Spirituality, Philosophy, Existentialism, & Inspiration
Classic tale translated into dozens of languages, in which a prophet who is leaving a village, first bestows small jewels of wisdom on the inhabitants before boarding a ship for home.
Follow Your Heart
Oriah Mountain Dreamer
Based on the prose poem of the same name, an exploration of the important stuff that lies underneath the masks which we present to one another.
A novel in which an elderly Italian grandmother who is dying writes to her American granddaughter, offering her wisdom from the years and mistakes of her own life.
Swamplands of the Soul: New Life in Dismal Places
The Essential Rumi
A Jungian analyst goes down into the dank, dark places to show that the point of life is to find meaning, not just happiness. A book about psychological dignity and spiritual integrity.
Thirteenth-century Sufi poetry about love, religion, passion, drunkenness, friendship, isolation, and beauty
The Way of Transformation
When Bad Things Happen to Good People
Karlfried Graf von Durckheim
Out of print and hard to find, but a good, dense philosophical-spiritual treatise on the practice of becoming a “true” human being.
A classic book by a rabbi who tackles the randomness, unfairness, and pain of loss from a Judeo-Christian perspective.
When Things Fall Apart
Charlotte Joko Beck
A good introduction to spiritual simplicity, “grounded happiness,” and finding joy in the mundane, written by an American Zen teacher.
A Tibetan Buddhist nun talks about how to go on living when we are overcome by despair, anxiety, and depression.
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A manual for body-focused self-therapy. Takes practice, but results can be stunning.
Getting in Touch: The Guide to New Body-Centered Therapies
Getting Our Bodies Back
An edited compilation written by the founders of various methods of body-centered therapies.
A somatic (body-centered) psychotherapist writes about addiction as a way that people become “disembodied” and distracted from their feelings.
Waking the TigerHealing Trauma
Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self
A wonderfully thorough book about how and why trauma happens, how it heals, and even how to apply psychological “first aid” to children after a potentially traumatizing injury or event.
A rich textbook on the theory and neurology of emotional development, and the attachment between mother and infant. For the advanced graduate student or clinician.
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Critiques of Psychology & Psychiatry
The Heart and Soul of Change: What Works in Therapy
Mark Hubble, Barry Duncan, & Scott Miller
Essential for clinicians and students who want to better understand the pan-theoretical common factors that predict therapeutic effectiveness.
The Heroic Client
Barry Duncan, Scott Miller & Jacqueline Sparks
A book challenging the utility of the medical model in helping people change. The authors examine the large body of clinical research and propose that therapists stop diagnosing and focus on what works: enabling people's own resources, and tracking cleints' experiences of the therapy process to make the process more effective and more accountable. They call their approach: Client-Directed, Outcome-Informed therapy.
Insanity: The Idea and Its Consequences
A good introduction to Szasz, an “anti-psychiatrist.” Here, as in many of his books, Szasz critiques (to an extreme) the biological view of mental illness, and favors a very strict existentialist interpretation of behavior.
A thorough indictment of the psychiatric and psychopharmaceutical establishments. Breggin is a modern “anti-psychiatrist,” and some of his interpretations of the research take too many liberties. Nevertheless, this book gives plenty of evidence critiquing the biopsychiatric view of mental disorders.
Empirical Evidence Disconfirms the Biopsychiatric Ontology of Mental Disorders
Experience is a Biochemical Intervention
1998 Doctoral Paper (Download PDF Now)
Seidel, J.A. (2005). Experience is a biochemical intervention: Reconceptualizing the “biology based mental illness.” Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 69(2), 157-171. New article following up on some of the research in the doctoral paper
(Download PDF now)
Translated into Spanish:
Seidel, J.A. (2005). La experiencia es una intervencin bioqumica: Una reconceptualizacin del "trastorno mental con base biolgica" Revista de Psicoterapia (Psicoterapia, Neurobiologa, y Neurociencias), 16(61), 105-119. New article following up on some of the research in the doctoral paper
(Download PDF now)
South Carolina Client Network
A psychiatrist’s alternative, humanistic view of the medical model of mental illness.
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Narcissism Is Not Self-Love
Narcissism: Denial of the True Self
Written by an early pioneer in body-oriented psychotherapy, Lowen’s book is a good primer on how narcissism works, in the mind and body. A little on the fringe, perhaps, but it introduces some interesting and useful concepts.
Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self
On Narcissism: An Introduction
A classic in the field of psychology, this is a more sophisticated and traditional description of narcissism (those who wish to go to the ‘source’ should check out Freud’s seminal “On Narcissism,” a monograph he wrote in 1914). Written by a German psychoanalyst who assumes the reader has some background in psychology, but accessible for those who are truly interested.
The seminal work on narcissistic character development. Still relevant 90 years later.
Henderson the Rain King
Voted one of the top 25 novels of the twentieth century, Bellow explores narcissism in a middle-aged man who “wakes up” in an existential crisis and begins to develop a core sense of self as he travels through Africa. Analogous to “Another Woman” in some ways (see Films).
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Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe
Gavin De Becker
A security expert writes about the warning signs and dangers that parents should be aware of, to prevent the devastation of their children by adults. May be difficult to read for those who have been victimized as children.
Leadership from the Inside Out
A book of oxymoronic, paradoxical, and ironic quotations (several of which appear on this website), such as “Life begins on the other side of despair” (Jean-Paul Sartre).
A corporate trainer provides a Jungian approach to practicing authentic leadership, by focusing on “being real” rather than “being right;” and leadership as “who we are” rather than “what we do.”
A Walk in the Woods
Pure silliness and fun, a travelogue of Bryson’s attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail. Perhaps there is some symbolism in here (Amazon says the book shows “the journey is the destination,”), but mostly it just makes people laugh out loud. Good medicine for dreary times.
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