Personal Development

During school and throughout our careers, it is important for therapists to focus on personal development in addition to improving our clinical skills.  The following books have been recommended by other therapists who were helped by these works.

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Through the stories and exercises in The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, Debbie Ford shows us not only how to recognize our hidden emotions, but also how to find the gifts they offer us. This is for fans of Marianne Williamson, Neale Donald Walsch, and Deepak Chopra. The very impulses we most fear may be the key to what is lacking in our lives.





On Becoming a Person by Carl Rogers

The late Carl Rogers, founder of the humanistic psychology movement, revolutionized psychotherapy with his concept of “client-centered therapy.” His influence has spanned decades, but that influence has become so much a part of mainstream psychology that the ingenious nature of his work has almost been forgotten.

With a new introduction by Peter Kramer, this landmark book is a classic in its field and a must-listen for anyone interested in clinical psychology or personal growth.




Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl 
Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl’s theory-known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos (“meaning”)-holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.

If you know of another book that belongs on this list let us know here or tell us about it in the comments. Make sure you’re also following The Therapist’s Bookshelf on Facebook and Instagram.

Many therapists enjoy recommending books to their clients to supplement the work they are doing together. We also use books to help ourselves grow as people and practitioners. Remember though that books are never a replacement for real human connection, for supervision and continuing education, or for therapy when it’s needed. If you find yourself needing a therapist, a great place to start is Psychology Today. If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.


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