Our Current Book Recommendations
The items listed below were part of our Fall 2014 Book Recommendations. Click here or click a book category for more book reviews.
The Upside of Your Dark Side
Why Being Your Whole Self—Not Just Your “Good” Self—Drives Success and Fulfillment
By Todd Kashdan, PhD, and Robert Biswas-Diener, Dr. Philos (Hudson Street Press, 2014)
When two leaders in the field of positive psychology start talking about embracing “negative” emotions, it’s worth paying attention. Kashdan’s past research and writings have focused on positive emotions and sustaining happiness; one of Biswas-Diener’s previous books was simply titled Happiness. Now they’re rounding out the story by arguing that feelings such as anger, anxiety, guilt and sadness have an acceptable place in a balanced life—and actually can be productive.
That’s good news for anyone who finds it hard to achieve blissful nirvana—which is everyone. So if we can’t avoid anger, can it be fuel for creativity? Guilt could power improvement instead of paralysis. Ditto for self-doubt. Kashdan and Biswas-Diener entertainingly marshal scientific research and real life examples to show why and how it can be done.
That’s not to say that fostering positive thinking should be overlooked as part of recovery. Increasing our optimism and resilience can only be of benefit. But so is accepting, and exploiting, our whole emotional selves without shame.
The Anger Management Workbook
Use the STOP Method to Replace Destructive Responses with Constructive Behavior
By W. Robert Nay, PhD (Guilford, 2014)
Learn skills to help you “use the STOP Method to replace destructive responses with constructive behavior.” The STOP Method (stop, think, objectify and plan) is based on learning to recognize signs of anger, understand thought patterns involved, learn more effective communication skills, and find “win-win” solutions for conflict resolution.
A Guide for Patients and Families
By Francis Mark Mondimore, MD (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014)
Valuable reference by a psychiatrist who is director of the Mood Disorders Clinic at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center is out in a new edition. Peppered with real-life examples, it’s informative but not overly technical. Readers will get a comprehensive overview of symptoms and treatments, and even some historical background.
The Mood Repair Toolkit
Proven Strategies to Prevent the Blues from Turning into Depression
By David A. Clark, PhD (Guilford, 2014)
Worksheets, quizzes and other exercises to help “prevent the blues from turning into depression,” as the book’s subtitle puts it. Drawing on the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy, the 80 strategies presented here aim to reduce negativity, defuse self-criticism, and generally decrease your risk for a full-bore depressive episode.
Wisdom from the Couch
Knowing and Growing Yourself from the Inside Out
By Jennifer Kunst, PhD (Central Recovery Press, 2014)
Leading psychoanalyst explains how exploring your unconscious mind and its influences on your actions can lead to lasting change. The emphasis is on practical ways to apply psychoanalytic ideas to everyday concerns, and the ultimate goal is a richer life—or “knowing and growing yourself from the inside out.”
Change Your Brain to Break Bad Habits, Overcome Addictions, Conquer Self-Destructive Behavior
By Richard O’Connor, PhD (Hudson Street Press, 2014)
How to change habits by challenging the “automatic brain” that sabotages our efforts to adopt positive and healthful behaviors. Combining findings from neuroscience and psychology, this book looks at strengthening neural circuitry that helps us ignore distractions, withstand temptations, and exercise self-control. Tools include mindfulness, confronting fear, and freeing yourself from guilt.