Curling up with a book on the beach, by the pool, or in the shade of a tree at a park is a feeling readers look forward to every summer. Maybe you are a fan of mystery, romance, or contemporary novels, but if you are a mental health professional, we would like to recommend some particularly relevant reads.
You’re never done learning when you work in mental health. There are new theories, techniques, and studies published regularly all offering a better way to serve others. It’s also important to be mindful of your own well-being and coping mechanisms.
Taking the time to dive into a book on mindfulness, practicing new exercises you may incorporate into your clients’ treatment, or even analyzing a dense clinical book are all great ways to stay on top of your field's cutting edge. Remember that all types of reading are valid! If audiobooks are more your thing then use them.
The point is that you take the time for yourself to read, learn, and reflect. If you don’t know where to start, we’ve compiled book suggestions that will suit new to seasoned professionals and even those with just a budding interest in the field.
10 Books Every New Therapist Should Read
1. Beginning Mindfulness: Learning the Way of Awareness
By Andrew Weiss
“Meditation is not just something you do on a cushion or chair. Anything you do is an occasion to engage yourself mindfully in the present moment. When you engage mindfulness meditation in the present moment, it makes everything you do in your daily life sacred and full of meaning, even washing the dishes or turning on an electric light.”
Andrew Weiss’ approach to learning basic mindfulness techniques is a critical read for any new therapist who wants to stay on the cutting edge of emotional awareness and cognitive clarity as they relate to mental health.
2. A Guide to Possibility Land: Fifty-One Methods for Doing Brief, Respectful Therapy
by Sandy Beadle and Bill O`hanlon
“Change the viewing, map problem and goals, connect with internal and external resources, and change the doing.”
Bill O’Hanlon and Sandy Beadle teamed up to produce this book so that new therapists would have a handbook of easy to learn and easy to execute solutions for their clients. The majority of these solutions are probably things new therapists have heard of, like reframing, setting goals, and recruiting social support. Nonetheless, this book offers a no-nonsense example of executing each solution and then spells it out in detail immediately afterward.
3. The Bell Jar
By Sylvia Plath
“I wasn’t steering anything, not even myself. I just bumped from my hotel to work and to parties and from parties to my hotel and back to work like a numb trolleybus.”
Sylvia Plath’s first-person account of a slow descent into insanity is critical for therapists to read because it contains detailed descriptions of the thought patterns that can occur when people are in serious distress.
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by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
For any clients who are suffering from the effects of our achievement-oriented culture, perfectionism, and workaholism.
Backed by scientific data, this book makes a highly compelling argument for the ways in which we can become more productive by taking more time for self care. I’m consistently working with my clients to develop news ways to care for themselves, particularly during the holidays. Covering topics such as the importance of naps, vacations, hobbies, and sabbaticals, this book will change the way you think about your own relationship to time and productivity.
by Rebecca Pacheco
A client gifted me this book a few years ago and I re-read it and go back to it often. It’s a great way to connect to deeper aspects of yoga as well as integrate meditation and mindfulness into your life in a practical way. It’s one of those books I keep by my bedside. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in yoga and mindfulness and embracing being more present and compassionate. It’s a special book as the author’s tone is so relatable and down to earth, and it has inspiring principles of how to approach life.
by Peter Levine, PhD
I recommend reading Waking the Tiger as a precursor for clients who are curious about working through stress and trauma on a somatic level. The author is the founder of Somatic Experiencing therapy and shares his lifetime body of work on the neurobiology behind chronic stress which affects the vast majority of us in our modern world. Since our our autonomic stress-response fires in the body the same way regardless of whether we experience daily stressors, little “t” trauma, or big “T” trauma, the information in this book is relevant to all of us.
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Trust us that you'll want to look at the full lists of book recommendations. They even have links to easily purchase! Reading is one of the best ways to learn and expand our horizons spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually.
The field of mental health is ever expanding and we learn more everyday. This new knowledge brings better treatments, different perspectives and the continued discovery of how our bodies and minds are intertwined. It becomes clearer that who you surround yourself with from family to your community effects your well being. That means organizations like us need to be aware so we can stay current on all the areas we can help.
Victor is about helping others soar and that starts with mental and emotional well-being. We employ social workers, counselors, and therapists all over the state of California that are all dedicated to serving our clients. We want people who are passionate about helping others improve their lives. If that's you, we invite you to click the link below and see our current employment opportunities.