Self-Help Books

Here you will find the beginning of a list of books that I am in the process of preparing that may be helpful to you. The list will include books from several sources, including books that I have read that I recommend, books that some of my patients have read that have helpful to them,  books that other psychologists have found helpful for their patients and book recommended by the American Psychological Association to address common personal and psychological issues.

Some of these books are recognizably of a psychologically educational nature or of the “self-help” genre. It is important to recognize two things when reading these books. The first is to remember that just because something is in print does not make it true. Even the best of these books contain both excellent, helpful information and other material that may be irrelevant, not useful or misleading. No psychologist has all the answers and no psychological theory or approach is all encompassing. That’s why there is continuing research and revision of psychological theory and methods of treatment. 

The second thing to remember  is that a given psychological approach may be extremely useful and helpful to one person, but not to another. People are psychological extremely complex, and these books face the overwhelming task of distilling general psychological principles down into an organized and concrete method that will be useful to everyone. Because every person is  different there is no book that has ever been written about you or any other single individual. Therefore you must exercise your own good judgment in determining what really fits for you and is useful to you. That is the advantage of being in psychotherapy. Your psychologist can pay attention to who you are and adapt his approach and advice to your own individual needs, rather than being limited to a shotgun approach of providing generalities. Finally, do not make the assumption that a  brilliant psychologist who has authored an excellent book is right about everything.  That is never the case.  

Some of the books are novels that capture an important psychological theme that offers insight into universal human issues. The quality and vicissitudes of human emotion, relationships, conflicts, fears and anxieties is sometimes captured far more effectively by an author in a novel that by a psychologist in a reference book. It has been my experience that when people are able to recognize parts of themselves in novels that the insight provided can help them make positive changes. If you see a novel listed below that touches about a theme of personal relevance or importance to you, it may be equally or more useful to you than a “self-help” book.

These references are in the process of preparation. I will be adding to the list you see below.

Some of these references can be found at  retail book stores such as Barnes and Noble and Borders Books. They are all available at Amazon. com. You may click on the title of any book listed below to get to the site for further information about the book, to see related books, or to order a book now. Some of the book descriptions below are from the site. If Dr. Beitner has added a personal commentary on the book, it  is underlined and labeled as such. 

Book List

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead By Sheryl Sanberg, CEO Facebook
Dr. Beitner’s Comments: This book addresses issues that apply not only to women, but to men as well. As successful as she has been, she identifies self-defeating characteristics that she continues to struggle with in her career. We all carry with us feelings of doubt and inferiority based upon the trials and tribulations of childhood. These deep seated psychological characteristics can continue to limit us both in our career and personal life. Sheryl provides amusing, poignant and instructive examples personal interactions that can be helpful in overcoming some of the self-limiting behavior that we may unwittingly inflict upon ourselves.

My Grandfather’s Blessings, Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging. by Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.
Dr. Beitner’s comments: This female physician encountered a sudden, unexpected, serious illness which inspired a powerful wide-ranging method of dealing with a wide range of life and health problems.

Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
Martin Seligman, a renowned psychologist and clinical researcher, has been studying optimists and pessimists for 25 years. Pessimists believe that bad events are their fault, will last a long time, and undermine everything. They feel helpless and may sink into depression, which is epidemic today, especially among youths. Optimists, on the other hand, believe that defeat is a temporary setback or a challenge–it doesn’t knock them down. “Pessimism is escapable,” asserts Seligman, by learning a new set of cognitive skills that will enable you to take charge, resist depression, and make yourself feel better and accomplish more.

About two-thirds of this book is a psychological discussion of pessimism, optimism, learned helplessness (giving up because you feel unable to change things), explanatory style (how you habitually explain to yourself why events happen), and depression, and how these affect success, health, and quality of life. Seligman supports his points with animal research and human cases. He includes tests for you and your child–whose achievement may be related more to his or her level of optimism/pessimism than ability. The final chapters teach the skills of changing from pessimism to optimism, with worksheet pages to guide you and your child.

Intimacy After Infidelity: How to Rebuild & Affair-proof Your Marriage (Paperback) by Steven D. Solomon, Ph.D., Lorie J. Teagno, Ph.D.
While trying to cope with the pain of knowing that their partners have cheated, victims of infidelity have to wrestle with two big questions: whether to stay in the relationship and, if they do stay, how to best prevent experiencing this kind of hurt ever again. In this book, two relationship experts offer a new way of understanding the causes and types of infidelity and innovative new ways to “affair-proof” recovered or new relationships.

Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success by John Wooden.
Dr. Beitner’s comments: I often saw John Wooden walking around campus at UCLA when I was a student there. He always presented an unassuming appearance; he never appeared to be overly impressed with his accomplishments. Although he is known for his remarkable basketball coaching expertise, it is my opinion that much of his success can be attributed to his natural psychological insights. The principles in his book apply not just to basketball players, but to anyone who wants to be the best they can be, whether in sports, in their career or in personal relationships. His approach provides methods of dealing with problems of self image, self-esteem, motivation and difficult interpersonal relationships. I recommend this book highly. 

APA LifeTools

APA LifeTools is a special imprint of American Psychological Association books written to help the general public find the best psychology can offer. The following books are all APA Life tools.

Forgiveness Is a Choice: A Step-by-Step Process for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope By Robert D. Enright, Ph.D.
APA self help book to assist individuals who have been hurt by others and are enmeshed in anger, depression and resentment. The work focuses on ways to forgive and reduce anxiety and increase hopefulness. (Hardcover) 

The Pain Survival Guide: How to Reclaim Your Life By Dennis C. Turk, Ph.D. and Fritz Winter, Ph.D. This book provides a 10-step program to help improve the lives of those suffering from chronic pain. (Softcover)  

Parenting That Works: Building Skills That Last a Lifetime by Edward R. Christophersen Ph.D. and Susan L. Mortweet, Ph.D.
This book’s aim is to build parenting skills so that children can grow up as happy and compassionate adults. (Softcover) 

Parenting Children With ADHD: 10 Lessons That Medicine Cannot Teach Vincent J. Monastra, Ph.D.
This book gives parents a framework for building a successful parenting program at home for children with ADHD. (Softcover) 

Retire Smart, Retire Happy: Finding Your True Path in Life by Nancy K. Schlossberg, Ed.D.
This APA book describes how best to make a happy transition from work to retirement. (Softcover) 

Rewards for Kids! Ready-to-Use Charts & Activities for Positive Parenting By Virginia M. Schiller, Ph.D. This book shows parents how to use a variety of child-friendly sticker charts and other tools to reward kids for good behavior. (Softcover) 

Living With Childhood Cancer: A Practical Guide to Help Families Cope By Leigh A. Woznick and Carol D. Goodheart This APA book, written by a mother-daughter team, provides practical advice to families with children living with cancer. (Hardcover) 

The Inside Story on Teen Girls  By Alice Rubenstein, Ed.D. and Karen Zager, Ph.D. Find expert answers to real questions asked by teen girls and their parents. 

Breaking the Bonds of Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Psychological Approach to Regaining Control of Your Life by Barbara Bradley Bolen Ph.D. One of the challenges of living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is coping with the stress that triggers the illness. In this book, a clinical psychologist provides a comprehensive overview of IBS, describes its treatments, and helps readers establish healthy new eating habits. Using self-monitoring forms and charts, sufferers learn to manage their symptoms, develop strategies to handle flare-ups, and deal with the anxiety and depression that often accompany this common disorder.

The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living by Russ Harris and Steven Hayes. This book was recommended by a patient who found it personally very helpful.  

Sober for Good: New Solutions for Drinking Problems — Advice from Those Who Have Succeeded by Anne M. Fletcher (Paperback – April 17, 2002)
Dr. Beitner’s comments: This book was recommended by a patient who achieved and maintained sobriety without using an AA 12-step program. I have not read this book myself. It is my opinion, and the opinion of most experts in the field that  a 12 step program and total abstinence is the method that is the most effective for most alcoholics. I do not recommend programs that “teach alcoholics to drink in moderation.”