These books were all instrumental for me in my own personal development and psychological healing, and they might be a good place to start if you’re thinking of starting counselling or psychotherapy.
The Compassionate Mind, by Paul Gilbert
In this book, Professor Paul Gilbert explores the many psychological benefits to self-compassion. He explains how our brains and nervous systems have evolved to be extremely alert to threats in our environment, and how in the modern world these threat-detection systems can become easily overwhelmed, leading to excessive stress, anxiety, and depression. He goes on to argue that one way of successfully dealing with an overactive, anxious mind is to practice and develop self-compassion and self-soothing. He provides practical exercises to help activate parts of our brain that were developed for the purpose of nurturing, caring, and relating kindly to others, showing how we can turn these systems inwards to provide self-care and boost our psychological and emotional well-being.
‘Radical Acceptance’ and ‘True Refuge’, by Tara Brach
Tara Brach is a qualified psychotherapist and meditation teacher who takes the ancient wisdom of Buddhism and melds it with contemporary approaches toward psychotherapy, mental well-being and spiritual development. In these two books, she draws on her own personal experiences as well as those of her clients to explore how we can overcome and grow through the trauma, stress and suffering in our lives and find true peace and contentment.