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Book Recommendations 2019: Ten Therapists Share What to Read Next for a Happy, Healthy Year

Dr. Mestechkina contributes suggestions to your 2019 reading list.

The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and How to Start Living

by Russ Harris

This book is for those who struggle with trying to control their emotions or if their pursuit of “feeling happy” has actually led to feeling sad, anxious, or stuck. The Happiness Trap is based on research-supported psychotherapeutic techniques that may help people learn how to live more fulfilling lives. This book debunks some common myths such as: ‘happiness is a natural and normal state,’ and ‘people should think positive thoughts and be able to get rid of negative emotions.’ Instead, The Happiness Trap posits that happiness is not the norm, and suffering may actually stem from efforts to control thoughts and feelings. The premise of this book involves the pursuit of living better rather than one of feeling better. This is achieved by abandoning the tug-of-war battle with one’s thoughts and feelings and instead giving them space to exist, while living more in the here-and-now. Helpful concepts that are also covered include how to get more clarity of our values – that is, the things that are most important to us and how to make more choices based on these. The author presents practical techniques that may help us to better manage difficult thoughts and feelings, and live richer and more meaningful lives.

Freedom from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Personalized Recovery Program for Living with Uncertainty

by Jonathan Grayson

This book may be helpful for those who experience symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Dr. Grayson does a great job in breaking down what OCD is, how it can be accurately assessed, and how it is treated effectively. The book provides readers with a deeper understanding of how this condition manifests and the various ways it may present. The author introduces the reader to Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which is considered the gold standard of OCD treatments. Dr. Grayson illustrates examples of how treatment can be tailored to individual themes, structured and practiced. In addition to providing knowledge, I believe this book may offer hope to those experiencing difficulties related to OCD that they can more effectively manage symptoms and live freer and more fulfilling lives.


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