“Now, Discover Your Strengths.” Buckingham & Clifton: What are your top 5 strengths? Sounds like a job interview question, right? This book includes a strengths-based test that will help you see your strengths and identify your weaknesses. There are lots of strengths-based tests out there. What I absolutely love about this one is that there is a whole book, at your fingertips, to help you understand the kind of tasks that will help you feel fulfilled in your job, and which tasks to delegate out to prevent your motivation from bottoming out. If you spend some time studying the different strengths, you will even start to see and understand the strengths of others on your team and how you all can work together more effectively.

“Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified: an essential guide for understanding and living with BPD.” R. O. Friedel: I run into practitioners all of the time who have no clue about mental health issues. They call and email me with questions about emotional issues, clients who have odd or out-of-the-ordinary issues, and general questions about “What do I say when ____?” Finally, you do not have to pick up a technical psychology book to get practical information about BPD. The fun doesn’t stop here, though. There is a whole series of books titled “__(mental health disorder) Demystified.” If you don’t have a go-to therapist to consult with and you need immediate answers, grab one of these books. They walk you through symptoms, prognosis, treatments, and recovery. Great information.

“Mindfulness” Mark Williams: Have you ever felt so scattered mentally that everything that you are supposed to remember simply goes in one ear and out the other? Kind of like your pre-teen daughter? Mindfulness is a philosophy that encourages people to simplify the tasks of the day in order to become more productive. The author describes clearly – and simply – what is going on in the mind while we learn and are expected to retain information. You and I both know that in the healthcare field, information retention plays a HUGE part in our effectiveness. She goes through why mindfulness is effective, as well as how to implement it into your busy day. Most people who practice mindfulness report higher information retention, less forgetfulness, and greater productivity during the day. If you find this read helpful, check out her book, “Mindful Learning” too. It is a great resource if you are working with kids and teens.

“Choice Theory” M.D. Glasser William: I used this book as a text book in my Master’s program at ETSU; this is not your typical text book. Choice theory is one of the more recent psychology theories, with a lot of research to back it up. As a therapeutic intervention, it feels cold and impersonal. Not my favorite intervention. But, as a way of life, it make complete sense. And it works. I tell people all the time “This is how you take the drama out of your life.” This book takes you through the theory, of course, but also shows you how to implement the concepts into your everyday life. It covers issues like communication, boundaries, relationships, career, social structures, personal responsibility, etc. Pick it up. It’s worth the read – for both you and your patients.

“Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” Malcolm Gladwell: This was an excellent read! I especially enjoyed all of the examples given for each of the concepts presented. “Blink” is all about how we make decisions. Big and small ones. Gladwell talks about how we gather information consciously and subconsciously, how we arrange and store the information for use now or in the future, and how we filter through all of the unnecessary information that comes to us. All of this affects how we make decisions. Have you ever been with a client who just couldn’t make up their mind, or who made poor decisions for themselves, no matter the data presented to them? Read this book. It will help you refine your own decision-making skills as well as refine how you present information to your patients so they can filter the data more effectively. If you enjoy this one, be sure to check out “Stick” too. Very similar, just a little different flavor.

“Healing Trauma.” Peter Levine: Did you know that more people than not, have been through a trauma of some sort in their lifetime? And did you know that trauma goes beyond the physical, emotional, sexual abuse we are taught about in school? Trauma includes witnessing violence of any kind, car accidents, other physical accidents or fights, divorce and relationship endings, the death of a loved one, and so much more. All of these experiences accumulate in our “trauma bank” and can influence our decision-making skills, emotional reactivity, and quality of relationships. It would do us all good if we understood more about how trauma from the past affects our actions today. Peter Levine does an excellent job at describing the ways that trauma affects us. He also shares how to transform trauma into something useful for our future. I have found this to be very helpful not only for my own practice in working with trauma victims, but in helping others have greater understanding of the process of personal transformation.