The Ten Books That Changed My Life - Healing ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and Building Resilience

 

After struggling with severe panic attacks for over twenty-five years, following horrific trauma during my first twenty-two years of life, I finally found my way onto the healing path in 2013. I began EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) along with reading everything I could on trauma-recovery. I began practicing mindfulness exercises, meditation, yoga, tapping (or EFT), and many other healing modalities in order to "fill my coping skills tool box."

Following is a list of those books that had a profound impact on my life and have helped me create a life filled with tranquility and joy. While I may not have agreed with every word written, I did find powerful answers, delicious little tidbits, and inspirational guidance within each book.

I am always amazed when my podcast guests refer to these same books during our interviews. I would love to know if you have read any of these empowering books and their impact on your healing journey: https://teriwellbrock.com/contact-us/ .

I wish you continued healing and success in finding the tools that best help you along your path to recovery.

Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma, has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. He explores innovative treatments—from neurofeedback and meditation to sports, drama, and yoga—that offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity. Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score exposes the tremendous power of our relationships both to hurt and to heal—and offers new hope for reclaiming lives.

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You are not doomed by your genes and hardwired to be a certain way for the rest of your life. A new science is emerging that empowers all human beings to create the reality they choose. In Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, renowned author, speaker, researcher, and chiropractor Dr. Joe Dispenza combines the fields of quantum physics, neuroscience, brain chemistry, biology, and genetics to show you what is truly possible. Not only will you be given the necessary knowledge to change any aspect of yourself, but you will be taught the step-by-step tools to apply what you learn in order to make measurable changes in any area of your life. Dr. Joe demystifies ancient understandings and bridges the gap between science and spirituality. Through his powerful workshops and lectures, thousands of people in 24 different countries have used these principles to change from the inside out. Once you break the habit of being yourself and truly change your mind, your life will never be the same!

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In The Power of Habit, award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives that take us from the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble to the sidelines of the NFL to the front lines of the civil rights movement, Duhigg presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. As Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.

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In this beautiful and lucid guide, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh offers gentle anecdotes and practical exercise as a means of learning the skills of mindfulness--being awake and fully aware. From washing the dishes to answering the phone to peeling an orange, he reminds us that each moment holds within it an opportunity to work toward greater self-understanding and peacefulness.

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A totally accessible user's guide from the creator of a scientifically proven form of psychotherapy that has successfully treated millions of people worldwide.

Whether we've experienced small setbacks or major traumas, we are all influenced by memories and experiences we may not remember or don't fully understand. Getting Past Your Past offers practical procedures that demystify the human condition and empower readers looking to achieve real change.

Shapiro, the creator of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), explains how our personalities develop and why we become trapped into feeling, believing and acting in ways that don't serve us. Through detailed examples and exercises readers will learn to understand themselves, and why the people in their lives act the way they do. Most importantly, readers will also learn techniques to improve their relationships, break through emotional barriers, overcome limitations and excel in ways taught to Olympic athletes, successful executives and performers.

An easy conversational style, humor and fascinating real life stories make it simple to understand the brain science, why we get stuck in various ways and what to do about it. Don't let yourself be run by unconscious and automatic reactions. Read the reviews below from award winners, researchers, academics and best selling authors to learn how to take control of your life.

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How can we live our lives when everything seems to fall apart—when we are continually overcome by fear, anxiety, and pain? The answer, Pema Chödrön suggests, might be just the opposite of what you expect. Here, in her most beloved and acclaimed work, Pema shows that moving toward painful situations and becoming intimate with them can open up our hearts in ways we never before imagined. Drawing from traditional Buddhist wisdom, she offers life-changing tools for transforming suffering and negative patterns into habitual ease and boundless joy.

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Waking the Tiger offers a new and hopeful vision of trauma. It views the human animal as a unique being, endowed with an instinctual capacity. It asks and answers an intriguing question: why are animals in the wild, though threatened routinely, rarely traumatized? By understanding the dynamics that make wild animals virtually immune to traumatic symptoms, the mystery of human trauma is revealed.

Waking the Tiger normalizes the symptoms of trauma and the steps needed to heal them. People are often traumatized by seemingly ordinary experiences. The reader is taken on a guided tour of the subtle, yet powerful impulses that govern our responses to overwhelming life events. To do this, it employs a series of exercises that help us focus on bodily sensations. Through heightened awareness of these sensations trauma can be healed.

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An astonishing new science called "neuroplasticity" is overthrowing the centuries-old notion that the human brain is immutable. In this revolutionary look at the brain, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge, M.D., provides an introduction to both the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity and the people whose lives they've transformed. From stroke patients learning to speak again to the remarkable case of a woman born with half a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole, The Brain That Changes Itself will permanently alter the way we look at our brains, human nature, and human potential.

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The fear of abandonment is one of our most primal fears, and deservedly so. Its pain is often overwhelming, and can leave its mark on the rest of your life. In the midst of the hurt, it’s hard to see an end to your feelings of rejection, shame, and betrayal.
 
In this updated edition of the groundbreaking book, Susan Anderson, a therapist who has specialized in helping people with loss, heartbreak, and abandonment for more than thirty years, shares recent discoveries in neuroscience that help put your pain in perspective. It is designed to help all victims of emotional breakups—whether you are suffering from a recent loss, or a lingering wound from the past; whether you are caught up in patterns that sabotage your own relationships, or you’re in a relationship in which you no longer feel loved. From the first stunning blow to starting over, it provides a complete program for abandonment recovery.
 
Going beyond comforting words to promote real change, this healing process will help you work through the five universal stages of abandonment—shattering, withdrawal, internalizing, rage, lifting—by understanding their biochemical and behavioral origins and implications. New hands-on exercises for improving your life will teach you how to manage the inevitable pain, then go on to build a whole new concept of self, increase your capacity for love, and find new love on a deeper and richer level than ever before.

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A leading neuroplasticity researcher and the coauthor of the groundbreaking books Brain Lock and The Mind and the Brain, Jeffrey M. Schwartz has spent his career studying the human brain. He pioneered the first mindfulness-based treatment program for people suffering from OCD, teaching patients how to achieve long-term relief from their compulsions.

Schwartz works with psychiatrist Rebecca Gladding to refine a program that successfully explains how the brain works and why we often feel besieged by overactive brain circuits (i.e. bad habits, social anxieties, etc.) the key to making life changes that you want—to make your brain work for you—is to consciously choose to “starve” these circuits of focused attention, thereby decreasing their influence and strength.

You Are Not Your Brain carefully outlines their program, showing readers how to identify negative impulses, channel them through the power of focused attention, and ultimately lead more fulfilling and empowered lives.

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From my Unicorn Shadows blog.

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Dan Bollinger posted:

Thanks! I'm going to read Bessel Van der Kolk's book now. My list includes Michael Golden's "Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing."  It is a chapbook on men's grief based on an African fable.

Thanks so much for the recommendation, Dan. I will pass this one on to my sons. I appreciate male-focused recovery efforts as my twenty-something year old sons travel their own healing journeys. 

Fiona Purcell posted:

This is very helpful - thank you for this list!

 

So glad you found it helpful. I have more to add to it so I think I just might write another blog next month as a follow up. I'll be sure to share here on ACEs Connection again, as well.

carrie steffensen posted:

Bessel van der Kolk's book The Body Keeps the Score outlines an excellent  path to recovery;  I also like Pia Mellody's book Facing Codependence and  Dr. Henry Cloud's book Boundaries - both of these help with the understanding of how "poor" boundaries get set-up in childhood and how practicing "better" boundaries lead to recovery and a spiritual practice.    Additionally - Dr.  Claudia Black, Unspoken Legacy:  Addressing the Impact of Trauma and Addiction within the Family   helps one understand the impact of our family systems on ourselves.  

Carrie, thank you so much for the suggestions! I love adding new books to my reading list. I recently returned to Al-Anon and am working on resolving my co-dependency with my mother. That last book you mentioned may just jump to the top of the list!

Vladimir Enlow posted:

I want to like this article, but I would have appreciated stating the titles of the books outright alongside the excerpts. In some of these, the title isn't mentioned. Why make people hunt, especially when some of the authors have written multiple books?

Um . . . I did include book titles 🤔 Actually entire book covers so everyone would know exactly which version I read. Not sure if your browser is blocking those from view. 

Bessel van der Kolk's book The Body Keeps the Score outlines an excellent  path to recovery;  I also like Pia Mellody's book Facing Codependence and  Dr. Henry Cloud's book Boundaries - both of these help with the understanding of how "poor" boundaries get set-up in childhood and how practicing "better" boundaries lead to recovery and a spiritual practice.    Additionally - Dr.  Claudia Black, Unspoken Legacy:  Addressing the Impact of Trauma and Addiction within the Family   helps one understand the impact of our family systems on ourselves.  

Thanks! I'm going to read Bessel Van der Kolk's book now. My list includes Michael Golden's "Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing."  It is a chapbook on men's grief based on an African fable.

Cissy White (ACEs Connection Staff) posted:

Hi Teri:
What a great post. I'll share it to the Books/DVDs/Documentaries community as well as the Practicing Resilience and Parenting with ACEs communities. I have to say that my ten books are very different although there are some overlaps as well. How fun is that to see! Thanks for sharing!
Cis

Wonderful! Thanks so much. I could write another book blog on the ten books that have touched my soul, another on the ten books that led me down a new path, and the ten books that I wanted to launch across the room but kept reading because I just HAD to find something that resonated. Ha! I agree that it's fun to see the overlapping of some while knowing there are others on your list I may not have yet read. Podcast guests have brought up books that I haven't yet heard of or haven't yet made the time to read, such as Dr. Bruce Perry's "The Boy Who Was Raised As a Dog" and Dr. Nadine Burke Harris' "The Deepest Well". They are on my to-do list.

Hi Teri:
What a great post. I'll share it to the Books/DVDs/Documentaries community as well as the Practicing Resilience and Parenting with ACEs communities. I have to say that my ten books are very different although there are some overlaps as well. How fun is that to see! Thanks for sharing!
Cis

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