Some of the books I frequently recommend to clients!
I Thought it Was Just Me
The quest for perfection is exhausting and unrelenting. There is a constant barrage of social expectations that teach us that being imperfect is synonymous with being inadequate. Everywhere we turn, there are messages that tell us who, what and how we’re supposed to be. So, we learn to hide our struggles and protect ourselves from shame, judgment, criticism and blame by seeking safety in pretending and perfection.
Dr. Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW, is the leading authority on the power of vulnerability, and has inspired thousands through her top-selling book The Gifts of Imperfection, wildly popular TEDx talk, and a PBS special. Based on seven years of her ground-breaking research and hundreds of interviews, I Thought It Was Just Me shines a long-overdue light on an important truth: Our imperfections are what connect us to each other and to our humanity. Our vulnerabilities are not weaknesses; they are powerful reminders to keep our hearts and minds open to the reality that we’re all in this together.
The Gifts of Imperfection
In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown, a leading expert on shame, authenticity, and belonging, shares ten guideposts on the power of Wholehearted living—a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.
Each day we face a barrage of images and messages from society and the media telling us who, what, and how we should be. We are led to believe that if we could only look perfect and lead perfect lives, we’d no longer feel inadequate. So most of us perform, please, and perfect, all the while thinking, “What if I can’t keep all of these balls in the air? Why isn’t everyone else working harder and living up to my expectations? What will people think if I fail or give up? When can I stop proving myself?”
In her ten guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as she explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, “No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough,” and to go to bed at night thinking, “Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. And, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging.”
Every day we experience the uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure that define what it means to be vulnerable or to dare greatly. Based on twelve years of pioneering research, Dr. Brené Brown dispels the cultural myth that vulnerability is weakness and argues that it is, in truth, our most accurate measure of courage.
Brown explains how vulnerability is both the core of difficult emotions like fear, grief, and disappointment,and the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, empathy, innovation, and creativity. She writes: “When we shut ourselves off from vulnerability, we distance ourselves from the experiences that bring purpose and meaning to our lives.”
Daring Greatly is not about winning or losing. It’s about courage. In a world where “never enough” dominates and feeling afraid has become second nature, vulnerability is subversive. Uncomfortable. It’s even a little dangerous at times. And, without question, putting ourselves out there means there’s a far greater risk of getting criticized or feeling hurt.
When we deny our stories, they define us.
When we own our stories, we get to write the ending.
Social scientist Brené Brown has ignited a global conversation on courage, vulnerability, shame, and worthiness. Her pioneering work uncovered a profound truth: Vulnerability—the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome—is the only path to more love, belonging, creativity, and joy. But living a brave life is not always easy: We are, inevitably, going to stumble and fall.
It is the rise from falling that Brown takes as her subject in Rising Strong. As a grounded theory researcher, Brown has listened as a range of people—from leaders in Fortune 500 companies and the military to artists, couples in long-term relationships, teachers, and parents—shared their stories of being brave, falling, and getting back up. She asked herself, What do these people with strong and loving relationships, leaders nurturing creativity, artists pushing innovation, and clergy walking with people through faith and mystery have in common? The answer was clear: They recognize the power of emotion and they’re not afraid to lean in to discomfort.
Growing Yourself Back Up
Someone pushes your buttons . . . you feel rage . . . fear . . . sweaty palms . . . unbidden tears . . . you feel like a kid . . .
We’ve all experienced moments when we lose control of a situation and ourselves. Now, in Growing Yourself Back Up, the first book to explain the idea of emotional regression to the general reader, bestselling author John Lee identifies the circumstances that cause these seemingly uncontrollable feelings and shows how they are directly tied to our experience as children.
No adult, explains Lee, need ever experience the helpless feelings of childhood again. Here are his proven methods and visualization exercises, developed in his popular workshops, for recognizing, preventing, and diffusing regression in ourselves and others. He teaches, for example, that adults cannot be abandoned, they can only be left; if we’re feeling abandoned we’re regressing. He also reminds us that no matter how overwhelmed we are, adults always have options; if we believe we don’t, we’re in a regression.
Resources specific to Eating Disorders
Making Peace with Your Plate
Robyn Cruze, Espra Andrus
With its unique three-phase approach to eating, this book smashes the illusion of control, the power, and the lies of the deadly illness of disordered eating, providing a concrete plan for long-term recovery.
Robyn Cruze is a certified coach and author who struggled with an eating disorder that crippled her spirit for over a decade. She is now sharing her experience and her path to recovery with others.
Espra Andrus, LCSW, is a clinical therapist who maintains a private practice in St. George, Utah. She specializes in working with individuals who suffer with anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorders.
8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder: Effective Strategies from a Therapeutic Practice and Personal Experience
A unique and personal look into treatment of eating disorders, written by a therapist and her former patient, now a therapist herself.
This is no ordinary book on how to overcome an eating disorder. The authors bravely share their unique stories of suffering from and eventually overcoming their own severe eating disorders. Interweaving personal narrative with the perspective of their own therapist-client relationship, their insights bring an unparalleled depth of awareness into just what it takes to successfully beat this challenging and seemingly intractable clinical issue.
For anyone who has suffered, their family and friends, and other helping professionals, this book should be by your side. With great compassion and clinical expertise, Costin and Grabb walk readers through the ins and outs of the recovery process, describing what therapy entails, clarifying the common associated emotions such as fear, guilt, and shame, and, most of all, providing motivation to seek help if you have been discouraged, resistant, or afraid. The authors bring self-disclosure to a level not yet seen in an eating disorder book and offer hope to readers that full recovery is possible.
Breaking Free from Emotional Eating
There is an end to the anguish of emotional eating — and this book explainshow to achieve it. Geneen Roth, whose Feeding the Hungry Heart and When FoodIs Love have brought understanding and acceptance to tens of thousands ofreaders over the last two decades, here outlines her proven program forresolving the conflicts at the root of overeating. Using simple techniquesdeveloped in her highly successful seminars, she offers reassuring,practical advice.
Imagine Me…Love My Body
Dawn Dillon, Margaret Summy
Through examples, ideas, and suggestions, this book shows readers how to raise their self-esteem and self-confidence as they learn to change out-of-date beliefs. This easy-to-read inspiring book appeals to adolescents, parents, educators, health professionals, sports and fitness professionals, dietitians, and the general population.
Other good resources for Eating Disorders
NEDA partners with Screening for Mental Health, Inc. (SMH) to provide an online eating disorder screening tool. Found at www.MyBodyScreening.org, this website provides people with the option to take a free, anonymous self-assessment to gauge their risk of an eating disorder. The anonymous SMH online screening takes only a few minutes and consists of a series of questions, developed by treatment professionals in the eating disorders field, which are designed to indicate whether clinical help is needed.