Thank you for visiting the resource library!
Below you will find a variety of my most frequently recommended books, videos, websites and other related content, which I deem of high value and importance. I am constantly exploring new material and will update this page whenever I come across any excellent new content, so please check back from time to time. Clicking on the any of the book images will take you directly to Amazon.com where they may be purchased. As an Amazon affiliate member, any book or other item you may purchase by accessing Amazon through any of the links below (throughout this page and website in general) will pay me a small percentage of those items sold at no cost to you. See the disclosure at the bottom of this page for more details.
New Additions (updated November 12, 2021):
- Take These Broken Wings — Healing from Schizophrenia, Cure without Medication by Daniel Mackler
This is a such a beautiful and important film with a message that is transferable to almost every mental-health challenge in general, not just schizophrenia. Additionally, this film either directly or indirectly provides answers to a few of the more common questions, such as, “What causes a mental-health disorder,” “Are mental-health disorders biological in origin,” “Can you recover from such significant mental-health challenges,” “Are medications necessary or even helpful,” “What are the qualities of a good therapist,” and “How long does healing/therapy take?”
This film also introduces the audience to perhaps the most overlooked aspect of such disorders, which is their “function,” and how the symptoms of a disorder are most likely unconscious, benevolent attempts, to cope with or prevent traumatic memory from surfacing (though at significant cost). Finally, this film does an excellent job of describing the ups and downs associated with recovery (again, with all mental-health conditions, not just schizophrenia). If you or anyone you know suffers from mental-health challenges (despite whether those challenges are schizophrenia in particular), I highly recommend watching this documentary.
- Breaking from Your Parents: Setting a New Precedent for Your Life and Our Species by Daniel Mackler
I only recently learned of Mr. Mackler’s work, and I must say that this book does a phenomenal job of addressing what is likely the most taboo topic modern culture has ever contended with. I found that this book most accurately describes my own findings from my time in the therapy room; as such, I not only highly recommend it, but I would consider it among the three most important books I could recommend at this time. Even if you believe you had a great childhood with a sufficiently loving family/parents, but still find yourself suffering from any mental-health condition, I encourage you to read this book with an open mind. Professionally speaking, I too have found that most persistent mental-health conditions have roots which can be traced back to events in childhood where there was some degree of parental abuse and/or neglect, and this book excellently explores those connections and strategies for healing and recovery. Yes, this may be among the more difficult texts to read, but perhaps the most liberating as well.
I commend Mackler for his courage in writing and publishing this book! Freud himself came to similar conclusions in his earlier work over a century ago; however, those findings and subsequent reports garnered him considerable communal backlash, which quickly led him to abandon the unpopular and inconvenient truth he found in exchange for lies that would instead save his reputation amongst his colleagues and peers. This decision to abdicate personal and professional responsibility certainly made life easier for Freud, but without question, it made things far worse for countless children and the overall health of society in general (See Trauma and Recovery, another recommendation on this list for more details). Where Freud failed to find the courage and commitment to uphold the truth, thankfully, Mackler did not!
- Psychological Freedom: An Interview with Daniel Mackler – I found this to be an excellent podcast discussion. Here, Mackler argues that we can’t be truly free if we haven’t taken an honest look at our developmental years and worked hard to resolved our early, parentally-based wounding, which often prevent people from knowing and living from their true, authentic self.
- Breaking From Your Parents: An Interview with Daniel Mackler– This was Mackler’s second appearance on this show, which followed the release of his book, Breaking From Your Parents, which I recommend above. While this podcast certainly covers the principals found in the book, it does not replace it: both are hugely valuable and compliment one another nicely.
Note: It is highly likely that you will find Mackler’s work very evocative. While I find it among the most important work out there, that does not negate the fact that critically and honestly looking at the shortcomings of most of our family and parental systems can be among the most challenging of therapeutic endeavors.
- Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence–From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror by Judith Herman
Despite this book being essentially the “first” book of its kind (about trauma and recovery)—originally written in 1992—much of the wisdom and understanding still holds true today. This book is very accessible to both clinician and layperson and is highly recommended for anyone interested in the subject, or in need of understanding the impact of traumatic events. This book also covers one of the more important turning points in the mental-health field: when Freud caved to communal pressure and abandoned the lessons he originally gained from his earlier clinical work. Without question, his abdication of responsibility to the truth led to a significant setback in the field for more than a century, and aided in harming countless victims of traumatic abuse, especially for children.
On the unfortunate side (though I still highly recommend the book), I was saddened to learn that Herman did not adjust her earlier claim where she eluded to the idea that therapeutic touch is a boundary violation that ultimately leads to exploitation of the patient in all cases. While I have no doubt this can and does occur in some clinical settings (and that everyone should proceed with GREAT caution if touch is ever encouraged or involved in treatment. Additionally, please know that there is NEVER a scenario where sexualized touch is therapeutic! It is not, and anyone who suggests otherwise should be immediately reported to the authorities and the appropriate licensing bodies when applicable), it is simply not true that it is inevitable. When working with a sufficiently healthy, well-boundaried, and psychologically secure therapist; therapeutic touch may be the most potent medicine of all in the healing and recovery process.
Addictions & Compulsive Behaviors:
- In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Maté MD
This is my number one recommendation for those struggling with chemical addictions or other compulsive behaviors. I also highly recommend this book for anyone closely related to someone with addictive or compulsive tendencies. Simply put, Dr. Maté gets it! And he beautifully articulates the root causes of addiction in this book.
- In this interview (podcast) conducted Dr. Rangan Chatterjee, Dr. Maté provides an eloquent explanation regarding the roots of addiction and the path out of such compulsive cycles. Additionally, there is important discussion surrounding general well-being and barriers to health and wellness. More information, and the ability to listen to and/or watch the interview can be found by clicking here.
ADD / ADHD:
- Scattered by Gabor Maté
While I find some of the strategies for recovery to be somewhat lacking, this book does an excellent job of addressing the true etiology of attention-based difficulties. After he himself was similarly diagnosed in late adulthood, Dr. Maté went on an extensive investigative hunt for the origins. Here he presents both a vast amount of scientific data and anecdotal evidence he collected working as a licensed physician treating these conditions for many years. The claims surrounding the origins of these conditions found in this book corroborate my own clinical experience.
Anger & Violence:
In this video, Tony Porter does an excellent job of addressing a primary cause of anger and violence among men in our culture.
Grief & Loss:
- The Geography of Sorrow – An excellent article/interview with grief expert, Francis Weller.
- The Wild Edge of Sorrow by Francis Weller, M.A.
This is perhaps the book I’ve recommended most over the course of my professional career. I find it to be a must read for anyone who has experienced a significant loss (almost everyone who has lived). Weller does an extraordinary job of articulating the complexities of grief, and he offers an expansive view for those who’ve perhaps only understood loss to encompass those few days after a loved one passes. I believe that our culture has failed to hold on to many of the ancient beliefs, practices and rituals that would better aid us in processing our grief. This book beautifully outlines ways in which we could reclaim that all-important, sacred practice. It may well be one of the most important texts of our time!
- This is an excellent introductory video with clinician, author, and grief expert, Francis Weller. Here, Weller eloquently expands the definition of grief and what’s included but often unrecognized in our modern understanding of the phenomenon. Of all the skills humanity must find a way to reclaim, grief is at the top of the list. For additional readings and resources by Weller, please see the Grief & Loss section below.
- Interviews with Stephen Jenkinson:
Here you’ll find a most important and timely message surrounding an ever-increasing universal taboo subject (and might I argue, a source of GREAT psychological suffering for many): death! While I appreciate Brian Rose (the interviewer/host) for his show and many of the wonderful guests he’s had, including this one: death, grief and loss expert, Stephen Jenkinson, it is noticeable that Mr. Rose struggles to grasp what is being said by Jenkinson throughout their discussion. This is likely the result of trying to understand the language of the heart via the tool of the intellect (an insufficient translator in many instances, but a very common practice today). Additionally, while I find Mr. Rose’s timing of his “success/wealth management” type ad/interruption toward the end of the episode, painfully inappropriate and disrespectful while in the midst of such an important conversation, Jenkinson’s words (and the heart-felt message underneath) are VERY profound and important, making this a very important view and/or listen. You can find that conversation here.
Here is another interview with Stephen Jenkinson and Chris Ryan. Please click HERE for a link to the podcast episode or search for episode 349 of Tangentially Speaking on your favorite podcast app.
Psychedelics & Therapy:
- This is an excellent video with Saj Razvi, Director of Education at Innate Path (a treatment center in Lakewood, CO), that offers some insight into how and why psychedelics are effective at treating a variety of difficult-to-treat mental-health disorders. If you are curious about the therapeutic potential of psychedelics or are considering using them in your own therapeutic endeavors, I recommend watching this video.
- Yoga & Plant Medicine by Brian James
I have many clients who ask about working with Ayahuasca, and I know many people who believe the latest headlines claiming that psychedelics are the miracle cure for just about every ailment and mental-health condition. As such, I have known people who recklessly engage in use with psychedelics in a manner that not only diminishes their healing potential, but places them in a dangerous position where unintended harm can occur. Yes, psychedelics have amazing therapeutic qualities, but typically only if used in the right context, with the proper preparation beforehand, and integration afterward, which are often widely overlooked aspects of the work. This book outlines some practices that can better prepare one for both of these phases of the work in a way that is likely to greatly enhance someone’s long-term therapeutic benefits. While this book offers therapeutic benefits outside the context of psychedelic use, I especially recommend it to anyone well in advance of getting on a plane and heading to the Amazon!
Psychiatry / Medical:
- Anatomy of An Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America by Robert Whitaker
This is perhaps THE most important read for anyone who is considering taking (or who has taken) psychotropic medications! In this 2010 IRE Book Award winner for best investigative journalism, the reader is confronted with a thoroughly detailed review of the literature regarding psychotropic medication, including clinical studies and outcomes—and, most-importantly—many never before reported findings. If you have ever been on or considered taking psychotropic medications, or are concerned about a friend or family member who has undergone such treatment, then this book would be considered in the top three book recommendations I could make.
- Below is a short video clip with Robert Whitaker that I also HIGHLY recommend. Here he summarizes some of the important findings referenced in the book.
- The Emperor’s New Drugs by Irving Kirsch, PhD
With regards to one of the more disappointing things to happen in the field of mental-health (the use of dangerous drugs to treat symptoms of depression), Dr. Kirsch takes a deep dive into the scientific literature (including the review of unfavorable and thus unpublished data) in order to uncover the process by which the psychiatric community and pharmaceutical companies went to promote a false narrative that has unfortunately done more to harm rather than help a great number of people.
- When The Body Says No: Exploring the Stress-Disease Connection by Gabor Maté, M.D.
I find this to be one of the most important and timely books available today. Research continues to show the stress-disease connection, and Dr. Maté is well positioned to present the emerging data, which is further accessible through his thorough review of the literature, and many of his patients’ stories. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has had health issues, or to anyone in the healthcare field.
- The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert by John Gottman, Ph.D., and Nan Silver
This book is for those who are either struggling in their relationship, or who are looking to improve or deepen their connection. Dr. Gottman is a leading authority on the subject. When it comes to relationships, this is my go-to recommendation.
Spirituality & Self-Help:
- Revolution of the Soul… by Seane Corn
Seane Corn doesn’t just ask us to do the inner work necessary for transformation, she embodies the courage it takes to undertake this work herself. Within seconds of meeting her, you can feel a radiating life-force from her, proving that this long, hard, and very difficult road back to one’s authentic self is worth the price of admission. And reading this book can get you close to that experience. This book also offers deeper insight into how yoga can used as a spiritual guide into our most difficult shadow work, and how it can be a powerful therapeutic tool in our transformational process. In addition, this book can also serve as an excellent resource for answering a very common question I often receive: “How long does healing/therapy take?”
- Soulshaping: A Journey of Self Creation by Jeff Brown
I believe there are generally only two sources that manifest psychopathology: 1) unresolved grief, loss, or other traumatic events, and 2) unrealized gifts, callings, or passions. In this exceptional book/memoir, Brown does a spectacular job at covering both topics. While his other books are amazing in their own right, and all highly recommended as well, this particular book offers a more intimate look at the particular process one may encounter when working through psychological imprints rooted in trauma, while simultaneously attempting to navigate life in a way that honors one’s spiritual calling. If you have experienced developmental trauma, or have ever felt deeply alone, confused, lost or scared, especially with regard to pursuing a dream or passion, this book is definitely worth the read.
- Spiritual Graffiti by Jeff Brown
If you were only going to get one more book by Jeff Brown, let it be this one! Additionally, if you are looking for a book that has a genuine self-help message that will move you in an authentic, deep-rooted way, without the common, modern-day, feigned positivity hype, I highly recommend this book!
- Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home by Toko-pa Turner
This is a wonderful book which speaks to how and why we may begin to cleave off parts of ourselves in order to survive less than optimal caregiver relationships and experiences during our developmental years, while offering a path of reclaiming who we truly are once it’s finally safe enough to do so in our adult years. Through dream exploration and learning to become welcoming hosts to our shadow, we can reclaim that sense of who we really are and what we are meant for in this lifetime. I highly recommend it for anyone on the path back to Self.
Therapy, Trauma & Healing:
- I recommend everyone preparing for therapy to watch this video. It offers an excellent explanation of the role and function of our ANS (Autonomic Nervous System), as well as, ways in which symptoms such as depression and anxiety (among many others) can occur as a result of a traumatic experience and the conditions in which healing occurs. Even if you don’t believe you’ve suffered a major trauma in your life, I recommend watching this video, as most people who have trauma symptoms are not consciously aware of the events that may have led to the development of their psychological symptoms.
- In An Unspoken Voice by Peter Levine, PhD
This is an excellent book from one of the leading authorities on trauma and healing. Levine does an incredible job of describing the material in a way that is accessible for both the client and the clinician. I highly recommend this as an adjunct and support for working with trauma. This book can also help normalize the challenging experiences one may undergo in therapy.
- Part one of a two part discussion (see part 2 below): While research has suggested the most influential variable with regard to a positive therapeutic outcome in therapy is the relationship between counselor and client, I still maintain that models and approaches do matter. As such, when it comes to those models and approaches I am most fond of, Internal Family Systems (IFS) and Somatic Experiencing (SE) are two I hold in high regard. These models, employed by a competent therapist with a willing client, can lead to profound personal transformations. This video with Richard Schwartz, PhD (founder of IFS) and Jeff Brown (author) does a nice job of introducing someone to the process of healing via the IFS model.
- While research has suggested the most influential variable with regard to a positive therapeutic outcome in therapy is the relationship between counselor and client, I still maintain that models and approaches do mater significantly. As such, when it comes to those models and approaches I am most fond of, Internal Family Systems (IFS) and Somatic Experiencing (SE) are two I hold in high regard. This video with Richard Schwartz, PhD (founder of IFS) and Jeff Brown (author) does a nice job of introducing someone to the process of healing via the IFS model.
- For Your Own Good… by Alice Miller
It is with great disappointment that I only recently came across the amazing work of the late Alice Miller. While this is emotionally very difficult subject material to read, I find it very refreshing that she drew many of the same conclusions regarding the roots of pathology and violence in society which recent research is now validating. In this book, Miller looks at horrific events such as the holocaust, and postulates how a person like Hitler came to power, while also examining how it was also possible that he had so many followers that could aid him in executing such a malevolent vision. Unfortunately, many of the same conditions still exist in the world today. If we wish to avoid the possibly of repeating such a large-scale tragedy, while simultaneously beginning to address many of the root causes of pathology in our society, Miller points us in that direction.
- The Body Never Lies… by Alice Miller
Miller is perhaps the most psychologically insightful author I have ever encountered when it comes to identifying many of the root causes of mental illness and the road to recovery. If you’ve ever suffered from a mental-health condition (depression, anxiety, addictive or compulsive disorders, etc.), or even poor physical health conditions (fatigue, headaches, backaches, etc.) that have not been successfully mediated through medical intervention, this text will likely uncover what’s been previously missed. This book remains among my top three recommendations for anyone embarking on a healing journey, and if I could only make one recommendation, this would be it.
Trauma & Child Development:
- Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More than Peers by Gordon Neufeld Ph.D. and Gabor Maté M.D.
This is a must read for every parent, teacher, or any other adult who interacts with children! Dr. Neufeld and Dr. Maté eloquently describe perhaps the most common route to developing psychopathology in childhood. They further identify the ways in which we may help mitigate and/or recover from such possibilities. This is a book that I often make a requirement for parents seeking help for their children.
- What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing by Bruce D Perry, MD, PhD & Oprah Winfrey
Dr. Perry is perhaps the world’s most leading authority with regard to the impact of developmental trauma, and his work has greatly influenced my clinical work over the years. If you are someone who has children, or someone who works with children, I especially recommend this book. I also recommend it to anyone with mental-health struggles, as it is highly probable you will find some important answers as to how and why those struggles came about and/or continue. Additionally, the conversational style of this book and the way the material is presented makes the information more easily digestible for those without a clinical background.
- The Boy Who was Raised As a Dog and Other Stories From a Child Psychiatrist’s Notebook by Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D. and Maia Szalavitz
Dr. Perry is perhaps the world’s most leading authority with regard to the impact of trauma on the developing child, and his work has greatly influenced my clinical work over the years. If you are someone who works with traumatized children, I especially recommend this book. It is not an easy read, but a very important one.
- Born for Love: Why Empathy is Essential—and Endangered by Maia Szalavitz and Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D.
If it is true that children are our future, then this is a must read for anyone who has or works with children as well. This book outlines many of the troubles facing our younger generation, and the dire consequences should we fail to correct our current path.
- The ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Study:
- One of the most common resources and assessment tools I use with new clients is the ACE inventory. This inventory comes from a large-scale, epidemiology study which looked at the relationship between ACE’s and a variety of health outcomes later in life. The ACE study uncovered some of the strongest predictors of poor health outcomes to date, including a strong, graded relationship with substance abuse and addiction. If you would like to know your ACE score, you can find the questionnaire here: ACE Questionnaire.
- The initial ACE study publication can be found here.
- For additional information and subsequent publications using the ACE data, The Center For Disease Control (CDC) is an extensive, easy-to-navigate resource, which you can find by clicking here.
- Lastly, here is a presentation by Dr. Vince Felitti (a principal investigator and author in the original ACE study publication), which further describes the findings.
- This is a video that I highly recommend for parents and teachers. Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D., and many other noteworthy experts in the field, discuss the very important topic of helping children heal from adverse events!
*New Directions For Life, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. If you aren’t interested in any of the recommended books mentioned above, but still shop at Amazon and would like to support these efforts, please click through this link here. It costs you nothing and all fees are paid from Amazon. Thank you VERY much for your support!