Five of Our Favorite Mental and Emotional Health Books
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we wanted to share with you five of our favorite books. These books have helped us personally as well as professionally. We hope they can help you, too!
Changes that Heal by Henry Cloud (Katie)
This book was recommended by my therapist. In it, Dr. Henry Cloud (coauthor of the famous Boundaries books) recommends 4 steps toward healing: bonding, boundaries, accepting the good and the bad, and becoming adults. As I read each step, I was amazed at how much it applied to my life, and how little I had thought about these steps before. Having read and incorporated Boundaries into my life, I was amazed how much deeper I needed to go - realizing the internal boundaries that I desperately needed for my own mental health. I’ll admit, this book is at times a slow read, but well worth it!
Boundaries for Your Soul by Alison Cook and Kimberly Miller (Katie)
A Christian integration of boundaries with a type of therapy called Internal Family Systems, Boundaries for your Soul introduced me to a new method of healing that has been incredibly beneficial. We often talk about our parts: “part of me feels happy, but part of me feels sad,” but we don’t typically realize we can engage these parts of ourselves to learn more about what is really going on inside of us. When we are triggered into sadness or anger or turn to a coping mechanism, we can become curious and compassionate towards ourselves, which helps us learn why we are doing what we are doing and invite Jesus into these inner places to bring His healing.
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero (Mark and Katie)
Peter Scazzero tackles an immense topic that is not readily talked about within the Christian Church: emotional health. He covers many obstacles we face as Christians in embracing our emotional lives and how we are called as Christians to incorporate our emotions into our spirituality. We often see in our practice the strong tendency to compartmentalize emotions, simply labeling them as “bad” or “unruly.” Scazzero writes how a healthy spirituality is an emotionally healthy spirituality, and just how important it is to grow both emotionally and spiritually if we are to be Christ’s disciples.
Get Your Life Back by John Eldredge (Mark)
If you feel as though you are being swept away by the concerns of the world and unable to find your footing or space to breathe, read this book. John Eldredge utilizes psychology, scripture, and personal experience to provide insights into how to slow your life and make our modern age more manageable. It was eye-opening for me to realize how essential it is to step outside of the world of deadlines and over-availability, and into nature, prayer, and rest. This book helped me realize the need to slow the rhythm of my life to coincide with how I am created by God to live in his creation and enjoy the beauty of the world around me.
Unwinding Anxiety by Judson Brewer (Mark)
I am always looking for books on anxiety with new information and techniques for myself and for my clients. Psychologist Judson Brewer shares a helpful process to assess and address anxiety. He highlights the shortcomings of relying solely on our frontal cortex to move us from our patterns in response to anxiety and addictive patterns. He instead advocates for utilizing our thinking brain to re-evaluate our behaviors and reprogram our reward system at the level of our feeling, survival brain (limbic system). The book provided me with a process to gain more awareness of my problematic behaviors, gave me hope when I fell into unhealthy patterns, and helped me reprogram my brain on a more fundamental level. I would recommend this book to anyone struggling with problematic behavior patterns who are struggling to understand and change. Even if you have read other books on the topic, I think you’ll find this one beneficial.