Books

Continuing education is an important part of my role. The following list is mostly for my records, but if you have found yourself here, you are welcome to take a look.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (2nd Ed.): The process and practice of mindful change by Steven Hayes, Kirk Strosahl, & Kelly Wilson. (2016).

I had read chapters of this book previously. Re-reading the early chapters exploring the conceptual model, including human’s development of language and Relational Frame Theory (RFT), underpinning ACT was extremely useful before launching into further ACT training.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari (2011)

Four hundred and sixty-six pages of context. This engaging book takes an evolutionary view to describe first, the cognitive revolution of 70,000 years ago, followed by the agricultural, unification and scientific revolutions. The cognitive revolution links nicely to Relational Frame Theory which underpins Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Subsequent “revolutions” in how humans live and interact with each other and the world around us have moved us a very long way from the environment in which we evolved in a relatively short space of time (again, from a evolutionary perspective). The book concludes with possibilities for what this may mean for the continued evolution of our species.

Reinventing your life: The breakthrough program to end negative behavior and feel great again by Jeffrey Young and Janet Klosko (1994)

The self-help book accompanying Young’s Schema Therapy (see below). Written in a highly accessible manner, this book explains the complex ideas discussed in Schema Therapy and then focuses on the cognitive and behavioural techniques for changing problematic behaviour. The book also give very clear guidance on when readers should seek professional help. It will be a very helpful adjunct to individual Schema Therapy.

Schema Therapy: A practitioner’s guide by Jeffrey Young, Janet Klosko and Marjorie Weishaar (2003)

My hope is that Schema Therapy will assist in my work with people with more complex difficulties. Specifically, the people who say “I get it, I understand it, but I don’t believe it”. This book for therapists contains a thorough introduction to the conceptual model of Schema Therapy which reminds readers of the role of temperament and early attachment in the development of later psychological difficulties. Many of the techniques described in the later chapters were very familiar to this CBT therapist. The chapter on the extensive use of Visualisation opened many new possibilities for working with people. The ideas of Mode Work are similarly full of potential.

Book review of Enough as She Is: How to Help Girls move beyond Impossible Standards of Success to Live Health, Happy and Fulfilling Lives by Rachel Simmons (2018)

Enough as She Is shines a spotlight on the pressures facing adolescent girls and young women today and encourages those young women, their families, friends and communities, to see them as “enough as she is”. Anyone struggling with perfectionistic standards and role overload would benefit from reading this book, considering the questions it poses and completing some of the exercises.

Book Review of The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris (2007)

This is one of the books I recommend most often. This book explores the principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and how to use these to assist you to work through whatever issues you may be facing. This is an easy to read and digest book. Russ has written several other books and his website https://www.actmindfully.com.au contains other helpful resources.

Book review of Quiet by Susan Cain (2012)

Susan Cain’s book reminds us that the world needs people at the introvert end of the spectrum every bit as much as people at the other end. My one caveat when reading this book is to note that these personality types sit on the opposite ends of a continuum. The vast majority of us will sit somewhere between the two extremes.  In addition to the book, Susan has recorded a Ted Talk which nicely summarises her work. I recommend this book and the Ted Talk to people who are anxious, hoping that they may recognise that some of what has been labelled “anxiety” is more accurately a preference for some solitude and time to think deeply about the world. This is not pathology, in fact, the world could do with a bit more of it.

Smart Mothering: What science says about caring for your baby and yourself by Dr Natalie Flynn (2019)

Natalie’s book presents and reviews the evidence about a number of controversies in parenting. In doing so, she removes a lot of the emotional push and pull that can weigh so much on new (sleep-deprived!) parents. She gives power and autonomy back to parents to make decisions which work for them and their families.

Supernormal: Childhood adversity and the untold story of resilience by Meg Jay (2018)

This book took my understanding of “adversity” and tipped it on its head. Meg Jay’s beautifully written book takes the form of a series of short stories, or case histories, if you will. Stories of people who have experienced some form of adversity during childhood, such as violence or drug use in the home or the loss of a parent. Meg details what they did to cope with those things, coping methods which to grown-up eyes can look “unhelpful” but which speak to the very human drive to survive. In telling these stories Meg reminds us that right alongside adversity, there is resilience.