Tag Archives: psychology

Katie’s Bookshelf: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

Mindset“Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol Dweck examines the concepts of “fixed” and “growth” mindsets.  A fixed mindset believes that talents come with us and cannot be improved upon.  A fixed mindset spends their time proving their abilities over and over again as well as externalizing and internalizing when problems occur.  On the other hand, a growth mindset believes that qualities can be improved upon due to efforts, work, and support from others.  When problems arise, a growth mindset would examine the issue and put a strategy in place to remediate.  “I can improve” vs “I give up.”

“What any person in the world can learn,  almost all persons can learn, if provided with the appropriate prior and current conditions of learning.”

Dweck provides a good understanding in the first few chapters of the two concepts including examples of academic and artistic ability.  She then moves into entire sections on sports, business, relationships, parents/teachers/coaches including how the mindsets show up and real world examples of fixed and growth.  Lastly, she goes into how to change your mindset to more of a growth.  The author points out that we all have fixed mindsets in certain areas and even “false-growth” mindsets.  This is important to understand as it is not black and white.

I really enjoyed this book.  Keeping the concept simple and unpacking it in various ways really drives the point home.  In a similar vein to Malcolm Gladwell, Dweck provides examples of people and businesses that truly exhibit these traits to help the really understand.  I was intrigued to continue reading, have found a new perspective for approaching our many intelligences, and learned what it takes to overcome setbacks or “failures.”

Read this book if:

  • You are willing to view and approach yourself differently
  • Are a leader, parent, coach, teacher, etc
  • Interested in change

Buy it Here

Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Ballantine Books.

Katie’s Bookshelf: The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout

IMG_2974“The Sociopath Next Door” by Martha Stout is an eye-opening book not about the people we typically think of with this personality trait.  Upon hearing “sociopath,” we tend to think about serial killers, con-artists, and criminals.  Yes, those types of people are sociopathic, but so are these others that Stout describes in the book.  She claims that 4/100 Americans are actually sociopaths and could be a coworker, neighbor, or significant other.  They are people absent of a conscience, unable to attach emotionally, and only interested in winning or dominating over others.

Stout provides several vignettes of sociopaths of different forms such as a harmful neighbor, high powered executive, and a high school principal.  All fiction of course since she is a Psychotherapist, but descriptive enough to understand the various ways sociopathy can show up.  She explores various ideas of how it is developed, moral development, and cultural issues.  I found it interesting that Eastern cultures that practice Mindfulness tend to have fewer sociopaths as even if some do not have a conscience, they can develop one from a thinking brain.

“Sociopaths are infamous for their refusal to acknowledge responsibility for the decisions they make, or for the outcomes of their decisions.”

Overall, I was interested in her perspective of the more “covert” sociopath as I typically have thought of the more “overt” ones described earlier.  She provided types on identifying as well as the “Thirteen Rules for Dealing with Sociopaths in Everyday Life.”  The statistics she provided, show us that there are more people out there than we have expected and most likely have interacted with many throughout our lives.

Read this book if:

  • You are a Psychotherapist
  • Feel you may have encountered or currently encountering a sociopath
  • Interested in personality traits

Buy it here

Stout, M. (2006). The sociopath next door: The ruthless versus the rest of us. New York: Broadway Books.

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

Katie’s Bookshelf: The Therapist in the Real World by Kottler

therapistinrealworldThe Therapist in the Real World by Jeffrey Kottler subtitles “What you never learn in graduate school (but really need to know).”  When purchasing the book, it was the subtitle that caught my eye and solidified my decision.  I’ve been out of graduate school for almost 13 years and feel that I have learned a lot more by doing than I ever did in the classroom.  Kottler recognizes in the book that graduate school is limited in what they can teach and impress upon their students.  He hopes that this book fills the gap.

The book is divided into 3 parts: gaps in graduate programs as well as the direction our field is headed, challenges, and professional as well as personal development for mental health clinicians.  There was some comfort for me in reading about the challenges of this profession as well as the positives.  I enjoyed Kottler’s predictions for the future of our profession, especially the movement towards more mind-body treatment.

Kottler discusses storytelling as a useful tool in therapy or presentations.  This part really resonated with me and has caused me to think more about adding stories in sessions and presentations.

He dedicates a chapter to office environments as well as publishing.  Neither of these chapters resonated with me but I understand the decision to include them in this book.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and sharing tidbits with other clinicians I know!

Read this book if and only if:

  • You are a mental health clinician!

Buy it Here

Kottler, J. A. (2015). The therapist in the real world: what you never learn in graduate school (but really need to know). New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Katie’s Bookshelf: StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath

strengthsfinderStrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath is more of an assessment than a book you read cover to cover.  Those interested can take the online assessment then utilize the book to find out more in depth about their strengths.  The mentality behind developing this tool is that we operate better by knowing our strengths than trying to improve our weaknesses.  If we, as the reader, can narrow down our top qualities and focus on fostering them in our lives or work environment, we will be more productive.  If we can understand the strengths of those around us, we can better utilize what they have to offer.

The online tool takes about 45-minutes to complete and is not about answering questions based on opposite ends of the continuum.  The two phrases you have to choose from sometimes have no correlation.  It’s also important to choose quickly.  This assessment was not created for us to over-analyze ourselves, but to choose which statement resonates with who we believe we are by using our instinct.

Buy the book if you want access to all of the strengths and an access code to the online assessment.  You can also simply purchase access to the test without buying the book for $15.  By taking the assessment, you will receive a download that includes your top 5 strengths as well as information about each.  For each strength, the book will provide a brief synopsis, an example of what that strength “sounds like” in someone, ideas for action, and working with someone with that strength.

I recommend this for anyone who is looking to determine and develop their strengths, those who work with a team, or anyone in a leadership position to provide to those people they work with.  Through their website portal, you will have access to ways to analyze a group of people to find out their strengths together.

Read this book if:

  • You are interested in learning more about yourself
  • Engaging in personal development
  • In a leadership position at work or with a group

Buy it here.

Rath, T. (2007). Strengths finder 2.0. New York: Gallup Press.