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Book Recommendations for Individuals

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and we love helping stop the stigma against seeking mental health help. Mental health is as crucial to a person's overall health and well-being as physical health is. We here at Austin STRONG: Relationship Building Center are passionate about supporting and empowering our individual clients towards a healthy and loving relationship with themselves.

Too often, the stigma against seeking outside help keeps people feeling trapped and isolated in their pain. We want to send the message that there is help! There is hope! There are resources available to help you understand and heal the invisible wounds you carry. We are always happy to help with in person therapy sessions in our offices; however, here are some resources for you to begin your journey towards healing wherever you are.

Here are some common mental health issues and the resources we recommend:


Do you ever wonder what is happening inside your brain when you feel anxious, panicked, and worried? In Rewire Your Anxious Brain, psychologist Catherine Pittman and author Elizabeth Karle offer a unique, evidence-based solution to overcoming anxiety based in cutting-edge neuroscience and research.

The Stress-Proof Brain by Melanie Greenberg, PhD offers powerful, comprehensive tools based in mindfulness, neuroscience, and positive psychology to help you put a stop to unhealthy responses to stress—such as avoidance, tunnel vision, negative thinking, self-criticism, fixed mindset, and fear. Instead, you’ll discover unique exercises that provide a recipe for resilience, empowering you to master your emotional responses, overcome negative thinking, and create a more tolerant, stress-proof brain.


"Through a breath-taking journey across the world, [in Lost Connections] Johann Hari exposes us to extraordinary people and concepts that will change the way we see depression forever. It is a brave, moving, brilliant, simple and earth-shattering book that must be read by everyone and anyone who is longing for a life of meaning and connection." - Eve Ensler, author of THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES

In I Don't Want to Talk About It, Terrence Real examines the dirty little secret of the American Male: chronic depression. As the author sees it, men who fall prey to depressive disorders are caught in a double bind. Since their feelings of helplessness are considered unmanly, they tend to hide them, which makes the descent into blackness even steeper. The solution? Real urges men (and women!) to cast aside their clichéd notions of gender and to accept that feelings are neither masculine nor feminine but essentially human.

How to Stop Feeling So Damn Depressed by Jonas Horowritz PhD

In this no-nonsense guide for men, psychologist Jonas Horwitz presents straightforward, jargon-free strategies to help you identify and overcome depression, once and for all. In order to overcome your depression, you must understand its nature. This book will help you understand The Beast, stop feeding it, and take back your life.

Self-Esteem/Perfectionism Issues:

Are you, like milllions of Americans, caught in The Happiness Trap? Russ Harris explains that the way most of us go about trying to find happiness ends up making us miserable, driving the epidemics of stress, anxiety, and depression. This empowering book presents the insights and techniques of ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) a revolutionary new psychotherapy based on cutting-edge research in behavioral psychology. By clarifying your values and developing mindfulness (a technique for living fully in the present moment), ACT helps you escape the happiness trap and find true satisfaction in life.

Real Love by Sharon Salzberg is a creative tool kit of mindfulness exercises and meditation techniques that help you to truly engage with your present experience and create deeper love relationships with yourself, your partner, friends and family, and with life itself.

Relationship Issues:

Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller guides readers in determining what attachment style they and their mate (or potential mates) follow. It also offers readers a wealth of advice on how to navigate their relationships more wisely given their attachment style and that of their partner. An insightful look at the science behind love, Attached offers readers a road map for building stronger, more fulfilling connections.

Is someone else's problem your problem? If, like so many others, you've lost sight of your own life in the drama of tending to someone else's, you may be codependent--and you may find yourself in this book--Codependent No More by Melody Beattie

The healing touchstone of millions, this modern classic by one of America's best-loved and most inspirational authors holds the key to understanding codependency and to unlocking its stultifying hold on your life.


Healing Developmental Trauma by Laurence Heller and Aline LaPierre

Written for those working to heal developmental trauma and seeking new tools for self-awareness and growth, this book focuses on conflicts surrounding the capacity for connection. Explaining that an impaired capacity for connection to self and to others and the ensuing diminished aliveness are the hidden dimensions that underlie most psychological and many physiological problems, clinicians Laurence Heller and Aline LaPierre introduce the NeuroAffective Relational Model® (NARM), a unified approach to developmental, attachment, and shock trauma that, while not ignoring a person’s past, emphasizes working in the present moment.

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk

Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Such experiences inevitably leave traces on minds, emotions, and even on biology. Sadly, trauma sufferers frequently pass on their stress to their partners and children.

Family Of Origin Trauma and Abuse:

Breaking the Cycle of Abuse by Beverly Engel

If you were emotionally, physically, or sexually abused as a child or adolescent, or if you experienced neglect or abandonment, it isn't a question of whether you will continue the cycle of abuse but rather a question of how--whether you will become an abuser or continue to be a victim. In this breakthrough book, Beverly Engel, a leading expert on emotional and sexual abuse, explains how to stop the cycle of abuse once and for all.

It Didn't Start with You by Mark Wolynn

Depression. Anxiety. Chronic Pain. Phobias. Obsessive thoughts. The evidence is compelling: the roots of these difficulties may not reside in our immediate life experience or in chemical imbalances in our brains—but in the lives of our parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents. The latest scientific research, now making headlines, supports what many have long intuited—that traumatic experience can be passed down through generations.

Of course there are many more mental health resources and guides out there, but these are a few to help get you started on your journey towards your healthiest and happiest self. If one or more of these books resonate with you and you would like to come in to continue your self-empowerment journey in person, please reach out!

We would love to help support you towards creating your most fulfilling life and relationships. Check out our Team page and see if there is a therapist who resonates with your needs. We offer free phone consults to ensure that you are matched with the best therapist for you!

This post is part of our Mental Health Awareness Month blog series for May 2019.

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