This week’s prompt is hosted by The Thousand Book Project — “Three ways to join in this week! You can either share 3 or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).”
I chose to “Be the expert” on a topic I’ve been reading a lot about lately: trauma, especially childhood trauma, the psychological damage it causes, and new methods of healing that are informed by our emerging knowledge about the brain and how it processes experience. I find this to be one of the most fascinating and important challenges for our time — because even if you have not personally experienced childhood trauma, your life is affected by those who have, and our society has to learn how to heal itself before it rips itself apart.
So in addition to In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, which I reviewed on Sunday, I’d like to recommend the following terrific books, with deep gratitude for all I learned from them. I hope they might help you on your journey of learning and healing too.
The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk: Published in 2014,, this is already a much-cited classic in the field. Dr. van der Kolk explains how trauma impacts our bodies and our brains, and how body-based therapies are showing much promise in healing what has proven intractable for talk therapy and medication alone.
The Boy Who Was Raised by a Dog by Bruce D. Perry and Maia Szalavitz: Subtitled “and other stories from a child psychiatrist’s notebook,” this tells the story of Perry’s evolution as a child psychiatrist along with what he learned from his clients — a fascinating journey into the mysteries of the body and the mind.
I Don’t Want To Talk About it by Terrence Real: The patriarchy hurts everyone, with its devaluation and suppression of our vulnerable, feeling side. This often leaves men prone to “covert depression” that in turn leads to dysfunctional relationships and further hurt to partners and children. With case studies from his practice as a couples therapist, Real gives convincing evidence that there is another way to live and to relate to one another, beyond the gender wars.