Friday, May 21, 2010

What's Your Favorite Shrinky Book?

We're going to start working on The Suggested Reading section for our book. We know what our favorite books are, but if you've read something that's been helpful, we might want to include that. Needs to be mental health related, doesn't need to be either by or for psychiatrists. We welcome your suggestions! And thanks to Alison who gave us The Noonday Demon.


Aqua said...

Existential Psychotherapy, by Irvin Yalom. This book resonated so deeply with me. It has helped me get so much more out of therapy than I ever imagined possible.

Rachel Cooper said...

Totally agree with Aqua.

I'll add Kay Redfield Jamison's books.

And for the totally obvious one, the DSM-IV TR.
(I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but for some people, reading about what they "have" provides some semblance of relief. or comedy. or tragedy. or a combination.)

Mindful said...

My recommendations: Shoot the damn dog by Sally Brampton; Darkness visible by William Styron; An unquiet mind by Kay Redfield Jamieson; and Man's search for meaning by Viktor Frankl.

Sarebear said...

Don't you hate it when it's on the tip of your tongue/fingers/brain but you can't quite come up with it?

It's one I really like, too. Don't have it, was a library check-out, before we lived in this county or I'd check my history.

Dumb brain. Still, the pain pills are messing with my memory and it's not the best at regular times anyway.

Flowers For Algernon has always been a fave, if that fits. Sad though.

Kay's an Unquiet Mind never did much for me; alot of it was, well, her friends were all in the field, so she had a helluva support system. Nothing like the real world for most people. Not that that makes the book invalid for any "list"; just is why I don't like it.

"In Session" by Deborah A. Lott

The Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner

The Dance of Intimacy, Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D.

The Search For the Real
Self, James F. Masterson, M.D.

Anonymous said...

Second "In Session" by Deborah A. Lott. Also liked Harriet Goldhor Lerner's "The Dance of Intimacy".

Yalom and Kramer's books are good.

"The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook" by Edmund Bourne, Ph.D and "Self-Esteem" by Matthew McKay, Ph.D are useful resources for cognitive work.

Liked Syd Baumel's "Dealing With Depression Naturally" for complementary and alternative therapies.

And also liked "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work" by John Gottman, Ph.D and "Hold Me Tight" by Sue Johnson, Ph.D for couples/relationship issues.

Anonymous said...

Womens' Moods:What Every Women Must Know About Hormones, the Brain and Emotional Health - by Deborah Sichel and Jeanne Watson Driscoll.

Why Am I Still Depressed? Recognizing and Managing the Ups and Downs of Bipolar II and Soft Bipolar Disorder - by Jim Phelps

Anonymous said...

The Sociopath Next Door - made such a difference in my life in both recognizing such people and realizing that I was not the problem

Rach said...

I third In Session.

tracy said...

"In a House of Dreams and Glass" By Robert Klitzman, MD About his Psychiatric Residency-excellent!

(He later wrote a book, i believe it's called "When Doctors-or Physicans-Become Patients", based on his own severe reactive depression when his sister was killed in the Twin Towers...)

The classic, wonderful "Mount Misery", sequel to "House of God".

"The Gift of Therapy" Irving Yalom, MD

Anonymous said...

Marya Hornbacher wrote two books that describe her mental illnesses that are a very good first hand account of what it might be like to have them.

Wasted (written in her early 20s) describes her childhood and teen years struggling with bulimia and anorexia.

Madness (written in her later 20s or early 30s) describes her manic and depressive breakdowns which she had later, after writing wasted. When she wrote wasted she did not know she had bipolar disorder.

merope3 said...

Best book about depression I ever read?

"Crime and Punishment."

I've never had a fictional character resonate so powerfully with me before.

Ally said...

Deborah Luepnitz's book on intimacy. Dan Gottlieb. And absolutely Jim Phelps and Kay Redfield Jamison!

Paula said...

hmmm, shrinky books ... um, probably "Gas Smells Awful" by Helen Razer, covers some important issues in a non-conventional kind of humourous way.

Anonymous said...

I wrote a long comment and my connection crashed!

I am reading "MAD, BAD and SAD: A history of women and the mind doctors from 1800 to the present" by Lisa Appignanesi

I would recommend this book to people who want a more longtitudinal view of psychiatric medicine. It's not one for the here and now "what is therapy, how does it work". For anyone with an interest in the history of medicine and the background and major players in the field of psych, this book might be for you. Along the way there are vignettes, some familiar and others more obscure. I am reading it slowly, it's not a 'page turner'.

All I can say is that I am glad I am alive in the era of prozac and bupropion.

I will follow up on some of the suggestions above. Thanks.


tracy said...

Definately agree on Mayra Hornbacher!!! She's excellent!
Also, "Gracefully Insane" the history of McLean Hospital. Some really sad and touching stories put it mildly.

Robert Hsiung aka Dr. Bob said...

Users of my web site have voted to highlight:

In Session: The Bond Between Women and Their Therapists
by Deborah A. Lott and Marie Cohen

Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
by David D. Burns

The Road Less Traveled : A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth
by M. Scott Peck

Kathy said...

Hi there - here are some books most of you won't have heard of...

I had a black dog - Matthew Johnstone, 2005. A brilliant, illustrated insight into life with the black dog and how we might tame it.

Living with a black dog - Matthew and Ainsley Johnstone, 2008. A must-have guide for the partners, family, friends and colleagues of people suffering depression.

Broken Open - Craig Hamilton, 2004. A memoir of what it's like to go mad in public and survive to tell the tale.

My brush with depression - The Greg Wilson Story - Aaron Cootes and Greg Wilson, 2005. A biographical story which shows how much others' support can help one overcome depression.

Journeys with the black dog - Inspirational stories of bringing depression to heel, 2007. Edited by Tessa Wigney, Kerrie Eyers and Gordon Parker.

Dying for a cure - Rebekah Beddoe, 2007. A memoir of antidepressants, misdiagnosis and marketing disguised as science.

I suffer chronic major depression. These books have touched me in various ways and helped me in my journey. Sometimes hearing someone else describing circumstances similar to my own has been the only thing that helped me to keep part of myself grounded in reality. I think it is always helpful to know that you are not alone in what you are experiencing.

Anonymous said...

Oh and I forgot to mention, with my network crash and all....

I so love "Staying Alive: Unreal Poems for unreal times" Edited by Neil Astley

500 life-afirming poems, fired by belief in the human spirit. They connect our aspirations to humanity and have help me in deep dark moments.

Was I a book reviewer in a former life?

Any one who feels low, please read these poems. I hope they help comfort you in the grey dark moments and give you that comfy, all is well feeling with rain falling on a tin roof.

Excerpt p 456

Late fragment:

And did you get what you
wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on this earth

Raymond Carver


Please read and enjoy :)

Attachment Girl said...

I would highly recommend "A General Theory of Love" by Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, and Richard Lannon. It discusses, very poetically actually, the relationship between attachment theory, neurobiology and how we actually heal in therapy. The insight it gave me into the process was a major turning point for me. Highly accessible for layman, but my therapist also loved it.

butterfly said...

Being Ourself, by therapist Ty Clement has been the most valuable book I've encountered in my existential journey to healing.

Katie said...

Every single one of Kay Redfield Jamison's books - including her textbook on Manic Depressive Illness: Bipolar Disorders and Recurrent Depression. Also,

Narcissism and the Psychotherapist, by Sheila Rouslin Welt, William G. Herron

Learning from the Patient by Casement was Very Psychoanalytic based, but interesting

Hurry Down Sunshine (Michael Greenberg) was a beautiful book about mental illness, not shrinky, though

I very strongly dislike most of Yalom's writings...I know they are quite popular but I find them to be lacking any substance, and his writing to be quite full of himself.

Dr X said...

Regarding Katie's comment on Yalom, I feel the same way. I don't understand Yalom's popularity. His work strikes me as shallow. I also agree with the endorsement of Casement's book. It's an excellent presentation of self-supervision, supervision by the patient and the unconscious, interactional dimensions of treatment.

Sherri said...

Undercurrents, by Martha Manning

nardilfan said...

I'd love to be able to sound all pretentious and say Madness and Civilization by Michel Foucault - but unfortunately, I've actually read it and it seems to be nothing more than a long, boring, over-complicated, deliberately unclear and factually incorrect exercise in making Michel Foucault look cleverer than he actually was.

Reading that drivel made me appreciate the humour of the Postmodernism Generator (at ) - and of Alan Sokal's infamous parody paper, Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity ( see ).

There are quite a few fiction books which I think are worth mentioning, if they can be made relevant. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, for example, although it is fiction and set a fair distance in the past, still has a lot of relevance in terms of issues around compulsory treatment, the differences between a prison sentence and psychiatric incarceration, and lots of other fun stuff (and does it a lot more effectively and entertainingly than Foucault's effort).

For instructional manuals, there's the hilarious (and irritating) "Mind Over Mood" - which is used in the NHS, seemingly as a way of relieving the staff who actually deliver CBT of much of their workload. It's supposed to be used in conjunction with the clinician's version, and you work through it together.

In practice, the psychologist assumes you can't afford to buy the expensive book they told you to buy, so gives you a sheaf of illegal photocopies at every appointment, looks at your filled-in photocopies from last time, and lets you get on with it yourself. Muuuch easier.

So you sit with your book and your photocopies at home, getting steadily more annoyed with the woman who thinks she's having a heart attack every time she panics and gets short of breath, and you fill in table after table.

You try to work out how to make the tables work, but when the thought that is making you depressed is "I'm a failure at providing for my family because I lost my job", it's difficult to find evidence against the thought, or indeed a reasonable alternative that doesn't just sound like delusional Pollyanna-ing (maybe "I'm out of work at the moment, but maybe things will pick up for me now that I have an episode of major depression and unemployment on my CV!")*

The Amazon UK reviews of Mind Over Mood, and the comments on the single negative review, are somewhat overenthusiastic in that religious kind of way, and people seem deeply hurt that anyone would not think this book the best thing ever. A fellow who didn't think much of the book was accused of all kinds of faults by commenters.

Nothing against CBT, by the way - I've known people for whom it's a fantastically helpful tool and set of techniques (though it irritates me that the media and to some extent the NHS treat it as a cure-all - and if 6 sessions of CBT didn't cure you, then you obviously weren't trying hard enough, don't want to get better or maybe you weren't even sick in the first place). But if you wanted some kind of self-help style book in there to show what they're like, it seems you would do as well with that as with some of the more band-wagony stuff.

Can I suggest that as well as a bibliography you include a list of helpful and/or interesting MH-related films? There are a LOT of very interesting films that deal with many different aspects of mental illness, treatments, social attitudes etc. .

*Not my personal situation, just an example.

Anonymous said...

Irvin Yalom, Nassir Ghaemi & Paul McHugh are all psychiatrists whose writings I admire.

I also enjoy reading books that offer a more critical view of therapy/ psychiatry/ psychology/ etc, because these books have really made me think and re-think some of my beliefs about therapy/ diagnosis/ etc. (I say this as a patient):

-Manufacturing Depression by Gary Greenberg (I just read it, one of the best books I've read)
-Therapy Culture by Frank Furedi (and I would love to be able to read through the entire bibliography for this book...)
-Bright-Sided by Barbara Ehrenreich (esp because of her chapters on the positive psychology movement)
-The Loss of Sadness by Alan Horwitz and Jerome Wakefield
-From Morality to Mental Health by Mike Martin
-The Antidepressant Era by David Healy

Anonymous said...

The 10 best ever anxiety management techniques by Margaret Wehrenberg
What works, why it works, what to do when it doesn't work

The gift of therapy by Irving Yalom
Even though he is self promoting, he's still right

Our Inner Conflicts by Karen Horney
Understanding and making peace with resistence

All together 3 different approaches that make sense

Marcela said...

Tanya Luhrmann's "Of Two Minds: An Anthroplogist Looks at American Psychiatry " is excellent ethnography of psychiatrist's training.