Changes take time.
The therapist does not hold the cure-for-all but acts as a trusted partner in the journey of growth. Sometimes dedicating time beyond the typical therapy and coaching hour to additional resources can allow the learning or insights to cement.
Here is a list of self-help resources that are accessible and may compliment your progress.
Like most things in life, none of them is perfect, and all come with their limitations. Please discern with your instinct what would likely be relevant or helpful to your particular situation or personality.
For the books and the recommended products, clicking on the titles or the images should take you to the Amazon page.
ON BUILDING EMOTIONAL RESILIENCE, AND DEALING WITH EXISTENTIAL ANXIETY
Pema Chodron is one of the most exceptional Buddhist teachers alive. This book is one of her finest work; it contains the deepest, most poignant and non-cliche truths about how to live life with wisdom and resilience.
In the book, she discusses how not to run away from painful emotions, but to use them to cultivate wisdom, compassion, and courage. She offers practical insights on ways to reverse habitual patterns and to deal with the internal and external chaos in life.
ON PSYCHOANALYSIS, CHILDHOOD TRAUMA, AND STEPPING INTO OUR TRUE SELF
The perennial work by Alice Miller. Gifted in here does not refer to academic talents, but the ability to be exceptionally attuned and empathise. Miller’s thesis is that such a child is susceptible to being used by their parents for their own emotional needs. As a result, the child becomes complying, overly obedient, withdrawn, and develop a ‘false self’ at the expense of her most spontaneous, healthy true self.
This book offers important insights, but can be uncomfortable to read.
ON SHAME, MINDFULNESS, EMOTIONAL RESILIENCE, AND COPING WITH ALL KINDS OF EMOTIONS
“Believing that something is wrong with us is deep and tenacious suffering,” says Tara Brach at the start of the book. Writing with great warmth and clarity, Tara Brach brings her teachings alive through personal stories and case histories, fresh interpretations of Buddhist tales, and guided meditations. Step by step, she leads us to trust our innate goodness, showing how we can develop the balance of clear-sightedness and compassion that is the essence of Radical Acceptance. Radical Acceptance does not mean self-indulgence or passivity. Instead, it empowers genuine change: healing fear and shame and helping to build loving, authentic relationships. When we stop being at war with ourselves, we are free to live fully every precious moment of our lives.
ON GIFTEDNESS, PROBLEMS FACED BY THE GIFTED, AND REACHING YOUR FULL POTENTIAL
This book is especially suitable for adults who previously have not know they were gifted. Demystifying what it means to be a gifted adult, it offers practical guidance for eliminating self-sabotage and underachievement, helping the gifted adults to understand and support the exceptional gifts inherent in their unique personality traits. It includes the top ten Criticisms of Gifted Adults and how to counter them.
For example: “Can’t You Just Stick with One Thing?” “No, Probably Not.”
“Why Don’t You Slow Down?” “Going Fast Is Normal for Me.”
ON: HEALING RECURRING MALADAPTIVE EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIOURAL PATTERNS
This is an accessible self-help book based on schema therapy, an effective treatment for borderline personality disorder. It shows readers how to break 11 common, self-defeating emotional patterns (schema, ‘life-traps’) that concern issues of abandonment, dependence, trust, social rejection, emotional deprivation, failure and vulnerability. This is a relatively easy-to-read, balanced book that introduces a way of working with our mind that is beyond the basic Cognitive- Behavioural Therapy approach. The book is recommended as a stand-alone self-help book or as a companion to Schema Therapy with a trusted therapist.
On: Building emotional resilience and attaining tranquility
In the last decade, there has been a growth of interest in the psychotherapeutic aspects of classical philosophy. Stoicism has especially gained popularity in the field of personal development. In contrast to common misconception, Stoicism is not about a stiff upper lip or emotional detachment, but the cultivation of joy, resilience and inner peace. This book is one of the most accessible and practical guides to the Stoic philosophy. The author suggests various Stoic techniques for attaining tranquillity and shows how to put these techniques to work in modern life. There are specific advice on dealing with anxiety, grief, insults, and our existential fears.
ON BPD, MEMOIRS, AND THE HEALING JOURNEY
Rachel Reiland weaves a first-person account of her struggle with Borderline Personality Disorder; it gives essential and poignant insights into the complex inner world of someone with BPD.
With astonishing honesty, her memoir also offer hope, letting us know that healing from borderline personality disorder is possible.
ON internalised SHAME and SELF- ESTEEM
This book tackles the issues of low self-esteem, it expands on the defensive mechanisms one may employ and how to overcome them. Apart from touching on the archetypes of the Protector/Persecutor, she also describes awareness and mindfulness as being requisite for a valued self. In a way, this book is a synthesis of various new wave approaches to therapy. It is a smooth synthesis of many relevant, effective concepts and modalities such as Family System Therapy, Schema Therapy, neuropsychology, self-parenting, and inner child work. If you can relate to the beautifully simple idea of ‘linking’ and ‘ranking’ Aron has proposed, this can be a compelling read.
On overcoming the Imposter Syndrome and the VOICE OF THE INNER CRITIC
This book is fantastic in helping women overcome the negative internalised messages. It is an accessible self-help book, and especially relevant for women in the workplace. Tara Mohr is on a mission to help women speak up and influence the world for the better. She says her lifelong calling is ”to recognize where women’s voices are missing and do what I can, in my corner of the world, to help bring them in.”
Drawing of various self-help techniques, it is packed with lists, steps and prompts, such as “Inner Critic 101 Training” and “15 ways to quiet fears”.
ON THE EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL HURDLES FACED BY GIFTED GIRLS AND WOMEN
This book is about what it means to live with, work with, and be a modern smart girl. Drawing on academic research of real girls and women, it offers information and advice on a wide array of subjects: giftedness, achievement, self-actualization, bright girls' development, types of intelligence, differences in generations, eminent women, barriers to achievement, education and growing talent, adolescence and college, gifted minority girls and women, twice-exceptionalism, and career guidance. The book’s ultimate aim is helping its readers to become, as stated toward the end, “a fuller human being.”
On spiritual maturity and cultivating healthy relationships
"Most people think of love as a feeling," says David Richo, "but love is not so much a feeling as a way of being present." In this book, Richo offers a fresh perspective on love and relationships—one that focuses not on finding an ideal mate, but on becoming a more loving and realistic person. Rather than glossing over difficulties in life, he encourages us to relate to life’s inevitable roughness with humour, ease, and generosity. Emphasising paying attention and letting go, Richo gives practical and spiritual exercises for couples and singles who want to have mature and lasting relationships.
On takING control of your mood without medications
It is a well-accepted belief that most mood problems have their roots in biochemical imbalances. Anti-depressants have their values but often create many undesirable side-effects. The author Julia Ross has been working with natural nutritional solutions at her clinic with dramatic results. She devises a nutritional plan using specific foods and supplements that can potentially lift ones’ mood by restoring the body’s natural chemical balance. We may be judicious on its claim to be ‘the cure’, but this is a fantastic book if you are looking to complement psychotherapy with other lifestyle changes, and feel doubtful about traditional medication. The author also advocates a higher protein, lower refined sugar diet, and gives useful tips on nutritional supplements which can reduce cravings.
On Taking control of your health, achieving vitality, fulfilling your full potential
One of the best in the field of neurological and holistic health. This book is an incredibly comprehensive and educational. It offers knowledge and strategies to help you save and improve brain function. You will learn how simple diet and lifestyle changes and nutritional therapy can profoundly impact your brain health and thus the quality of your life.
On Self healing, gaining insights into your past, and recovering from past trauma
An accessible user’s guide from the creator of EMDR, a well researched, evidence-based form of psychotherapy for any kind of trauma healing.Often, our negative behaviours and uncontrollable feelings are the results of these dysfunctionally held information. Where there is unprocessed pass trauma, talking therapy and mediation has its limit. The book offers practical procedures that demystify the emdr process and empower readers looking to break free from emotional roadblocks. Caveat: While the self- administered EMDR works for some, others may find it overwhelming to process traumatic memories on their own, without a safe container for what has come up.
On creativity, writer’s or artist’s blocks, reaching your full potential
Julia Cameron is the author of The Artist's Way, a classic cherished by aspiring and working artists. She offers a groundbreaking and original course in recovering inherent creativity by minimising life's 'blocks' - self sabotage, jealously, guilt, lack of confidence and other inhibiting forces. Walking in this World is the next step. It shows readers how to inhabit this world with a sense of renewed creativity.
Thirdfactor.org- A magazine for catalysts and creatives- Third Factor takes as its foundation the Theory of Positive Disintegration (TPD), they aim to inspire and empower intense souls.
Your Rainforest Mind: A blog by psychotherapist Paula Prober, providing ‘Support For The Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive’. Her writing is extremely accessible and her compassionate spirit really comes through. She also has a book with the same title.
On 'The Orchid and the Dandelion' Hypothesis
EXCERPT: "Most of us have genes that make us as hardy as dandelions: able to take root and survive almost anywhere. A few of us, however, are more like the orchid: fragile and fickle, but capable of blooming spectacularly if given greenhouse care. So holds a provocative new theory of genetics, which asserts that the very genes that give us the most trouble as a species, causing behaviors that are self-destructive and antisocial, also underlie humankind’s phenomenal adaptability and evolutionary success. With a bad environment and poor parenting, orchid children can end up depressed, drug-addicted, or in jail—but with the right environment and good parenting, they can grow up to be society’s most creative, successful, and happy people."
ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GIFTEDNESS AND MENTAL HEALTH STRUGGLES
EXCERPT: “The survey covered mood disorders (depression, dysthymia and bipolar), anxiety disorders (generalized, social and obsessive-compulsive), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism. It also covered environmental allergies, asthma and autoimmune disorders… To explain their findings, Karpinski and her colleagues propose the hyper brain/hyper body theory. This theory holds that, for all of its advantages, being highly intelligent is associated with psychological and physiological “overexcitabilities,” or OEs.”
On asynchronous development, overexcitabilities, and giftedness
Gifted people process information at high speeds. They will feel things on their skin more intensely. They can feel their emotions intensely, and they can feel an intense desire to jump in when they are excited about an idea...
Found to a greater degree in creative and gifted individuals, overexcitabilities are expressed in increased sensitivity, awareness, and intensity. Dabrowski identified five areas of intensity-Psychomotor, Sensual, Intellectual, Imaginational, and Emotional.
Being "gifted" often feels far from a good thing, when you're the one living it. And yet the myth persists that "gifted" is an elitist and privileged label in education. That "those kids" will be fine without any extra programs or supports. After all, what's the worst that can happen - they get bored?
On thriving as someone with multiple interests and passions
Emilie Wapnick explains: “Multipotentialites have no ‘one true calling’ the way specialists do.
Being a multipotentialite, you have many paths and you pursue all of them, either sequentially or simultaneously (or both).
Multipotentialites thrive on learning, exploring, and mastering new skills.
On overcoming the Imposter Syndrome
Feeling like an imposter can set anyone back a few notches in terms of self-esteem - imposter syndrome can make you rethink all your decisions and lower your confidence. Valerie Young examines what causes imposter syndrome - and shares ways we can reframe our own thoughts to stop thinking like an imposter.
(I am not commissioned by any of these products or companies, they are simply products that I and some of my clients have found helpful!)
This is especially useful tool for those of us with sound sensitivity. A part of the Misophonia Management Protocol (MMP) recommended by audiologists.The sound of rushing air (white noise) is produced in 10 unique variations. It is one of the more powerful models and is loud enough to cover day-to-day noises. Generally widely recommended by reviewers. This is an international model and would require an adapter.
DOHM is slightly different to the Lectro Fan. The sound is not electronically generated. I personally prefer Dohm as it feels more ‘natural’- it is literally just ‘a fan in a box’. It is much quieter, though. It comes with two speeds and adjustments for volume and pitch.
Fluorescent lighting flickers and affects us in ways that we are not aware of. During the day, wearing blue-blocking glasses may minimise the stress-inducing impact of artificial lights. Nighttime blue light exposure can also disrupt normal circadian rhythms and cause insomnia.
These are designed to be worn in public and during the day. Closer to the evening time, you could try something yellow-tinted that blocks even more blue light.