When beginning therapy, it is not uncommon for people to ask me if I could recommend a book for them to read. My initial suggestion is simply to ‘read something that you enjoy’. After all, coming into therapy already involves a thoughtful investment of emotion, time and money. The wisdom we are seeking lies within ourselves and the relationship we create with our therapist. However, I have come to realise that this response can be quite annoying. We want to feel that we are doing everything we can to understand our situation and the feelings and insights that may be unfolding as our therapy continues.

As a result I have put together a list of thought-provoking, informative and, sometimes, provocative books that people have found helpful to dip into alongside their time in therapy. Some of these document a person’s own experience of psychotherapy, others will give you a glimpse into the relationship between the therapist and patient or a distinctive take on some of the thinking that informs the way I work with people who come to see me.

Of course, there is no guarantee that you will enjoy them or agree with them, but they may well give you a new way to think about some of the things that are going on in your life. These books are generally fairly easily available and the links are intended to help you read a bit more about them before you decide to purchase anything.

Stephen Grosz, The Examined Life

Jane Haynes, Who is it that can tell me who I am?

Maggie Hyde, Introducing Jung

Irving Jacobi, The Psychology of C. G. Jung

Oliver James, They F***You Up

C. G. Jung, Memories, Dreams and Reflections

Bessel van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score

Hilary Mantel, Giving Up the Ghost

Susie Orbach, The Impossibility of Sex

Philippa Perry, Couch Fiction

Adam Phillips, Side Effects

The School of Life, What is Psychotherapy?

Barbara Taylor, The Last Asylum

Irvin Yalom, When Nietzsche Wept