Since we’ve just come off of the holiday that focuses on thankfulness, I want to share that I am VERY thankful for the men and women in this world who have inspired me through their writing. I am thankful how books have helped me to learn to be a therapist and continue to help me grow as a therapist. I am thankful for the way books have helped my clients.
One of my fundamental beliefs as a therapist is that most of the “work” of therapy happens outside of the office. Supplementing therapy with materials like books can speed up the change process. Here are some of my favorite books that have inspired me as well as my clients:
The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller
Keller’s book is one of the best books I have read about marriage. I use it with married couples and also with those who are considering marriage. If you are interested in learning what it means to truly serve your spouse or future spouse, to love him or her well—as Christ loved the church—this is a must read. A great gift to give at Christmas!
Who Switched Off My Brain? by Caroline Leaf
It is argued that our lives are for the most part a byproduct of the way we think, what we hear, what we say, and what we believe. For those who struggle with toxic thinking, Dr. Leaf shares practical applications for detoxing our thought life. What I really appreciate about this book is how Dr. Leaf, who is a neuroscientist, shares how scientific processes are directly in line with biblical principles (she is also a Christian). I have never read a book that blends science with God’s word so well.
Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Tim Fay
This book has been around for quite a while (originally published in 1990). There is a reason it is still used so much as one of the “go-to” books for parenting—it focuses on teaching children how to be responsible through natural consequences. While I don’t agree with everything that is shared in this book, I have found the basic principles to be solid, and they work. I especially like how the authors instruct parents to take advantage of teachable moments while not getting hooked into power struggles with their children. Check this one out if you are a parent–or if you work with children.
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
This is another book that has been around for a bit (1995). Chapman teaches readers to speak and understand emotional love when it is expressed through one of five languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, or physical touch. Many times we express love to others the way WE desire to be loved. Chapman helps us to recognize how to love others in THEIR love language. This is an excellent book on how to love others well.
The Beauty of Broken by Elisa Morgan
This recently published book (September, 2013) was recommended to me by my husband, and I was drawn into it immediately! I will be recommending it to many of my clients and will be giving it to several people at Christmas. The author affirms that there is no such thing as a perfect family. She shares her first hand wounds of being in not one, but two broken families. Elisa Morgan inspires us to find beauty and hope in the messiness of our lives by embracing our brokenness. This is a beautiful book.
Consider giving yourself one of these books for Christmas. Maybe you will also be inspired by these authors. And, leave a comment and tell us about your favorite books—we’d love to hear from you!
Love and Joy to you, and Merry Christmas!