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Self-Help Websites and Books

Below is a list of helpful websites and self-help books.  They cover a wide range of topics, such as anxiety, depression, grief and loss, anger, procrastination, and identity.  We have included resources for those who have these concerns as well as resources for friends and family who knows someone with these concerns.

We hope you find this information helpful, but remember, self-help materials can provide only general information and guidance.  If you're concerned about how one of these issues is affecting your life, visit us in the Furman Counseling Center to talk it over.

General Mental Health

Tips for managing difficult emotions. 

Six tips for taking control of your emotional health. 

Improving emotional health: strategies and tips for good mental health. 

Experiencing and expressing emotions.

 

Self-Care, Wellness and Sleep

Preventing burnout: signs, symptoms, causes, and coping strategies. 

Tips for getting a good night sleep.

Self-care checklist. Assess how you are doing with your own self-care. 

Self-injury: help, support and treatment. 

 

Anxiety/Stress Management

Managing stress: a guide for college students.

The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook (5th Ed.) by Martha Davis, Elizabeth Robbins Eshelman, and Matthew McKay

Comprehensive workbook with instructions on how to relax and manage stress, inducing breathing, meditation, worry control, nutrition and exercise.

Don't Panic: Taking Control of Anxiety Attacks by R. Reid Wilson

Practical self-help book for reducing panic attacks.

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway and
Feel the Fear... and Beyond by Susan Jeffers

Both books offer techniques for confronting fears and anxieties to achieve inner strength and self-fulfillment.

The Worry Cure by Robert Leahy, Ph.D

Seven steps to stop worry from stopping you.

 

Borderline Personality Disorder

The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation &...Tolerance by Matthew McKay

The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder: New Tools and Techniques to Stop Walking on Eggshells by Randi Kreger

I Hate You--Don't Leave Me: Understanding the Borderline Personality by Jerold J. Kreisman and Hal Straus

  

Depression/Bipolar Disorder

Darkness Visible by William Styron

A short autobiographical account of the author's encounter with severe depression

The Chemistry of Joy: A 3-Step Program for Overcoming Depression Through Western Science and Eastern Wisdom by Henry Emmons

Gives an introduction of how Western medicine and Eastern traditions view depression.  Addresses depression from these perspectives.  Offers a clear description of how to think about brain chemistry and what happens to depression suffers' brains.

Feeling Good by David D. Burns

Introduces readers to cognitive therapy and helps identify and challenge self-defeating beliefs.

64 Ways to Beat the Blues: From Blah to Bliss! Without St. John's Wort, Shopping or Too Much Ice Cream by Yolanda Nave

Short, illustrated, easy-to-read, fun reading to get over the blues.

Undoing Depression by Richard O'Connor

Written by a psychotherapist who once suffered from depression. Offers information and skills to combat it.

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield, Jamison

Autobiographical book by psychiatrist with bipolar disorder.

Art blog on Depression 

Perfectionism

Perfectionism vs. Healthy Striving.

Never Good Enough: How to Use Perfectionism to Your Advantage Without Letting it Ruin Your Life by Monica Ramirez Basco.

For perfectionists (and those who think they might be) and those who live with one (a chapter).  Provides tests/activities, examples, and way to cope with what can be a debilitating obsession.

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are  by Brene' Brown, Ph.D. L.M.S.W.  

Procrastination

Tips to overcome procrastination.

Beat Procrastination and Make the Grade: A Life-Saving Guide for Students by Linda Sapadin

Step-by-step guide in dealing with procrastination.  Deals with six types of procrastinators: perfectionists, dreamers, worriers, deifiers, crisis-makers, and over-doers.  Offers strategies for each types.

Overcoming Procrastination by Albert Ellis and William Knaus

Discusses the causes of procrastination and offers tools to overcome it.  Authors are psychologists.

The Now Habit by Neil Fiore

Written by another psychologist.  Offers strategies to deal with procrastination. 

  

Anger

Controlling anger before it controls you.

The Dance of Anger: A Woman's Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships by Harriet Lerner

Normalizes anger and offers a different way to understand and think about it.

The Forgiving Self: The Road from Resentment to Connection by Robert Karen

Written from a Western psychoanalytic perspective, this book explores forgiveness, loss and reconnection.

  

Grief/Loss

National Students of AMF Support Network: College students supporting college students grieving the illness or death of a loved one.

The Loss That is Forever: The Lifelong Impact of the Early Death of a Mother or Father by Maxine Harris

Stories from more than 60 women and men who have lost a parent, including famous figures like Eleanor Roosevelt, Virginia Woolf, and C.S. Lewis.

Don't Let Death Ruin Your Life: A Practical Guide to Reclaiming Happiness After the Death of a Love One by Jill Brooke

Addresses accepting loss and transforming it into a positive memory.

Recovery from Bereavement by Volin Murray Parkes and Robert S. Weiss

For readers who want to understand or help those who are recovering from losing someone.

The Farewell Chronicles: How We Really Respond to Death by Anneli Rufus

Explores the complex reactions to death (apathy, guilt, greed, relief, etc.) and the different ways we mourn.

Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss by Hope Edelman

About author's own story and stories of other women who have lost their mothers at a young age.  A NYTimes Bestseller.

Living Beyond Loss: Death in the Family by Froma Walsh and Monica McGoldrick

Talks about the impact of loss on families.  Also addresses spirituality, traumatic deaths, and loss in diverse cultures.

Living Through Personal Crisis by Ann Kaiser Stearns

  

Eating Disorders

Anorexia Nervosa: A Survival Guide for Families, Friends and Sufferers by Janet Treasure

Supportive and informative book for sufferers and their caregivers.

Overcoming Binge Eating by Christopher Fairburn

Based on scientific research, this excellent self-help guide has information about binge eating.

Surviving and Eating Disorder: Strategies for Family and Friends by Michele Siegel, Judith Brisman, and Margot Weinshel

Covers all eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder) and is also great for those who think they have an eating disorder.

Anorexia Nervosa: A Guide to Recovery by Lindsay Hall and Monika Ostroff

This text is written by two who have recovered from anorexia.  In addition to sharing their experiences, they give an overview of the treatment researched.

Eating in the Light of the Moon: How Women Can Transform Their Relationship with Food Through Myths, Metaphors, and Storytelling by Anita Johnston, Ph.D. 

Alcohol/Drugs

Smash: Story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailckas

Author tells her story as an "alcohol abuser" from age 14 to 23.

Buzzed: The Straight Facts About the Most Used and Abused Drugs, From Alcohol to Ecstasy by Cynthia Kuhn, Scott Sqartzwelder, and Wilkie Wilson Clear

Easy-to-read handbook about drugs, including how they work and their physical effects.

  

Sexual Assault/Rape

The Courage to Heal by Ellen Bass and Laura David

For women sexually abused as children (and their families and friends), this book discusses how to come to terms with the experience and heal.

After Silence: Rape and My Journey Back by Nancy Venable Raine

The authors journey from her rape on to recovery.

Aftermath: Violence and the Remaking of a Self by Susan J. Brison

The author shares her rape survivals.  She relates rape to other violent and traumatic acts, like war, murder, and abuse.

  

Identity/Sexual Orientation

Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman by Leslie Feinberg

This book documents the transgender experience through history and invites readers to consider the spectrum of gender possibilities.  It presents the transgender experience as nothing new, but as it has existed throughout time.

Middles by Jeffrey Eugenides

A fictional account of an intersexed person and three generations of the person's Greek-American family.  Pulitzer Prize winner.

Transgender Emergence: Therapeutic Guidelines for Working with Gender-Variant People and Their Families by Arlene Istar Lev

Provides views on assessment and treatment through a nonpathologizing lens that honors human diversity.  A thoughtful and clear exploration of assessment and intervention issues with gender-variant people and their families.

Trans Liberation: Beyond Pink and Blue by Leslie Fenberg

A collection of Leslie Feinberg's speeches on transliteration and its essential connection to the liberation of all people.  Easy to read and inspiring.

  

Self-Esteem/Assertiveness

Ten Days to Self Esteem by David D Burns.

Author of Feeling Good, this manual provides techniques to help readers identify and challenge their self-defeating beliefs and distorted thinking.

  

Communication

The Dance of Anger: A Woman's Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships by Harriet Lerner

Normalizes anger and offers a different way to understand and think about it.

The Forgiving Self: The Road from Resentment to Connection by Robert Karen

Written from a Western psychoanalytic perspective, this book explores forgiveness, loss and reconnection.

  

Intimacy/Relationships

The Two Step: The Dance Toward Intimacy by Eileen McCann

Illustrated (by Douglas Shannon), fun, and humorous book that covers all relationships, including heterosexual, homosexual, family, and friendship.

Women Who Love Too Much by Robin Norwood

Helps the reader understand why women are attracted to the wrong men for the wrong reasons.

Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry by Albert Bernstein

The author shows you how to spot and protect yourself from "emotional vampires" such as the self-serving narcissist, Histrionic drama queens, and hedonistic Antisocialists.

 

Attention Deficit Disorder

Driven from Distraction: Getting the Most Out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder by Edward M. Hallowell and John J. Ratey

Offers advice and tips about how to live successfully with ADD.  Written by two authors who have ADD themselves.

  

Identity

The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to his White Mother by James McBride

A memoir and autobiography of an African-American biracial man who grew up in an all-black housing project in Brooklyn.  The author describes how he and his mother grappled with issues of race, religion, and identity.

The Namesake by Jumpa Lahiri

Describes the cultural and generational issues faced by an Indian family.  The main character is Gogol, the son of first generation Bengali parents, who struggles with his bicultural identity and an awkward name.

The Maria Paradox: How Latinas Can Merge Old World Traditions with New World Self-Esteem by Rosa Maria Gill and Carmen Inoa Vazquez.

Authors introduce and concept of Marianismo, the traditional, subservient role of Hispanic women, and the way many Latina women define themselves.  They present practical advice on how to integrate the Latin cultural tradition with an American way of life.

Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat

This novel is about Sophie, a Haitian woman, who comes to New York to be reunited with her mother and learns about her mother's dark past. The author is a Barnard alum.

Sister of the Yam: Black Women and Self-Recovery by Bell Hooks

The author examines the various -isms (sexism, racism and capitalism) that Black women face and describes strategies for self-recovery and healing.

Making Waves: An Anthology of Writings By and About Asian-American Women and
Making More Waves: New Writings by Asian American Women edited by Elaine Kim, Lilia Villaneuca and Asian Women United of California

Both are collections of essays, poetry, and short stories by Asian American women who share their stories about immigration, identity, war, work, generational differences, injustice, and activism.

Making Face, Making Soul: Creative and Critical Perspectives by Women of Color edited by Gloria Anzaldua

A collection of essays and poetry by and about women of color. 

 

Real Life Stories

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert

Gilbert's humorous, wide-ranging tale brings home the challenges of the search for self and the pain of loss.  Reading about someone else's struggles illustrates the realization that these are universal themes and that you are not alone.

YELL-Oh Girls: Emerging Voices Explore Culture, Identity and Growing Up Asian American edited by Vickie Nam.

Everyone usually find one story that speaks to them in this collection written by Asian-American girls and women.  Use this book as an opportunity to connect with others' experiences and start to talk about your own.

Asian American X: An Intersection of Twenty-First Century Asian-American Voices edited by Agar Han and John Hsu

These stories speak to the search for identity and the tension between Eastern and Western values.

  

Mindfulness

Beginning Mindfulness: Learning the Way of Awareness by Andrew Weiss.

A practical step-by-step guide to mindfulness training.

The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh.

More than a how-to, this book conveys the joyfulness and playfulness that can come from mindfulness in everyday life.

Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chodron.

Chodron writes about a Tibetan Buddhist technique, tonglen, in which one breathes in and pictures the most painful and difficult things and then breathes out and pictures clarity, calm and peace.

The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron.

 

Parental Divorce

A Grief Out of Season. When Parents divorce in Your Adult Years by Noelle Fintushel and Nancy Hillard.

Second Chances: Men, Women and Children a Decade After Divorce by Judith Wallerstein and Sandra Blakeslee.