At this stage of my career, these are the books and writers I am sharing most often with my clients. The writers here, each with a unique perspective, contribute to our ability to read about and then begin to achieve more conscious, loving and evolved interactions with one another. I have been fortunate to attend lectures and trainings with many of these researchers, clinicians and poets and have even undertaken extensive personal study with a few of them. Books are my friends; let me introduce some of them to you here.
Improving Communication and Closeness with your Partner
When I ask couples why they've come to therapy, most use the word "communication" in their response. Human beings struggle mightily to understand and be understood, and when talking with someone extremely important, the stakes are higher and the difficulty increases. From a young age, we are taught to choose and then defend a position, and to the degree we can do this well, we succeed in school and at work. But this strategy of arguing for a position (as if your partner is an adversary) damages trust in a love relationship.
Parenting Together/Parenting Through Divorce
Once couples forge a life together, often the next step is having children. But then, as increased obligations are loaded in, couples struggle, drift. These books identify ways to safeguard your positivity and mental health as parents.
Getting Past a Toxic Relationship
First of all, if you are drawn to this section, you may be in enormous emotional pain. You may have read all of the books available, but none work for you. All the relationship self help books in the world will not help your relationship if your partner willfully hurts you or uses coercion and control in every aspect of conflict. Please take a moment to consider one positive thing you can do for yourself today, apart from the heartache and pain. Besides arming yourself with for your own personal growth, consider the importance of self care, and if you find that you just cannot manage, reach out to a support group or therapist or virtual workshop to create a new beginning.
Gottman's research finds that the foundation for great sex is a healthy friendship system. The components of this system are updated Love Maps, a thriving Fondness and Admiration System, and predictable patterns of Turning Towards. In most instances, sexual gratification won't steadily improve without attention to the friendship system. Keeping that in mind, here are some books to help you along the way toward increased sexual intimacy.
Affair Repair & Rebuilding Trust
Many people arrive in my office just post the discovery or disclosure of an affair. There is almost nothing as devastating. But I would not do this kind of work with couples if there weren't every reason to hope, not just of restoring trust, but of maybe even having a better relationship than ever before.
Self Care, Healing, and Transformation
A great deal of my personal growth has come from literature. Read a great work of fiction and in relating to it, you will have healed something. This website is too limited in scope to list works of fiction, but consider joining a book club where personal growth and psychology are emphasized through literature. In addition, I hope you will consider these contemporary books by inspiring poets, philosophers, and researchers.
New Frontiers in the Neurobiology of Interpersonal Connection and Emotion
For those of you who want to understand the science behind the therapist's approach, these books offer interesting ideas.