Category Archives: Books

Katie’s Bookshelf: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Alchemist“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho is a short and sweet parable of a boy who sets out to find his “Personal Legend.”  He starts off as a sheep herder who is called to find treasure at the pyramids in Egypt.  He sets out on his journey and meets several different types of people along the way who all provide support and guidance for him discovering his Personal Legend.  The boy also runs into various conflicts along the way from thieves to war in the desert.  The boy learns throughout his adventures to listen to his heart, look for signs, trust the Universe, pursue his goals, and discover the treasure within.

“The Soul of the World is nourished by people’s happiness.  And also by unhappiness, envy, and jealousy.  To realize one’s Personal Legend is a person’s only real obligation.  All things are one.  And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

I’ve listened to this book as well as read it.  It’s a great quote-able and inspiring novel.  I liked how simple and profound it was.  It’s also a quick read.  It was originally written in 1988 by a Brazilian author but did not gain much traction.  It took until the late 90s and some celebrities seen with it before it really exploded.  Paulo Coehlo was interviewed on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday Podcast here and here.

Read this book if:

  • You are interested in an inspiring novel on achieving your dreams and finding purpose
  • You are a young adult setting off into the world

Buy it here.

Coelho, P. (2014). The Alchemist. London: HarperCollins.

Katie’s Bookshelf: Living Your Yoga by Judith Hanson Lasater

Living yoga“Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life” by Judith Hanson Lasater is the book for bringing Yoga off the mat with you.  Lasater has such a wealth of knowledge and wisdom on all things yoga.  She breaks each chapter down to principles of Yoga such as courage, fear, suffering, empathy, love, truth, and many more.  While she connects each principle to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, there are other spiritual associations as well.

Each chapter makes understanding the principle accessible, connects it to real life situations, and includes suggestions on how to practice it as well as mantras to accompany the practice.

“Perhaps it means that we are, in every moment, to remember the whole, to remember the gift of life, to remember the preciousness of every second.  When we do this remembering, something shifts inside us.  When we do this remembering, we talk differently, we act differently, and we treat self and others differently.”

What I like about this book, is that you can read it cover to cover, or pick a chapter that resonates with where you are.  Each chapter is something that should be taken in slowly.  I find myself reading the chapters multiple times.  Lasater says that the last chapter on “Worship”(only in 2nd edition) is the best passage she has ever written.

Do yourself a favor and pick up this book, I promise you won’t regret it.

Read this book if:

  • You are a Yogi and interested in how to carry the principles off the mat
  • You are interested in a more spiritual and compassionate life

Buy it Here

Lasater, J. H. (2015). Living your yoga: finding the spiritual in everyday life. Berkeley, CA: Rodmell Press.

Katie’s Bookshelf: A Symphony in the Brain by Jim Robbins


Symphony“A Symphony in the Brain” by Jim Robbins provides a history and background of Neurofeedback training.  He begins with more primitive research and experiments on the brain, to the first training sessions with cats and seizures, to how it looks today.  Robbins explains what Neurofeedback(sometimes referred to as Biofeedback) addresses in our brains, conditions it can help with, and what it actually does to train our brain.  He explores the evolution of the technology as well as the big players in the field.  He explores possible reasons it has not become as mainstream as other medical and mental health interventions and why it has not been adopted by the medical field.

Neurofeedback for those who have not experienced it, can seem “too good to be true” or more Science Fiction related.  Basically, Neurofeedback uses sensors placed on specific locations on the head, to read the electricity in the brain, provide “feedback” to the brain on this activity in the form of a game or movie screen, and then allows the brain to do with it what it wants to.  The brain responds by training itself to return to homeostasis and function the way it was meant to be before biology and life experiences interfered.  Neurofeedback has the ability to address many areas but the major ones are improved sleep, moods, attention, and pain management.  This technology has been featured in Bessel Van Der Kolk’s book “The Body Keeps the Score.

I was required to read this book before I attended training at the Othmer Clinic(EEG Info).  Since I was interested in learning how to provide the service myself as well as had trained my brain, I found this book to be interesting and helpful in understanding the evolution of the technology.  It could be quite dry and boring for those who are not providing Neurofeedback training.

Read this book if:

  • You are a Neurofeedback practioner
  • Interested in the history of Neurofeedback

Buy it Here

Robbins, J., & Recorded Books, Inc. (2014). A Symphony In The Brain: The Evolution Of The New Brain Wave Biofeedback. New York, NY: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.

 

Katie’s Bookshelf: Introduction to the Internal Family Systems Model by Richard Schwartz

IfsIntroduction to the Internal Family Systems Model by Richard Schwartz covers the basics of the therapeutic model that works with our internal parts.  Schwartz developed the model to help us understand our inner workings better and as a way to “be curious” about all of our parts instead of judging and shaming.

This concept of “parts” is not new to any of us.  Oftentimes we say, “a part of me wants to go to work and be productive, and a part of me wants to stay in bed all day.”  Internally, we have these sometimes conflicting messages.  The book and model helps us identify our parts, determine their role as well as how they originated, and allows us to reconnect with our “Self.”  The parts that Schwartz describes are our “Exiles” which hold painful emotions; “Firefighters” who act in response to our exiles to “extinguish” and soothe those parts; and our “Managers” who protect us and try to exercise their control.  Lastly, we have our “Self” which is made up of who we are at our center and embodying calmness, connection, compassion, courage, curiosity, etc.

This book helps the reader in dipping their toes into this therapeutic model.  I am a strong supporter of those interested finding a therapist to help guide them with this process.  This book can be helpful for those beginning this work and wanting more knowledge and understanding.  The IFS model and information found in this book can be helpful in a variety of mental health areas as well as those who want to understand themselves better.

After reading this book, I am interested in going deeper with this model as it seems to make sense and fits in nicely with other mind and body work that I provide.

Read this book if:

  • You are a therapist interested in a quick and light introduction to the model
  • Your therapist is trained and using this model with you
  • You are interested in learning more about yourself and all of your parts

Buy it Here

Schwartz, R. C. (2001). Introduction to the internal family systems model. Oak Park, IL: Trailheads.

Katie’s Bookshelf: It Didn’t Start with You by Mark Wolynn

IMG_2685It Didn’t Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle is a book that explores this concept of epigenetics and how we may carry our ancestors stressors and traumas in our genes.  The book does a good job of explaining how this happens and provides some examples.  I thought some of the examples seemed a bit “out of this world” and unimaginable but interesting.  I think this phenomenon plays out more in the not so obvious ways the book provided.  When we start digging deeper in our family history, we are bound to find stressors that play out in our lives as they are our own.  The book uses “core language,” “core complaint,” “core sentence,” and “core trauma” development to help the reader discover their greatest fears and help possibly connect to an ancestor who had a similar experience.

“When entangled, you unconsciously carry the feelings, symptoms, behaviors, or hardships of an earlier member of your family system as if these were your own.”

Many chapters including the “core” ones have writing exercises to help with discovery and ways to process well as release our stressors and traumas.  I believe the writing exercises are beneficial and give the reader ways to work through what they have found.  The author goes into areas that are traumatic that we may overlook including in utero and early childhood attachment issues.

Overall, the book was intriguing for me personally as a therapist as it provides another avenue for self-discovery as well as understanding possible reasons why we struggle with what we struggle with.  I would suggest having the support of a mental health professional while diving into these topics.

Read this book if:

  • You are interested in epigenetics
  • Believe your ancestors may provide more insight into your own struggles
  • A mental health professional and want to help your clients dive deeper into their past

Buy it Here