Four Ways to Click: Rewire Your Brain for Stronger, More Rewarding Relationships is a self-help book designed to illustrate, via a strongly neuroscience-based framework, the nature of reader’s personal relationships. The goal of the book is, ostensibly, to identify the reader’s strong and weak relationships through included evaluations and map out actions that can improve them. The explicit goal is to change the way readers’ brains are wired through interventions that target four specific brain regions as outlined in the book’s “C.A.R.E. Plan.”
Deborah Gray has written a compelling and easy to follow book to educate therapists on how to strengthen the quality of attachments when working with clients struggling with a variety of attachment difficulties. The book is geared towards therapists looking to learn more about attachment.
The Science of Addiction provides up-to-date research to explain causes of and treatment options for addiction. In so doing, author Carlton Erickson informs readers of the many facets of addiction, i.e., neurobiology, genetics, brain disease, and offers a detailed look at its manifestations. Thirteen distinct chapters help readers understand addiction. Chapters 1-3 focus on the terminology of addiction and why it confuses both professionals and the general public. A detailed look at what addiction is and what it is not is rooted in words. The author suggests that words like ‘addiction’ and ‘alcoholism’, as used in every day conversations, are “colloquial, unscientific, stigmatizing, and just plain wrong” (pg. 3). “Words matter!” he writes. “Precise language reduces misunderstanding, stigma and false impressions” (pg. 4).
Intimacy from the Inside Out (IFIO) by Toni Herbine-Blank, Donna M. Kerpelman, and Martha Sweezy is geared toward psychotherapists who are seeking an alternative method for practicing couples therapy. IFIO therapy stems from Internal Family Systems therapy (IFS), a model developed by Richard Schwartz in the 1980s as an approach to working with individuals and families, then later expanded to include couples. IFIO couple’s therapy involves a two-step process of planning for the predictable universal issues that couples face and responding skillfully to other unexpected factors. Couples entering IFIO therapy often hold the two goals of feeling safe within their relationship and reestablishing intimacy. In the initial session, the therapist meets with the couple to inquire about hopes and goals, assess their ability to accept differences in each other, and then offer a perspective on the possibilities of treatment.
“Can we bring the body closer to therapy and therapy closer to the body?”
Ann Todhunter Brode has focused on the body, mind, spirit relationship as it shapes our physical relationship for more than 40 years. “Your history determines your shape and eventually your shape determines your history,” she writes (pg. 105). Brode is a teacher, therapist, healer, and writer—her articles have been published in Health Source Magazine, Santa Barbara Independent, Huffington Post and our own SPT magazine.
Positive psychology is rooted in the idea that human beings want to thrive and engage in things that enrich their experiences and cultivate a meaningful life. In his 2014 book, Mindfulness and Character Strengths: A Practical Guide to Flourishing, author Ryan M. Niemiec discusses how practicing mindfulness can help individuals identify, understand, and apply their character strengths and create a pathway to a fulfilling life. He takes readers through Drs. Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman’s program Mindfulness-Based Strengths Practice (MBSP), relays inspiring success stories about finding meaning via MBSP, provides useful handouts to guide readers through MBSP, and gives tips for practitioners such as how to apply MBSP to different settings and situations. Mindfulness and Character Traits received praise for its revolutionary perspective. It reads like a self-help book, perfect for individuals who want to learn how to personally achieve mindfulness and discover their character strengths; however, it wasn’t written with the goal of teaching practitioners how to implement MBSP in their practice with their clients. With that in mind, Niemiec (2018) wrote his recently published book, Character Strength Interventions: A Field Guide for Practitioners for Practitioners. Additionally, he focuses more on the core of positive psychology, character strengths and less on how to achieve mindfulness. He educates the reader on the foundations of character strength interventions, relays evidence to support his claims about the usefulness of character strength interventions, and explains countless interventions step-by-step providing practitioners with a useful handbook.
Book offers personal stories about professional moments of failure. Fifteen psychotherapists define failure from their own perspective and courageously revisit client cases, some that occurred many years ago, to share intimate and revealing vignettes where the therapeutic bond was disrupted, where they were deeply wounded, and for some those wounds changed the course of their career. For all, these wounds remain as a tear in the fabric of their being.
Jaime Lowe’s memoir chronicles her struggles with bipolar disorder and explores lithium: the medication that saved her life but also caused her body irreparable harm. A story full of progress and setbacks, stability and mania, and hope and desolation, Lowe’s book is emotionally tumultuous. Written colloquially and free of highly scientific content, this book can cater to a wide audience. Though it is specifically useful and relevant for people who are bipolar and/or utilizing lithium medication, it’s also helpful for anyone who wants to understand these two things better. Lowe’s book offers both a raw and honest account of what it’s like to live with bipolar disorder and important information about lithium to provide a holistic understanding of her journey.
In a society that praises and encourages extroverted behavior, Susan Cain’s book Quiet Power: The Secret Strength of Introverts is a lifeline for youth and adolescents who struggle to accept and find the value in their introverted tendencies. Building on previous research on introversion, Cain’s book serves as both a self-help guide for introverts and a learning tool for clinicians seeking to understand introverts and adjust their practice accordingly.