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10 Must-Read Books About Mental Health

Last Updated on April 28, 2016 by Inspire Malibu

The stigma surrounding mental health issues has lost significant footing in recent years. Yet with almost 44 million people experiencing some type of mental illness in a given year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), there is more work to be done so that anyone suffering from disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, phobias and schizophrenia can seek the treatment they need.

10 Books About Mental Health

In an effort to educate those living with mental illness and their loved ones, here’s a list of 10 excellent books about mental health:

1. The Drama of the Gifted Child – psychologist and author, Alice Miller, writes about how some of the world’s most successful people are troubled by feelings of alienation and emptiness. This book takes on the discussion of how too many children hide their feelings and desires to win their parents’ approval, love and expectations, and that healing can come by discovering and admitting our own essential needs.

2. Self-Help That Works – six scientist-practitioners sift through the myriad of self-help literature and resources on the market today, and assist both mental health professionals and laypersons in identifying effective self-help material from the misleading or harmful.

3. On Becoming a Person – authored by the late Carl Rogers, famous for his psychotherapeutic concept of “client-centered therapy,” this book focuses on the rift that quick-fix drugs, like Prozac, have created between some psychotherapists and their clients. Rogers writes about the benefits of the “therapeutic encounter.”

4. The Courage To Create – the Boston Globe wrote that Dr. Rollo May’s book is “extraordinary, wise and hopeful.” Drawing from his own experience, Dr. May posits that art and imagination are the foundations of human existence, and how our creative impulses can fuel new possibilities and achievements.

5. Codependent No More – this self-help classic, written by Melody Beattie and published in 1986, garnered much attention. The focus of this straightforward and practical book is on unlocking your potential by releasing yourself from the problems of others.

6. Man’s Search For Meaning – originally published in 1946, this memoir, written by the psychiatrist Viktor Frankl about his time as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps, is among the most influential books in America. Frankl, who watched his pregnant wife perish, along with his brother and parents in the death camps, argues that suffering cannot be avoided. It can, however, be used to find meaning and purpose in life.

7. The Search for Authenticity – one of the foremost advocates for Existential-Humanistic Therapy, Dr. James Bugental writes that human beings seek meaning, value and creativity. This book is about the exploration of the human spirit and of self.

8. Healing the Shame That Binds You – the author, John Bradshaw, is quoted as saying, “I used to drink to solve the problems caused by drinking.” Shame, Bradshaw writes, is the reason for so much toxic behavior. This book helps individuals to identify their personal shame, the underlying causes for it, and ultimately to release it on the path to a healthier, happier life.

9. Surviving and Other Essays – an often-controversial figure, Bruno Bettleheim, a child psychologist, investigates the theme of survival in this collection of 24 of his most famous essays. Bettleheim discusses this theme with the backdrop of the holocaust and his time in Nazi concentration camps.

10. Witness to the Fire: Creativity and the Veil of Addiction – this book explores the tumultuous and dark world of addiction and the hope of recovery through creativity. Author, Dr. Linda Schierse Leonard, studies the relationship between addiction and creativity in the lives of famous writers as well as ordinary people, and how anyone trapped in addiction can reclaim their power.

We’d like to Thank Dr. Clinton Weyand for providing us with this list of mental health books.


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