consuming problems.”





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HIGH CONFLICT DIVORCE, SEPARATION, AND CO-PARENTING

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Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. & Mary, Hartzell, M.Ed.


Multigenerational trauma, also known as transgenerational or intergenerational trauma, is the concept that trauma can be passed down from one generation to the next. This form of trauma is evidenced through communication, parenting style, parenting warmth, attachment, conflict patterns, and more. While we might think of trauma as the type of events that make headlines, in reality, we all experience some sort of trauma in our lives, sometimes just from the parenting style that we experienced as children. In Parenting from the Inside Out, Dr. Siegel and Dr. Harzell combine attachment research and neurobiology to address how our past experiences shape our parenting. The book also offers concrete methods to begin the healing process, opening a path to more attuned parenting. TRIGGER WARNING: The book contains anecdotes involving survivors of child abuse, sexual abuse, and combat. MEMORABLE QUOTES: Multigenerational trauma: “Our childhood experiences may have involved trauma and loss in some form. Resolution of trauma and loss requires an understanding of the low road and its connections to patterns of experiences from the past. The passing of unresolved issues from generation to generation produces and perpetuates unnecessary emotional suffering. If our own issues remain unresolved, there is a strong possibility that the disorganization within our minds can create disorganization in our children’s minds. It is important to recognize that each of us may have leftover issues that create vulnerabilities that don’t become apparent until we raise or work with children.” The importance of repair in our relationships with our children: “Sometimes relationships with children become filled with tension. Parents don’t always like their children, or feel positively toward them, especially when their children are acting in ways that make the parents’ life more difficult. Being compassionate toward your own emotional experience enables you to accept these challenging altercations with your children with less distress and self-recrimination. Sometimes, a parent’s sense of guilt at her own anger toward her child can prevent her from being aware of, or even caring about, a ruptured connection. Unfortunately, this guilt can block the initiation of repair and deepen the distance between parent and child. Having self-understanding about these processes can open the important door to reconnection.” Compassion & self-compassion: “We just like our children, are doing the best we can at that point in time and like them we are learning more respectful ways to communicate.”





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NARCISSISTIC ABUSE RECOVERY

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Will I Ever Be Free of You?: How to Navigate a High-Conflict Divorce from a Narcissist and Heal Your Family by Dr. Karyl McBride Ph.D.


Will I Ever Be Free of You? does a wonderful job of walking the reader through the impact of recovering from a narcissistic romantic relationship, with a heavy focus on divorces and partnership separations. Special attention is paid to navigating caring for children through this process, though the book would be equally useful for those without children. Because being romantically involved with a narcissist involves a heavy amount of gaslighting, it can be gratifying to learn that the abusive tactics that you may be experiencing/have experienced are universal in these types of relationships. Recognizing that commonality can be soothing, and serve as a reminder that . . . it’s not you . . . it’s them. The additional emphasis on how to deal with the divorce/separation process and how to protect children to the best of your ability in that process, elevates this book from a source of comfort to an easy to follow guide to your high-conflict divorce/separation. TRIGGER WARNING: If you are early on in your recovery process, it could be triggering to read some of the stories included of others suffering through narcissistic relationships. Though I think the book can be very helpful, I invite you to notice where you are in your healing before diving in. MEMORABLE QUOTES: How narcissism impacts the family system: “The narcissist does not feel secure enough to allow each individual in the family to have his or her own sense of self, beliefs, decisions, and separate interests. They expect all family members’ lives to revolve around them, and they ignore other people’s needs or desires. There is no sense of community or individuality. Their needs rule.” Keeping children healthy during divorce: “As children adjust to divorce, they tend to mirror their parents’ emotions. So the better you deal with the changes, the better the children will do. If a parent is stuck in anger, a child is likely to be stuck there too. The same goes for the other emotional stages of divorce.” Narcissists and the family court system: “The narcissist does not play well with others. He or she does not necessarily follow rules, laws, and court orders. Unfortunately, you may find little support or understanding about what you are dealing with. Especially in the beginning, the professionals – attorneys, judges, parenting-time evaluators, and others – may assume that both of you are unbalanced and creating unnecessary and time-consuming problems.”





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Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. & Mary, Hartzell, M.Ed.


Multigenerational trauma, also known as transgenerational or intergenerational trauma, is the concept that trauma can be passed down from one generation to the next. This form of trauma is evidenced through communication, parenting style, parenting warmth, attachment, conflict patterns, and more. While we might think of trauma as the type of events that make headlines, in reality, we all experience some sort of trauma in our lives, sometimes just from the parenting style that we experienced as children. In Parenting from the Inside Out, Dr. Siegel and Dr. Harzell combine attachment research and neurobiology to address how our past experiences shape our parenting. The book also offers concrete methods to begin the healing process, opening a path to more attuned parenting. TRIGGER WARNING: The book contains anecdotes involving survivors of child abuse, sexual abuse, and combat. MEMORABLE QUOTES: Multigenerational trauma: “Our childhood experiences may have involved trauma and loss in some form. Resolution of trauma and loss requires an understanding of the low road and its connections to patterns of experiences from the past. The passing of unresolved issues from generation to generation produces and perpetuates unnecessary emotional suffering. If our own issues remain unresolved, there is a strong possibility that the disorganization within our minds can create disorganization in our children’s minds. It is important to recognize that each of us may have leftover issues that create vulnerabilities that don’t become apparent until we raise or work with children.” The importance of repair in our relationships with our children: “Sometimes relationships with children become filled with tension. Parents don’t always like their children, or feel positively toward them, especially when their children are acting in ways that make the parents’ life more difficult. Being compassionate toward your own emotional experience enables you to accept these challenging altercations with your children with less distress and self-recrimination. Sometimes, a parent’s sense of guilt at her own anger toward her child can prevent her from being aware of, or even caring about, a ruptured connection. Unfortunately, this guilt can block the initiation of repair and deepen the distance between parent and child. Having self-understanding about these processes can open the important door to reconnection.” Compassion & self-compassion: “We just like our children, are doing the best we can at that point in time and like them we are learning more respectful ways to communicate.”