What I've Been Reading (with Reviews)
In 2020, I began keeping a list of books that I have read that are part of my clinical work. This is by no means an exhaustive list. I only post reviews of books that I have actually read. In some cases, I have received the book for free; however, my opinions are clearly stated and are not influenced by the source or price of the book. I utilize our local state library for books whenever possible and am now seeking independent and BIPOC owned bookstores for hardcopies whenever possible. Books are listed in no particular order or ranking and links are not affiliate links, unless specifically stated. Some are designed for clinicians and others are appropriate for a more general audience. Many are books that I refer to in consultation or client sessions as potentially helpful additional resources.
Books are categorized with the following rudimentary labels:
PT = Play Therapy, E = EMDR, T = Trauma, G = General Knowledge/Self-Help, M = Marriage/Relationships,
P = Parenting, N = Nature M = For those that don't fit anywhere else 😉
Healing Child and Family Trauma through Expressive and Play Therapies: Art, Nature, Storytelling, Body & Mindfulness
by Janet Courtney, PhD
Dr. Courtney has a brilliant ability to simultaneously provide a very in-depth and comprehensive education about play and expressive arts therapy and our newest understandings of neuroscience with the most effective, practical and easy to implement treatment plan interventions. This book is a must-have for any clinician working with children. Not only will you know WHAT to do with your child clients, you will have a thorough understanding of WHY you should be using a particular intervention. Additionally, the ethical and clinical implications to consider with each intervention are helpful and ensure that you are not working outside your scope of practice. This book has a strong theoretical foundation which will enhance your clinical practice and also it becomes a reference/resource guide for you to return to again and again for ideas to use in sessions. Some of the interventions were familiar to me and others were new; however, the real significance of this book is not that you can randomly grab an intervention and be successful (because you could), but that you have a framework for your entire play/expressive arts practice with your clients. Through the stories, you hear the relationship being formed. You have a felt sense of what it would be like to participate in therapy with Dr. Courtney. You will leave this book feeling inspired to go to your next sessions. Bonus: these are tele-health friendly interventions as well!
You can learn more about Dr. Courtney here.
My Grandmother's Hands by Resmaa Menakem
I thought this book was for my therapist friends (hello, nervous system fans). It is. But it’s also for everyone. More accurately, I think it will make everyone equally uncomfortable. This book manages to do the impossible: empathize with, educate, and hold accountable all three relevant groups (white bodies, black bodies and police bodies) equally. It answers the call on how to heal the trauma and address the problems in the systems of all three groups and like any good therapist, it challenges each one in a compassionate and very loving way, to grow. And, unlike most self-help books, it doesn’t make it sound easy or quick. There are useful strategies that you can start practicing, but it acknowledges that this is heavy work and is going to take a long time to untangle. Take your time with this one. You can learn more about Resmaa Menakem here.
Awestruck:How Embracing Wonder Can Make You Happier, Healthier and More Connected by Jonah Paquette
I really enjoyed this book. It's filled with little tidbits, like the fact that all of us experience "awe-inspiring" moments 2-3 times per WEEK! And as you start to pay attention to those and notice them, that number can easily grow. He talks about nature, of course, but also music, art, life, space and so many other topics in the context of feeling awe. It's a lovely book. It's one that I will refer back to again and again.
You can learn more about Dr. Jonah Paquette here.