Ten Books on Trauma & PTSD
You are not what happened to you.
Psychiatry and clinical psychology researchers, practitioners, and students all agree that trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are important mental health issues. Here are ten new books that focus on identifying and understanding sources of traumatic events, diagnoses and treatments for PTSD, as well as research into possible causes and risk factors.
Since it’s Mental Health Awareness Month, I am dedicating the whole month of May to nonfiction on Mental Health topics. Next week, I’ll be sharing MEMOIRS that address mental health.
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What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing by Oprah Winfrey and Bruce D. Perry (2021) Flatiron Books | When questioning our emotions, it's easy to place the blame on ourselves; holding ourselves and those around us to an impossible standard. It's time we started asking a different question. Through deeply personal conversations, Oprah Winfrey and renowned brain and trauma expert Dr. Bruce Perry offer a groundbreaking and profound shift from asking "What's wrong with you?" to "What happened to you?"
What Doesn't Kill Us Makes Us: Who We Become After Tragedy and Trauma by Mike Mariani (2022) Ballantine Books | Tracing the lives of six people who have experienced profoundly life-changing events, journalist Mike Mariani explores the nuances and largely uncharted territory of what happens after one's life is severed into a before and after. If what doesn't kill us does not necessarily make us stronger, he asks, what does it make us?
Emotional Inheritance: A Therapist, Her Patients, and the Legacy of Trauma by Galit Atlas (2022) Little Brown Spark | In this transformative book, Galit Atlas entwines the stories of her patients, her own stories, and decades of research to help us identify the links between our life struggles and the "emotional inheritance" we all carry. For it is only by following the traces those ghosts leave that we can truly change our destiny.
The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a Toxic Culture by Gabor Maté (2022) Avery Publishing | Over four decades of clinical experience, Maté has come to recognize the prevailing understanding of "normal" as false, neglecting the roles that trauma and stress, and the pressures of modern-day living, exert on our bodies and our minds at the expense of good health. For all our expertise and technological sophistication, Western medicine often fails to treat the whole person, ignoring how today's culture stresses the body, burdens the immune system, and undermines emotional balance.
The Pain We Carry: Healing from Complex PTSD for People of Color by Natalie Y Gutiérrez (2022) New Harbinger Publications | If you are a person of color who has experienced repeated trauma--such as discrimination, race-related verbal assault, racial stigmatization, poverty, sexual trauma, or interpersonal violence--you may struggle with intense feelings of anger, mistrust, or shame. You may feel unsafe or uncomfortable in your own body, or struggle with building and keeping close relationships. Sometimes you may feel very alone in your pain. But you are not alone. This groundbreaking work illuminates the phenomena of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) as it is uniquely experienced by people of color, and provides a much-needed path to health and wholeness.
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The Unexpected Gift of Trauma: The Path to Posttraumatic Growth by Edith Shiro (2/21/23) Harvest Publications | In this first book of its kind, renowned clinical psychologist Dr. Edith Shiro shares a powerful, five-stage framework for posttraumatic growth, a transformational process that helps you not just heal, but achieve growth and expand consciousness in the face of trauma. Inspired by her grandparents, who were refugees and Holocaust survivors, Dr. Shiro has dedicated her life to individuals, families, and communities facing trauma and its aftereffects.
Truth and Repair: How Trauma Survivors Envision Justice by Judith Lewis Herman (3/14/23) Basic Books | The conventional retributive process fails to serve most survivors; it was never designed for them. Renowned trauma expert Judith L. Herman argues that the first step toward a better form of justice is simply to ask survivors what would make things as right as possible for them. In Truth and Repair, she commits the radical act of listening to survivors. Recounting their stories, she offers an alternative vision of justice as healing for survivors and their communities.
The Invisible Machine: The Startling Truth about Trauma and the Scientific Breakthrough That Can Transform Your Life by Eugene Lipov and Jamie Mustard (4/11/23) Benbella Books | Meet Dr. Eugene Lipov. His research and partnerships have led to an amazing discovery that all trauma has at its root a single piece of human hardware: the sympathetic nervous system, controlling the fight-or-flight response. Anyone who has endured trauma, including long-term microdoses of emotional stress, can have this injury. Dr. Lipov has pioneered a safe, 15-minute procedure that reverses the injury, relieving mild to extreme symptoms of PTSI--irritability, hypervigilance, anxiety, insomnia, and more--for survivors to combat soldiers to the everyday person.
The Modern Trauma Toolkit: Nurture Your Post-Traumatic Growth with Personalized Solutions by Christy Gibson (5/2/23) Hachette Go | Amid collective trauma, it helps to know that our bodies are built to respond to stress and what we might do to shift those reflexes. Having studied brain-based and body-based approaches to wellbeing, Dr. Christy Gibson teaches readers how to embrace their innate power and catalyze community wisdom. Drawing on her work with people suffering from stress and societal challenges, Dr. Gibson shares practical and effective mental health advice you can personalize.
Owning Our Struggles: A Path to Healing and Finding Community in a Broken World by Minaa B (8/22/23) Tarcher Perigree | In this powerful and practical guide, Minaa shares therapeutic tools, client stories, and actionable insights to help you on your healing journey, along with reflections from her personal experiences. Each chapter focuses on a common emotional struggle--from overcoming dysfunctional family patterns to developing emotional maturity, finding our village, navigating racial trauma, and moving past isolation and despair.
The journey to healing from trauma is not linear. Celebrate your progress, no matter how small.
Did you find any good books to add to your TBR? This is just a small sampling of the nonfiction titles I’ve curated on this topic. Make sure to check out the complete list HERE.
Let's Read Nonfiction is a weekly newsletter that showcases the newest nonfiction titles, with a new topic or theme each week. Some past topics have been:
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