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The 50 Greatest Self-Help Books

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PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Self Help Books

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was popularized as a term to describe the cluster of symptoms displayed by many returning soldiers from the Viet Nam War. This terminology replaced the older terms “combat fatigue” (WWII) and “shell-shocked” (WWI). Continue reading article on PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder»

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These self help books are recommended resources for information about PTSD - symptoms, effective treatments and coping strategies for patients and families.

See also:Recovery from Childhood Abuse; Yoga and Pilates

Best Self Help Books on PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

The PTSD Workbook: Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms by Williams and PoijulaWriting to Heal: A Guided Journal for Recovering from Trauma and Emotional Upheaval by James Pennebaker"These are the self help books on PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder I recommend most frequently."
David Yarian, Ph.D.





More Recommended Self Help Books on PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

The Body Remembers: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment by Babette RothschildThe Body Remembers: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment
Babette Rothschild

This self help book reduces the chasm between scientific theory and clinical practice in the treatment of PTSD. It explains the phenomenon of somatic memory: an implicit memory of traumatic events held in the brains and bodies of trauma survivors. This memory is often expressed in the symptomatology of PTSD – nightmares, flashbacks, startle responses, and dissociative behaviors. Bridging the gap between talk therapy and body therapy, Rothschild presents principles and non-touch techniques for giving the body its due. The book is filled with engaging case studies. 2000, Norton


A Bright Red Scream: Self-Mutilation and the Language of Pain by Marilee StrongA Bright Red Scream: Self-Mutilation and the Language of Pain
Marilee Strong

Journalist, Marilee Strong, explores the reasons that lead over 2 million Americans to injure themselves regularly and deliberately with such items as knives, razor blades, and broken glass. Most "cutters" claim to use self-injury to distance themselves from pain and rage or to "feel something" after years of abuse have left them emotionally numb. Including powerful first person stories, the author also explores the comprehensive programs and treatments available to those who self-mutilate. 1999, Penguin


EMDR: The Breakthrough Therapy for Overcoming Anxiety, Stress, and Trauma by Francine Shapiro and Margot ForrestEMDR: The Breakthrough Therapy For Overcoming Anxiety, Stress, and Trauma
Francine Shapiro and Margot Forrest

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a new nontraditional short-term therapy for treating trauma victims that utilizes rhythmical stimulation such as eye movements or hand taps. Dr. Shapiro, who developed the technique, describes the treatment and how it works. Co-author Forrest presents gripping case studies to demonstrate the effectiveness of the technique. 2004, Basic Books


Healing Together by Dianne Kane; suzanne PhillipsHealing Together: A Couple's Guide to Coping with Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress
Dianne Kane; Suzanne B. Phillips

After a traumatic experience – violence, natural disasters, war, life-threatening accidents, crime, health problems, or loss of a loved one -- we are told time and time again to take care of ourselves and reach out to the people we love. But what happens when you reach out and your partner can't reach back? One or both partners can use this practical, step-by-step self help program to recover from trauma or help their partner recover by understanding the impact of the trauma, learning to communicate their needs, managing anger, dealing with traumatic memories, recapturing lost intimacy, and recognizing their resiliency as a couple. 2009, New Harbinger


I Can't Get Over It: A Handbook for Trauma Survivors by Aphrodite MatsakisI Can't Get Over It: A Handbook for Trauma Survivors
Aphrodite Matsakis

This self help book guides and supports readers through the healing process of recovering from PTSD resulting from crime, accidents, rape, family violence, and sexual abuse. It provides help in coping with memories and emotions such as anger, grief, and survivor guilt and recognizing later problems such as depression, compulsive behavior, and low self-esteem. An informative section describes EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) technique. 1996, New Harbinger


In Harm's Way: Help for the wives of Military Men, Police, Emts, & firefighters by Aphrodite MatsakisIn Harm's Way: Help for the Wives of Military Men, Police, Emts, & Firefighters
Aphrodite Matsakis

In Harm’s Way explains how you can cope with the fear, anger, and loneliness you feel related to your partner's high-risk profession. It gives practical advice for dealing with each of these feelings. Issues like sex and sexual deprivation, role overload, self-care, and children's fears and concerns are addressed.. Whether your loved one has been away for an extended period of time on a dangerous assignment or comes home every day depressed and exhausted, this self help book shows you how to help yourself and your mate deal with emotional problems related to balancing high-risk work with family life. 2005, New Harbinger


Life After Trauma by Rosenbloom and WilliamsLife After Trauma: A Workbook for Healing
Dena Rosenbloom and Mary Beth Williams

This self help book focuses on helping survivors of trauma reclaim their sense of safety, trust, control and connectedness. Even when the worst has happened, this self help book shows how it is possible to feel good again. Filled with comforting activities, relaxation techniques, self-evaluation questionnaires and exercises, the workbook explains what survivors can do now to cope. 2010, The Guilford Press


The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook by Glenn SchiraldiThe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook
Glenn Schiraldi

This self help book is a guide for survivors of trauma and their loved ones, helping them to see that on the other side of their pain is recovery and growth. The book explains how psychic defenses go into effect to protect a victim from further emotional harm. It provides information on triggers and the debilitating effects of PTSD and addresses how the healing process can begin and how fear diminishes through a variety of treatment methods. 2009, McGraw-Hill


The PTSD Workbook: Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms by Williams and PoijulaThe PTSD Workbook: Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms
Mary Beth Williams and Soili Poijula

This self help workbook offers the most effective tools and strategies to help readers conquer trauma-related symptoms such as flashbacks, recurring memories, nightmares, frightening thoughts, emotional numbness, sleep disturbances, poor concentration, depression, anxiety, and irritability or outbursts of anger. Assessment tools help readers determine the type of trauma they experienced, identify their symptoms, and learn the most effective techniques and interventions they can use to overcome them. 2002, New Harbinger


Reclaiming Your Life after Rape: A Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for PTSD by Rothbaum and FoaReclaiming Your Life After Rape: A Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for PTSD
Barbara Rothbaum and Edna Foa

This cognitive therapy self help workbook begins with an individualized assessment for the reader to perform. Various therapeutic models are described. Cognitive behavioral treatments are explained in clear detail, including systematic desensitization, anxiety management, imaginal and invivo exposure, and cognitive restructuring. Other techniques described include role playing, thought stopping, assertiveness. and self talk. Treatment suggestions are accompanied by worksheets, assessment forms, and other application tools. 2004, Oxford University Press 


Survival Stories: Memoirs of Crisis by Katherine Rhett, ed.Survival Stories: Memoirs of Crisis
Katherine Rhett, ed.

The 22 chapters in this self help book include contributions from noted authors who create literary beauty from their experiences of raw anger, sorrow and dread. The essays deal with a variety of difficult situations: death, divorce, insanity, serious illness and traumatic childhoods. 1998, Doubleday


Trauma and Recovery by Judith lewis HermanTrauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence: From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror
Judith Lewis Herman

Dr. Herman draws on her cutting-edge research on domestic violence as well as on a vast literature of combat veterans and victims of political terror to show the parallels between private terrors such as rape and public traumas such as terrorism. She describes the stages of recovery for trauma victims: establishing safety, reconstructing the trauma story and reuniting survivors with their significant others and with themselves. 1997, Basic Books


Traumatic Stress by Bessell Van Der KolkTraumatic Stress: The Effects of Overwhelming Experience on Mind, Body, and Society
Bessell Van Der Kolk

This self help book presents research and clinical knowledge on traumatic stress and its treatment. Six sections examine the history of individual and societal responses to trauma, acute traumatic reactions, adaptations to trauma, mechanisms and processes of memory, developmental and cultural issues, and treatment issues. The book adheres to a high standard of scientific rigor and also shows a deep sympathy with the human face of suffering. 1996, Guilford Press


Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma by Levine and FrederickWaking the Tiger: Healing Trauma - The Innate Capacity to Transform Overwhelming Experiences
Peter Levine and Ann Frederick

This self help book challenges the myth that trauma stays with you for the rest of your life and presents powerful exercises to reconcile traumatic experiences with “normal” life. The authors persuasively assert that psychological wounds are reversible and that healing comes when physical and mental letting-go occur. They explain that this is similar to the way a tiger experiences the coming and going of threat in the wild– tensing in response to danger, then, as the threat passes, the tiger’s muscles shake, twitch and let go of the fear-related energy. 1997, North Atlantic Books


Writing to Heal: A Guided Journal for Recovering from Trauma and Emotional Upheaval by James PennebakerWriting to Heal: A Guided Journal for Recovering from Trauma and Emotional Upheaval
James W. Pennebaker

This self help book takes readers through a series of guided writing exercises that help them explore their feelings about difficult experiences. The approach is based upon the field of expressive emotions therapy (EET), developed by the author. The book stresses thoughout the healing power that lies in story-telling, whether through fiction, dance, or art. The reader is left with a strong sense of their value in the world. 2004, New Harbinger


PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Self Help Resources