The best books to learn how to heal anxiety and depression

Hilary Jacobs Hendel Author Of It's Not Always Depression: Working the Change Triangle to Listen to the Body, Discover Core Emotions, and Connect to Your Authentic Self
By Hilary Jacobs Hendel

Who am I?

I am a psychoanalyst, AEDP psychotherapist, emotions educator, author, speaker, and blogger. My passion is sharing what I learned in my psychotherapy training with people interested in improving their emotional health. I became increasingly outraged that everyone did not have access to this crucial information on emotions so I started writing and teaching. After almost 20 years of teaching and using the Change Triangle, I have found it to be the most practical tool to increase emotional health and to reduce and heal anxiety and depression at its roots for lasting change. It is a true game-changer for well-being.


I wrote...

It's Not Always Depression: Working the Change Triangle to Listen to the Body, Discover Core Emotions, and Connect to Your Authentic Self

By Hilary Jacobs Hendel,

Book cover of It's Not Always Depression: Working the Change Triangle to Listen to the Body, Discover Core Emotions, and Connect to Your Authentic Self

What is my book about?

Our dysfunctional society teaches us to push away emotions instead of teaching us how to work with emotions in healthy ways. Pushing down emotions like anger, sadness, and joy, is precisely what leads to anxiety, depression, and a feeling of disconnection from our full self. 

It's Not Always Depression shows you how to work with your emotions for greater well-being now and over your lifetime. Through stories of healing and transformation, jargon-free science explanations, and gentle exercises this book teaches us all we need to know about emotions to thrive amidst the many emotional challenges of life. 

The books I picked & why

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The Transforming Power of Affect: A Model for Accelerated Change

By Diana Fosha,

Book cover of The Transforming Power of Affect: A Model for Accelerated Change

Why this book?

Before I learned about emotions, I believed my anxiety and depression had to be managed but could not be healed at the root. Learning that emotions were not under conscious control and that they were physical experiences that had purpose and meaning changed the way I understood myself for the better. It changed my mental health permanently and in the best ways. It gave me permission to be more authentic. I felt less ashamed of my feelings and more confident that I could help myself and be better in relationships.


Internal Family Systems Therapy

By Richard C. Schwartz, Martha Sweezy,

Book cover of Internal Family Systems Therapy

Why this book?

Internal Family Systems Therapy by Richard Schwartz taught me a new way to think about the mind and complemented perfectly what I learned in The Transforming Power of Affect. So much of what causes human suffering has to do with conscious and unconscious conflicts. When we learn that our minds consist of various “parts” that can hold differing realities, memories, emotions, sensations, and more, it is so helpful for self-understanding and self-compassion. For me, I stopped trying to reconcile irreconciled aspects of myself and instead set out to learn about the different parts of myself. This further helped me integrate myself for greater well-being.


Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma: The Innate Capacity to Transform Overwhelming Experiences

By Peter A. Levine,

Book cover of Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma: The Innate Capacity to Transform Overwhelming Experiences

Why this book?

Waking the Tiger by Peter Levine explains how trauma becomes lodged in the body and how it gets released. Studying animals and how they don’t suffer trauma because they tremble through their emotions instead of thwarting them helped me gain more confidence to let emotions flow through my body. The explanation of trauma and how it is healed built my confidence that there is hope for healing our deepest wounds.


Shame and Pride: Affect, Sex, and the Birth of the Self

By Donald L. Nathanson,

Book cover of Shame and Pride: Affect, Sex, and the Birth of the Self

Why this book?

I always recommend that my clients read up on the inhibitory emotion of shame. Shame is an emotion that adversely affects everyone. Toxic shame, the kind that creates deep insecurities, is insidious. Untreated it leads to depression and aggression. Understanding how shame and pride deeply affect the mind and body is a game-changer for health and well-being. This book is chock full of information you have likely never heard before.


The Psychology of Shame: Theory and Treatment of Shame-Based Syndromes

By Gershen Kaufman,

Book cover of The Psychology of Shame: Theory and Treatment of Shame-Based Syndromes

Why this book?

I recommend The Psychology of Shame by Gershen Kaufman because it is a manual for how to be with others in ways that are loving, kind, healthy, and healing. Our societies shame us left and right. And deep-seated toxic shame ultimately causes mental illnesses like chronic anxiety, eating disorders, addictions, and depression.


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