I am currently re-reading the wonderful book Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown. If I only had a single therapeutic tool or paradigm, Dr. Brown’s work may be the one. Dr. Brown examines yucky problems like scarcity, shame, and defense mechanisms with finesse and humor. For those of you who have not seen her first viral video, here it is: vulnerability .
In addition to other healthy life practices, I find great resiliency in a self-book: Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others. This book provides a framework for managing vicarious trauma. The text outlines 16 possible imbalances within a caregiver or service provider–such as cynicism, deliberate avoidance, hypervigilance, and an inability to embrace complexity. Readers can self-assess their experience and make adjustments. This collection of research and anecdotes relates to various human services, including social work, law enforcement, education, and medical fields.
Stella Resnick wonderfully dissects sexual relationship problems in Heart of Desire: Keys to the Pleasures of Love. Although the book’s title is cheesy, Resnick offers insight based on research and clinical experience with couples. Resnick identifies variations of the love-lust dilemma–difficulty in maintaining a playful, pleasurable sexuality with a partner once they become family. She identifies family and sociocultural projections that contribute to the love-lust dilemma and guides readers through exercises to reconnect body and mind.
I’ve been facilitating a workshop Gilda’s Club Kansas City for over a year: the Autobiography Workshop. We use the tools of literature and autobiographical writing to conceptualize and share a personal story, including a flawed hero, adversary, crisis, and resolution/meaning. The book Your Life as Story, by Tristine Rainer, has been an invaluable resource for these workshops. Her book provides inspiration and practical writing prompts to help the reader explore memories, develop writing tone, and create a structure “the way a stargazer recognizes constellations.” I would highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to develop or share their narrative or anyone wanting to interview a loved one and record their legacy.