Updated: Sep 18, 2018
10 Books to Help You Increase Self-Awareness and Build Satisfying Connection
1. Attached by Amir Levine, M.D. and Rachel Heller, MA
This book makes what has been known to relationship counselors available to all of us. In Attached, you can expect to learn about the different ways each of us is wired when it comes to love, common challenges you experience due to your "attachment style," and guidelines to improve your experience in relationships. The style is clear and designed to be reader-friendly and straightforward.
2. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, Jr.
A classic and small text that will challenge you to recognize where your integrity could be strengthened, a guide to taking things less personally, and a philosophy to help you recognize where you have made unconscious agreements that do not serve you. Some may be put off by the spiritual element in the text, but overall, this is a guidebook for life served in a small package and four straightforward suggestions.
3. All About Love by bell hooks
In this book, black feminist and cultural critic, bell hooks, explores the state of love today. She examines resistance to connection and intimacy, cultural barriers to satisfying experiences of love, how acts of love and abuse can never coexist, and ideas about how to improve the practice of love in your life.
4. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work - John Gottman, Ph.D and Nan Silver
John Gottman has done the most extensive research on couples to date. In this book, he and Nan Silver break down seven guidelines that will help increase the quality of your relationships. With these straightforward and clear recommendations, you will enhance the strength of your relationship and discover answers to questions that may currently leave you lost and confused.
5. Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel
Esther Perel is recognized as one of the best couple therapists in the world. In her first book, mating in captivity, she explores the paradoxical tension between two fundamental needs in relationships: the need for security and certainty and the need for novelty and adventure. She sheds light on some of the most difficult experiences in partnership and offers hope for modern relationships.
6. Intimate Communion by David Deida
In this book, Deida explores the idea of a "sexual essence" inside of each of us. He explores how blocking this energy can confuse and thwart our sex lives and offers guidance on how to connect with our center and our partners. Please be aware that this book uses binary language, which may be triggering to some. While the language is a bit antiquated, the overall ideas of how to embody your sexual essence can be helpful to experiencing greater vitality in yourself and your relationships.
7. Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Sue Johnson
Sue Johnson is the founder of emotionally-focused therapy, which teaches couples how to track feelings and responses and improve connection in their relationships. Based on attachment theory, with recent neuroscience to back the findings, this book walks you through problems that may arise in your connection with your partner and suggestions for how to reconnect when you have lost touch.
8. The Dance of Connection by Harriet Lerner
In this book, Harriet Lerner explores the places where we get hung up in our communication, shows us patterns and experiences that often lead to conflict and poor communication, and strategies to improve our interactions with others. She highlights the importance that emotions play in our relationships with others, how to speak our truth kindly, and how to set important boundaries.
9. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
Sometimes the issue in our relationship is that we are not showing our partner we love them in a way that they can receive. This classic text outlines five primary ways that people receive love and helps you gain greater success in your relationships. When you know what your partner's "love language" is, you can feel satisfied with the effort you put into showing them you love them, because they will be getting the message.
10. How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving by David Richo
This book uses concepts from buddhist practices of mindfulness and western psychology to outline common problems that arise in relationships and how to improve your own understanding and behavior. Richo guides the reader through how to use practices of presence and integrity as crucial ingredients to a truly loving relationship.
Please note that these suggestions are meant to be helpful, but are not a replacement for therapy with a mental health professional. If you would like to work with me, please call or email me.