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

The Books I Picked & Why

The Transforming Power of Affect: A Model for Accelerated Change

By Diana Fosha

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.


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Internal Family Systems Therapy

By Richard C. Schwartz, Martha Sweezy

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.


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

By Peter A. Levine

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.


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

By Donald L. Nathanson

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.


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

By Gershen Kaufman

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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