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By Katie Bailey, MA, LPC

As a counselor, I’m often asked to recommend books on different topics. I also suggest clients read certain books to help them learn and gain insight in different areas. I thought it would be good to share my most frequently suggested book titles. Here are some of my all-time favorites:

Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend

I’m suggest this book to a client at least once a week! Written from a Christian perspective, this book teaches you how to say “no”, take responsibility for what is yours, and let go of the rest. This book is especially helpful for my clients who have suffered from emotional abuse, and need help finding their inner voice to advocate for themselves.

The Emotionally Destructive Marriage by Leslie Vernick

I heard Leslie teach at a continuing education class a few years ago and immediately felt connected to her work. This book writes down everything that’s been in my head for years working with people in abusive marriages. Leslie does a masterful job of describing the different between a disappointing marriage and a truly destructive, or abusive, marriage. This book is a must read for anyone in a hurting marriage who needs help learning how to speak up and find healing.

The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee

This book ventures into your inner thoughts and helps you determine what lies you believe that hurt you. One of the most common obstacles we all face is fighting those negative thoughts that seem to be on repeat in our heads. If you feel like you are unlovable, worthless, or invisible, this book is for you.

Not Marked by Mary DeMuth

Mary spoke at a conference I was attending a few years ago. She tells her personal story of childhood abuse and how Jesus has brought her on a journey of healing. Her husband also contributes to share about healing from a spouse’s perspective. If you’ve experienced sexual abuse, and now believe you are damaged goods, Mary’s story will speak to you. We heal from trauma when we tell our stories, and allow others to connect with us in the pain. Mary is an excellent example of this healing process.

Rethinking Narcissism: The Secret to Recognizing and Coping with Narcissists by Craig Malkin

Many of my clients are people who have been in an emotionally abusive relationship – whether with a spouse, a parent or even a friend. Often times these situations involve a narcissist. Dr. Malkin’s book is one of the best I’ve read in order to gain a better understanding of narcissists. They have a way of making you think you are the crazy one. Read this book and start to see your sanity in clear view.

Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melody Beattie

This book is the classic go-to for codependency. I tend to shy away from trendy terms like “codependent” but the truth is when we have unhealthy relationship boundaries, codependency happens. Two people tend to gravitate towards each other: one who must always take care of, and control, other people, and the second person always wants someone to take care of him or her and do nothing on their own. Both need to learn to take responsibility for themselves. This book helps you do just that.

The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans

Verbal abuse is often discounted. If you can’t see the bruises, it can’t be that bad, right? Wrong. Verbal and emotional abuse is worse and harder to overcome just for that reason. It’s easier to deny its existence. This book will help you clarify what verbal abuse looks like and how to deal with it in your own life.

I hope these titles help you gain insight into whatever challenges you are facing. Often we need an outside perspective as well to help us grow and move forward. If you are struggling in your relationships, I’d love to help you. Contact me today at Lime Tree Counseling for a free consult.

Further reading:

Why Should I Tell My Sexual Abuse Story?

Truth About Sex: And Why You Need to Talk About It

How One Woman Found Freedom From Emotional Abuse In Her Marriage