Not Quite Ready or Just Want Something to Read Between Sessions?
If you aren't quite ready to try therapy yet, or if you just want some additional resources to read on your own between sessions, we recommend the following books.
Scattered Minds: The Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder
Gabor Maté, MD
A fantastic resource for anyone who wants to understand what ADHD is (and isn’t), how it affects a person, why a person might develop ADHD in the first place, and how it can be treated. An overview of ADD (ADHD), Gabor Maté debunks common myths about ADHD, and clarifies that ADHD is not just a childhood condition but something that affects people of all ages. Intertwining his own journey with ADHD experiences with clinical observations, Maté provides readers with unique insights into the disorder. Central to Scattered Minds is the idea that there is no single factor that results in the development of ADHD. While there is certainly a genetic component, Maté emphasizes the role of the individual’s environment, particularly early childhood experiences. He details how stressful environments and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can have profound effects on a child's developing brain, including parental stress. Dr. Maté advocates for a more comprehensive, holistic approach to treatment. This goes beyond just medication to include addressing the emotional, physical, and environmental factors that may contribute to ADHD. He emphasizes the importance of nurturing environments, understanding individual needs, and building strong, supportive relationships. The latter part of the book offers guidance and strategies for those with ADD and their families. This includes advice on managing symptoms, understanding oneself better, and creating an environment conducive to healing and growth.
No Bad Parts: Healing Trauma and Restoring Wholeness with the Internal Family Systems Model
Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.
The Internal Family Systems (IFS) model is based on the theoretical model that each individual is comprised of a Self and multiple parts. The Self is the core, compassionate, and curious center of one's being. The parts can be seen as subpersonalities or distinct internal voices that serve protective or healing functions. There are three main categories of parts: Exiles, Managers, and Firefighters. Exiles are parts that carry burdens such as trauma, pain, and negative beliefs. They are often suppressed by other parts to avoid pain. Managers are parts that try to control situations and protect the individual from getting hurt. They aim to prevent exiled parts from emerging. When the Managers fail at suppressing the Exile parts, the Firefighters try to distract the Self with impulsive behaviors, like addictive behaviours (alcohol, drug use, video games, gambling, etc.), self-harming behaviours (disordered eating, cutting, suicidal ideation, etc.), or rage. What makes IFS different from many other therapeutic approaches is that IFS is a Non-Pathologizing Model. Schwartz emphasizes that there are no "bad" parts. Every part has a positive intention for the individual, even if their actions or effects can sometimes be harmful or negative. The idea is to approach each part with curiosity and without judgment and for the individual to connect the Self with its parts. The role of the therapist in IFS therapy is to help clients access the Self and to facilitate conversations between the Self and the various parts. This helps in understanding, unburdening, and reintegrating parts. Schwartz argues that understanding and applying the IFS model is not just therapeutic but also transformative in other areas of life. Recognizing the multiplicity of the mind can lead to increased self-awareness, improved relationships, and personal growth. No Bad Parts is a comprehensive guide to the IFS model, providing readers with both theoretical understanding and practical tools. By recognizing and honoring each part, individuals can heal from trauma, achieve internal harmony, and lead more fulfilled lives.
Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find--and Keep—Love
Amir Levine, MD and Rachel Heller, MA
Attached by Amir Levine, MD, and Rachel Heller, MA, delves into the science of adult attachment and how it can guide us through the complexities of love and relationships. Attachment Theory suggests that, based on early interactions with caregivers, people develop attachment styles that shapes their interpersonal relationships throughout their lives (for example, a child whose emotional needs are inconsistently met might develop an anxious attachment style). The three Attachment Styles are Secure, Anxious, and Avoidant. People with a Secure Attachment Style feel comfortable with intimacy and are usually warm and loving. They can manage ups and downs in relationships with compassion and understanding and are generally reliable. Those with an Anxious Attachment Style often worry about their relationships. They fear abandonment or are constantly seeking validation and reassurance from their partners. Avoidant individuals equate intimacy with a loss of independence and constantly try to minimize closeness. They often dodge deep emotional connections. Different attachment styles can result in various relationship dynamics. For instance, an anxious person and an avoidant person can find themselves in a push-pull dynamic, often referred to as the Anxious-Avoidant Trap, where one is constantly seeking closeness and the other is perpetually pulling away. Secure individuals, on the other hand, can provide stability and act as anchors in relationships. While these styles are deeply ingrained, they aren't static. Life experiences, especially in romantic relationships, can shift one's attachment style. A consistently supportive relationship, for instance, can move someone from anxious to more secure. Understanding one's attachment style and the style of potential partners can guide healthier relationship choices. The authors provide advice on recognizing and responding to different attachment behaviors. The book offers strategies for understanding and managing attachment-related challenges. For example, if you have an anxious attachment style, recognizing your need for reassurance can help you communicate more effectively with your partner. Recognizing and understanding attachment styles can also be valuable in therapy. It can help individuals and couples identify patterns and develop strategies to form healthier relationships. Attached provides a framework for understanding romantic relationships through the lens of attachment theory. By understanding and acknowledging our attachment style and the styles of those around us, we can navigate the complexities of relationships more effectively and find more fulfilling connections.
Man's Search for Meaning
Viktor E. Frankl
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl is a deeply profound book that blends memoir, psychology, and philosophy. The first part of the book recounts Frankl's harrowing experiences as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps during World War II, including Auschwitz. He describes the brutal conditions, the daily struggle for survival, and the psychological torment of the inmates. Frankl emphasizes that even in the direst circumstances, individuals can find meaning. For him and many others in the camps, the search for meaning was what gave them the strength to survive. This meaning could be derived from various sources: love, hope, work, or personal experiences. In the modern world, many people grapple with a feeling of emptiness or meaninglessness, a condition Frankl refers to as the "existential vacuum." This condition can lead to issues like depression, aggression, and addiction. Frankl suggests that this vacuum emerges in part from a lack of traditions and rituals, leaving individuals to search for personal meaning. In the context of logotherapy, therapists help patients find personal meaning in their lives, which can be particularly beneficial for those facing significant life challenges, traumas, or existential distress. The core message of Man's Search for Meaning is that life has potential meaning under any circumstances, even the most miserable ones. Our main motivation for living is our will to find meaning in life. Man's Search for Meaning is not just an exploration of the human psyche under extreme conditions but also a testament to the indomitable human spirit. Through his personal experiences and insights, Frankl offers readers a profound understanding of the importance of meaning and purpose in life.
Full disclosure: Craig Norton Psychotherapy earns from qualifying purchases through Amazon. We fully endorse the readings we recommend, however, and we are not induced or incentivized to recommend any particular book or resource listed on our site.