Lifelong learning includes good books

Here are some books for extra reading. We believe these are excellent resources for improving oneself and continuing to learn about the expansive world of psychology and psychiatry. We’ve decided to create this page simply as an extra resource for those who need it. Again, we get no kickbacks from these recommendations and these are here simply to aid whomever may find them helpful.

Click the titles for the link 

 

Owning Your Own Shadow

The "Shadow" is a foundational concept created by one of the fathers of psychology, Carl Jung. We all have a suppressed version of ourselves that we unconsciously/unknowingly reject. No one can escape this rejection; every person has done so. And because we automatically reject a part of ourselves we inherently are not whole. The parts we reject are often the undesirable aspects of ourselves that we've been told or raised to believe are bad. But simply rejecting them does not mean they are gone; rather they are suppressed. And like anything under pressure, these parts of ourselves will create undo tension and stress on the system (i.e. our psyche) and find a way to escape one way or another.

For example: A masculine father tells his 3-year-old son that playing with dolls and "girl things" is wrong. The boy grows up with this concept and carries this rejection of the feminine aspect of himself into his adulthood. The grown boy (now a man) may project onto other men who have a feminine persona or wear metrosexual clothes, telling himself these men are wrong to do so. More subtly/realistically the boy may hold an aversion to subject matter that suggests embracing femininity, perhaps in a movie or book. The boy does not know why he dislikes it, but he does. He eventually decides to encounter his shadow and discovers that he himself actually has a desire to embrace more feminine energy. He was born with this desire as a part of his developing personality. He learns he has been rejecting this part of himself for many years and defending himself from it by assigning "bad" onto other men who have embraced it. Through this discovery he has become more whole and truthful with himself, has gained more control over his thoughts and actions towards others, and relieved a part of his life that has caused unrest and strife.

Discovering your "shadow self," then, may be the foundation for relieving many forms of anxiety, depression, lack of energy, guilt, etc. Shedding light on the "shadow self" is an intense and humbling process of discovery about oneself and human nature overall. The result is a more secure you, removing projections onto others, and gaining a new-found sense of responsibility for one's own wellbeing. 

There are literally hundreds of books on this topic. We've added this specific one to our list because it is by far the most approachable introduction to this incredible subject. Happy discovering! 

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Jordan Peterson is a master at unifying science, mythology, religion, and natural truths into a package that he presents as nearly undeniable. He is a rare find in that he does not discredit or deny religious stories. Instead of uses them to discuss the deep wisdom they hold, explaining the psychological meaning that has guided all of humanity over the millennia. It takes effort to get on his level and understand what he is saying (its not a passive read), but when you do, revelations abound. 

IQ: The Brilliant Idea that Failed

This book is a fairly easy read that highlights the history and practicality of IQ testing. The reason we like this book is that it puts into perspective the history of what is now considered by most laypeople a “standard test.” The book does a decent job at debunking this, showcasing many shortcomings and motivations for developing the test that have certainly influenced the way it produces results. More so, one can extrapolate what they learn about IQ testing to all psychological testing: that many tests are far from perfect, no one can be put into a box, and the tests should be considered as another cog in understanding what makes us tick rather than a definitive answer.

Your Child Does Not Have Bipolar Disorder

This is a book that polarizes itself quickly. It will make many parents love it and others hate it within the first 20 pages. Dr. Kaplan discusses the motivations and pitfalls of diagnosing children with bipolar disorder, the subsequent attempts at pharmacological treatment to what he calls a false diagnosis, and the resulting inefficacy and poor results of that treatment. The idea is that an angry, upset, and emotionally turbulent child who has extreme mood swings, is defiant, hyper, argumentative, irritable, and a poor listener does not have bipolar disorder.  Instead, they actually have a combination of oppositional defiant disorder combined with components of ADHD. When understood in this light, and treatment adjusted (treatment for ODD/ADHD is drastically different from bipolar disorder), children and their parents obtain a better quality of life while avoiding potentially harmful medicines that weren’t doing much good anyway.

Celebrate Your Self: Enhancing Your Own Self-Esteem

Here the “Self” in the title refers to your being or your “real you.” Think of the word “yourself” versus “the self.” This book is intense and chalked full of insight. Each sentence requires processing and the book is not a passive read. If you are willing to take your time with this one, you can gain incredible insight regarding those particularly painful or tender areas in your psyche. It helps one to discover and work through the predetermined responses we’ve all developed based on how our parental figures modeled for us. Their modeling came from their own predetermined responses based off their parents’ modeling, and so on. Not only can you learn about yourself but you can extrapolate and apply this to your kids, siblings, and parents. This is one of those special books that has the potential to change your worldview and gain freedom (hence the cheesy soaring bird on the cover).

Your Child's Self Esteem

This book helps understand the psychology behind how children develop Self-Image. Briggs uses this knowledge to clearly and kindly guide parents along the journey of helping their kids develop strong feelings of self-worth. The great thing about Briggs' writings is that the principals and ideas outlined are timeless. They are deep truths. Many millenials struggle with trying "too hard" and doing "too much" for their kids, which may take away from their autonomy. This, along with central themes of emotional intelligence, developing appropriate independence, discipline in light of self-worth, and role identification and social awareness are among the many psychological roads we all must travel. Having a road map and allowing your child to take the journey can be incredibly helpful too. 

A New Earth

Eckhart Tolle has developed deep understanding and clarity into what many people have regarded as the meaning of life. His writings have inspired and transformed millions. This book is aimed at doing just that for the reader: rekindling passion for existence and refocussing on the what really matters. Some people need to be in a certain receptive mood for such books before they will "allow" them to speak. But once this mindset is found, the insight gained will last a lifetime. 

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