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Recommended books

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Author Gretchen Rubin decided to embark on a twelve month ‘happiness project’ when she realised she had been sleepwalking through her life. She followed this with a similar 'happier at home' experiment, which resulted in another book: Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon Self-Control, and My Other Experiments in Everyday Life. These books provide interesting accounts of mindful living as well as innumerable practical suggestions that readers can utilise in their own lives. Any attempt to calculate what aspects of my everyday behaviour were directly influenced by Rubin would be truly terrifying! I’ve found Rubin to be a great writer to return to, not necessarily when things are bad, but I would just like them to be a bit better.

Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp

I find myself repeatedly returning to these pages for wisdom and insight into my own condition. I don’t believe you necessarily have to share Knapp’s particular brand of struggles in order to find her words resonate; ins...

Appetites: Why Women Want by Caroline Knapp

Appetites is a reflection on Knapp’s tortured relation with food but it is goes beyond simply a memoir of anorexia. Although possibly asking more questions than she answers, Knapp explores the dark and murky world of fem...

I’m OK, You’re OK by Thomas Harris

This is an accessible introduction to the concepts of Transactional Analysis (TA). TA is an approach in which social transactions are analysed in terms of an individual’s state (as Parent, Child or Adult). The idea is that by understanding which mode we are operating from, we can choose to operate from a different place (as Adult, rather than Child, for example), and thus more effectively address any emotional and relational difficulties in our lives.

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman and Nan Silver

I cannot recommend this book highly enough, whether you’re in a romantic relationship or not. I’ve never read a book so completely filled with ‘yes, of course!’ moments – explanations and insights which ring completely true and seem so obvious in hindsight, but which you may not have realised unaided. This book is based on decades of research, with thousands of couples. It took years of observation to discern the factors that contribute to successful (and unsuccessful) relationships, and some of the conclusions are surprising.

The Gift of Therapy by Irvin Yalom

This book is a treasure trove of experience, wisdom and anecdotes, and with 85 short chapters, is easy to dip in and out of. For me this book was a turning point in my understanding of the therapeutic relationship....

The Examined Life by Stephen Grosz

This is a collection of beautiful stories, snapshots, and encounters between patient and analyst. They are simple stories, about the profound complexity of human experience. They are moving, sensitive, and above all insightful. When you have been in therapy for even a little while, you come to see that it changes you, but it also changes the way that you think. You learn to look for the unique reasons, within your own story, that account for the way things are and seem for you.

Daily Rituals by Mason Currey

Many people who suffer from regular bursts of depression often champion the need for healthy habits and routine. This book by Currey is a romp through the diaries, daily routines, habits, and working lives of some of the world’s most creative people - both living and dead. If looking around other people’s houses is interesting, looking at their daily routines is totally fascinating - and this book offers a delicious insight into how some of the most successful names in history managed to create their masterpieces. Perfect inspiration for anyone today looking to combat procrastination, build new habits, and - who knows? - maybe even pen their life’s work!

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman

By identifying the five ways that partners show affection for each other - acts of service, physical touch, words of affirmation, gifts, and quality time - and explaining how to zone in on what love language you and your partner each speak, Chapman styles himself as an interpreter between the two, helping couples resolve avoidable conflict and misunderstandings that would otherwise get lost ‘in translation’. An incredible step forward in understanding how couples do - and don’t - relate to each other, and how to bridge that gap.

Shoot the Damn Dog by Sally Brampton

Sally Brampton's words stand as a beacon of solace for anyone struggling with depression, alcoholism and other mental health issues. You may not find comfort exactly but you’ll know that you are not alone. Using her journalistic skill and wit, Brampton documents a life spiralling down to the depths of despair and the long, arduous process of putting oneself back together again. Part memoir, part self-help book, pure classic.

The Goddess Revolution by Mel Wells

This book is for anyone who has had issues with food, diets and/or body image. The author Mel Wells struggled with these things for years, and takes us through her journey to heal her relationship with these issues and u...

Rise Sister Rise by Rebecca Campbell

Rise Sister Rise is a spiritual and practical manual for healing fears, insecurities, limiting beliefs and ways of being that have stopped women from trusting their intuition and inner power; so they can be who they are ...

Radical Self-Love by Gala Darling

Gala Darling gives practical, everyday tips on how to care more about, and really love, yourself. Some of my favourite tips are – ways to make your daily routine more magical and going on a self-love date with yourself –...

Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine N. Aron

As I became increasingly aware of myself – which does sound odd but numbness made me feel rather machine-like - I realised I was very affected by my environment and those around me. Certain experiences had a profoundly intense effect on me and despite being told I was unemotional and cold, I felt very sensitive. Elaine explains the trait of being highly sensitive and how, in paying attention and being compassionate and caring towards yourself – rather than berating yourself for being weak – you can learn to thrive.

Rising Strong by Brene Brown

The most pertinent part of the book for me, is Brown’s exploration of the stories we tell ourselves – and why. She believes when faced with difficult emotions we often construct stories in our minds that seek to make any hurt, sadness, fear and disappointment we feel easier to deal with. Often the stories have at their heart painful feelings of shame and vulnerability, which she believes for good reason you may have learnt to hide, but telling ourselves stories that shut off vulnerability can distance feelings of joy, love and belonging.

The Emotionally Absent Mother by Jasmin Lee Cori

Cori explains the many faces of a ‘good mother’ and the impact of one who didn’t met those needs well enough. She describes the key traits of the ‘undermothered’ and the parallels of psychotherapy and the ‘good mother’...

Running on Empty by Jonice Webb

Webb focuses on ‘the neglected child, all grown up’. The later part of the book helpfully sets out ways to learn to move from numbness to identifying feelings. Any resolution felt terribly out of reach on first read but ...

If Men Could Talk by Alon Gratch

This is a humorous and engaging read and a brilliant insight into the "male psyche". It is like “Men are from Mars”, written by an experienced therapist. Illustrated by numerous case studies, this book will help female readers understand certain behaviours in their partners and will give many insights to the male readers about why they do what they do. A must read if you feel your relationship is “stuck” and you don’t know what is going on.

What Do You Say After You Say Hello by Eric Berne

Your Life Script is the story you have been telling yourself forever – it explains how to be with people and what to expect from a relationship, it tells you who you are and what life might have in store for you. If you ...

Games People Play by Eric Berne

This book might help you see the repetitive pattern in your relationship and discover your own “game”. If you sometimes ask yourself why the same thing keeps happening to you, this book is for you...

Newlywed Guide to Physical Intimacy by Rosenfeld and Ribner

This book is a concise guide to sexual intimacy for religious Jewish newlyweds who are expected to have no sexual experience before marriage. The authors are not shy in explaining sex, intimacy and love and have not avoided the difficult and sensitive questions about halachically-sanctioned sex. There are excellent teaching tools at the back, a rarity in a book explaining sex and intimacy from a religious point of view. Most importantly, the book endorses that sex is primarily designed to enhance human pleasure and happiness and celebrates the sexual act of both genders rather than saying it serves strictly as a vehicle for procreation. As a sex and relationship therapist, I pleasantly found some of the issues could be related to other religions too

In Quest of the Mythical Mate by Bader and Pearson

This is a very handy book for couples therapists, which focuses on the role of development in relationships and not on pathology. It is natural for relationships to change as partners spend more time together and develop as a team. Because partners do not always change in the same way or at the same time, potential challenges and conflict may develop over the course of the relationship

The Wander Society by Keri Smith

This book offers a poetic and creative praise of the art of wandering. It is by appreciating the world around us and paying attention to it, while also dealing with our inner thoughts, that we can find new meanings...

Gratitude by Oliver Sacks

This book is a powerful representation of writing as a tool to re-visit and accept our past and deal with uncomfortable and hard emotions...

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

I often recommend this book to clients struggling with anger or having troubles with their relationships, at home as much as at work. It’s a truly insightful book

In praise of Slow by Carl Honoré

Deconstructing the basics for a life in a hurry, this book represents the real alternative: “seeking to do everything at the right speed”. Choosing to live a quality life, in a mindful and conscious way...

The Pursuit of Unhappiness by Paul Watzlawick

Watzlawick is one of the most important authors in terms of my professional life. The master of critical intelligence, unconventional thinking and strategic creativity, Paul Watzlawick. I often recommend this book, which...

Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel

Stossel suffers from anxiety and has done so for most of his life, so he knows first-hand what it is like to have one or more anxiety disorders. Further, due to the mastery of an investigative reporter, he has researched...

Why do I do that? by Joseph Burgo

Burgo considers the basic strategies of psychotherapy and adapts these to help us guide ourselves through a journey of self-exploration. Particular attention is given to defence mechanisms

An Accident of Hope: The Therapy Tapes of Anne Sexton

A fascinating book, which explores the on-going psychotherapy of Anne Sexton (1928–1974), one of America's best-known poets. The relationship between Anne Sexton and her therapist, Dr. Orne, is one of the most intriguing in psychiatric literature and the efficacy of the Sexton-Orne treatment is delicately considered as it is related to her poetry, and many of the cultural myths surrounding psychoanalysis. A book for anyone interested in writers, writing, psychotherapy, women, and American society before the great upheaval of the 1960s

A Woman in Your Own Right by Anne Dickson

By following the exercises in Dickson's book you can regain a feeling of self-confidence, self-respect and self-worth. It is a message I repeat in many sessions: be who you are, not what other people want you to be...

Living with a Black Dog by Matthew Johnson

We often forget that when we live and/or care for someone who has depression how important it is to look after ourselves. This is a self-help book in picture format which is just what the doctor (or therapist) ordered...

I had a Black Dog by Matthew Johnson

I recommend this book to my clients who are experiencing depression – especially when they are at that stage when they can hardly function. It is witty, insightful and indispensable...

On Eating by Susie Orbach

This book helps you reconnect with your natural hunger, freeing you from the shackles of dieting. When eating has become a guilt-ridden and anxiety-provoking experience, this book encourages you to go back to basics to enjoy food again, with a nourishing and caring back-drop throughout. It is a little book that can be carried around in your bag and dipped into for a mini portion of advice at any moment

The Body Image Workbook by Thomas Cash

If you dislike your body and want to know how to change this, then this book is for you. A ‘how-to’ book drawing on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques but written in an easily digestible style...

Quantum Love by Laura Berman

A beautiful book grounded firmly in quantum physics, Quantum Love teaches us how to have more loving and connected relationships, based on the relatively new knowledge that we are all connected on a quantum level and that our thoughts, feelings and mindset affect those closest to us. I recommend this to those in relationships as well as those who aren’t

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

For anyone and everyone - the power of mindfulness, and stillness, in helping us feel more calm, in control and peaceful, is incredible. You can’t go wrong with any of Eckchart’s books to be honest and I tend to recommend them over more traditional mindfulness handbooks in the first instance to inspire my clients rather than direct them

Spirit Junkie by Gabrielle Bernstein

This is a great introduction into concepts like the Law of Attraction, the text A Course in Miracles and generally learning to clear the blocks within yourself and allowing you to access a deeper level of love and trust...

The New Codependency by Melody Beattie

Codependency is such an unfairly dirty word in today’s society. Melody provides very practical steps to help you identify where you might be codependent, and how to increase your independence...

Inside Lives by Margot Waddell

Through the lens of powerful ideas that grip much of our cultural thinking, Waddell takes us through the life cycle – from birth to death. Recommended to anyone interested in psychoanalytic thinking...

Rising Strong by Brené Brown

Brown addresses the inevitability of life’s slings and arrows – and how we can use vulnerability to our advantage – and to the advantage of others. Many of my clients find it very supportive alongside therapy...

The Compassionate Mind by Paul Gilbert

Paul Gilbert's work has been around alleviating self-criticism and shame - issues that affects so many of us, and certainly presents in most of my clients. He presents theory, and a concrete practice to work with our negative self-talk, combining research from psychology and evolutionary science, his vast experience and his decades-long relationship with Buddhist philosophy and meditation. He is firmly secular though, and candid about his own experiences which makes the book accessible to many.

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