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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 October 16, 2019):
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.
- 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 her life-force radiate as proof that this hard, difficult road back to one’s authentic self is worth the price of admission, and reading her new book can get you close to that experience. This book is also offers deeper insight into how yoga can used as a spiritual guide into our most difficult shadow work, and how yoga can be used as a powerful therapeutic tool in our transformational process.
- 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!
Addictions & Compulsive Behaviors:
- In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Maté
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
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!
- An interview 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.
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.
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.
- 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:
- 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!
Trauma & Child Development:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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