For many of us, 2020 has been one trauma after another. Most therapists are seeing an increase in struggling clients or in the severity of symptoms people bring to our (virtual) couches. It’s more important now than ever for us to understand trauma. Today, Amanda Ann Gregory, a trauma therapist in Chicago, is sharing her expert recommendations for books on trauma. You can click on any title to get your own copy of the books she recommends.
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Books on Trauma for Therapists
Trauma is not an event or a cluster of experiences, it’s a client’s unique injuries as a result of their experience(s). Every therapy client experiences some degree of trauma. Therefore, an understanding of trauma and an ability to engage in healing is imperative for every clinician. As a trauma specialist and writer of the Transforming Trauma blog I’ve chosen my top five trauma treatment books for clinicians.
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.
Many clients have read The Body Keeps the Score and it’s considered required reading in the trauma treatment community. Dr Kolk exceptionally describes how trauma impacts the brain and body. He also explores effective methods used to treat trauma such as safe trusting relationships, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), yoga, and neurofeedback. If you plan to read just one book from this list, it should be The Body Keeps the Score.
Healing Trauma: Attachment, Mindy, Body and Brain by Daniel J Siegel, M.D., Marion Solomon, Ph.D
Complex trauma can be difficult to assess, compherened, and treat. Dr. Siegel’s collection of articles written by heavyweights in trauma treatment such as Bessel A van der Kolk, Marion Solomon, and Francine Shapio provides attachment research, neurobiology, explanations of developmental trauma, and successful treatment methods. If you find yourself struggling with clients who experience complex/developmental trauma, Healing Trauma is for you.
Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma by Peter A. Levine, Ph.D
Many clinicians do not know how to incorporate somatic experiencing into trauma treatment. Waking the Tiger explores the impact of trauma on the body and explains how bodies can heal and self-regulate. Dr. Levne, the founder of Somatic Experiencing, provides specific and simple body oriented healing methods for traumatized clients. If you struggle to understand or utilize somatic experiencing, Waking the Tiger is the perfect place to start.
Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) can be difficult to understand. Dr. Shapiro, the founder of EMDR, provides an easy to understand exploration of trauma as unprocessed memories, negative cognitions, and body sensations. Getting Past Your Past explains how clinicians use EMDR to treat trauma and how clients can take aspects of EMDR to practice on their own. This book isn’t just for EMDR trained therapists, Getting Past Your Past serves as an EMDR ambassador to anyone whose experience trauma or works with traumatized clients.
The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist’s Notebook by Bruce D. Perry, Ph.D and Maia Szalavitz
You can’t heal trauma without understanding how trauma impacts the brain. Dr. Perry and Maria Szalavitz provide vivid case studies of traumatized children in order to describe how trauma impacts the developing brain and how the brain can ultimately heal. With humility, compassion, and strong science, The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog transforms horrifying childhood traumatic experiences to opportunities for profound change and resilience.
Meet the Expert
Amanda Ann Gregory is a trauma psychotherapist, author, and speaker. She has provided trauma specialized treatment for 12 years for clients in outpatient and residential settings, and is currently practicing in Chicago. She manages the Transforming Trauma Blog. You can connect with her on LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook
If you know of another book we need to review or an expert willing to share their favorite resources, 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 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.