Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects millions of people after they’ve experienced traumatic or very stressful situations. It can lead to intrusive thoughts and difficult feelings. If you went through a difficult or traumatic event, then you may appreciate one of these books on PTSD.
1. The Complex PTSD Workbook: A Mind-Body Approach to Regaining Emotional Control and Becoming Whole, by Arielle Schwartz, Ph.D.
This Complex PTSD workbook, which focuses heavily on childhood trauma, gives readers a solid, guided experience for recovery. There are exercises, advice, and impactful journal prompts to help those struggling with their PTSD symptoms. This workbook guides readers into creating positive behaviors.
2. Loving Someone with PTSD: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Connecting with Your Partner after Trauma, by Aphrodite T. Matsakis, Ph.D.
Your partner will undoubtedly go through stressful experiences, but what happens when they experience genuine trauma, and now suffer from PTSD? How do you ensure your partner feels loved and safe after experiencing a genuine disaster of some kind?
Dr. Matsakis offers a solution for those whose partners have PTSD. Understand the symptoms, set realistic expectations, and learn to communicate effectively with this guide.
3. The PTSD Workbook: Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms, by Mary Beth Williams, Ph.D., and Soili Poijula, Ph.D.
If you suffer from painful flashbacks or frightening thoughts about a trauma you suffered, then you’re dealing with PTSD. Trauma experts Mary Beth Williams and Soili Poijula have created a therapist-approved workbook that gives readers a kind hand towards recovery. The techniques and processes outlined in this book are rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy and feature PTSD experts from around the world.
4. Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy, by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR) is known to be a very effective treatment for PTSD. Dr. Shapiro, the championing developer of EMDR therapy, uses this book to get readers familiar with the concept, offer real-life stories, and dives deep into the way our brains work, especially when it comes to personality, memory, and trauma.
This book is a good primer for anyone considering EMDR therapy.
5. What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing, by Oprah Winfrey and Bruce D. Perry, Ph.D.
This collection of interviews and stories by Oprah Winfrey shows what those struggling with PTSD may forget from time to time: they are not alone.
Winfrey partners with renowned brain and trauma expert Bruce D. Perry to take a scientific, but intrinsically human look at several stories of resilience, trauma, and how those who faced incredibly difficult circumstances overcame.
6. Trauma, PTSD, Grief & Loss: The 10 Core Competencies for Evidence-Based Treatment, by Michael Dubi, Patrick Powell, and Eric Gentry
This informative read provides an overview of several treatment options for trauma, PTSD, and more, while diving into symptoms and stressors that can contribute to a difficult PTSD experience.
7. It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle, by Mark Wolynn
Therapist and trauma expert Mark Wolynn argues that your trauma is likely inherited, and understanding how that inheritance plays into our lives – how we think about ourselves, how we react in stressful situations, and more – creates an informed healing process.
This growing field of research indicates that trauma, which we often think of as tied to either a singular event or ongoing abuse, may also be genetic, and that those whose parents, grandparents, or other relatives that went through a traumatic experience pass their trauma to the next generation of the family.
8. Trauma Bonding: How to Stop Feeling Stuck, Overcome Heartache, Anxiety, and PTSD, by Dr. Annely Alexander
If you were in an abusive relationship, or can’t move on from a person you know wasn’t good for you, then you may be trauma-bonded. This occurs when an abusive relationship cycles between abuse and intermittent reward, creating a sense that the person being abused is dependent on the abuser. It can be hard to untangle yourself from that difficult situation and move on with your life, but that’s what Dr. Alexander offers in this comprehensive and informative book.
9. Traumatized: Identify, Understand, and Cope with PTSD and Emotional Stress, Kati Morton, LMFT
Trauma isn’t always the result of a singular stressful experience. At its core, trauma is just an emotional response to acute stress. This can come from many sources, but the common definition leaves many people confused about why they feel the way they do: “I didn’t go through a traumatic experience, so why am I experiencing these symptoms?”
Therapist Kati Morton tackles this issue – especially in how it affects our social media habits – and offers clear, practical advice to help you recognize emotional stress while understanding how to move forward.
10. The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook, Revised and Expanded Second Edition: A Guide to Healing, Recovery, and Growth, by Glenn Schiraldi, Ph.D.
This book can be used as both an information resource and a workbook. It has comprehensive information on PTSD, grief, and childhood trauma, as well as techniques, guided practices, and more to help those with PTSD heal. Like many on this list, it shows possible treatment options and self-management techniques for PTSD symptoms.
11. Transformed by Trauma: Stories of Posttraumatic Growth, by Richard G. Tedeschi, Ph.D., and Bret A. Moore, PsyD, ABPP
This fantastic book from authors Richard Tedeschi and Bret Moore embraces the fact that our lives are filled with highs and lows. Dealing with trauma is not about avoiding difficulty, rather it is about what we do in response to traumatic events and experiences that matters. Both authors believe that trauma does not have to diminish the quality of our lives; that we can, in fact, grow in the aftermath and find fulfillment and meaning. The book includes true stories and anecdotes from veterans and their family members who have transformed “loss into gain and pain into purpose.”
12. Struggle Well: Thriving in the Aftermath of Trauma, By Ken Falke and Josh Goldberg
Struggle comes in many forms and goes by many names, including anxiety, depression, addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One thing made clear by authors Ken Falke and Josh Goldberg is that there is always hope. In embracing our unique struggles, we learn not only to survive, but to thrive. When they are not writing, Falke and Goldberg work with combat veterans with PTSD, helping them achieve Posttraumatic Growth (PTG). They have helped thousands of people turn their pain into strength and peace.
13. Whole Again: Healing Your Heart and Rediscovering Your True Self After Toxic Relationships and Emotional Abuse, By Jackson MacKenzie
This book by Jackson MacKenzie focuses on the potential trauma of a toxic relationship, which can linger long after the relationship is over. These difficult feelings include numbness, emptiness, depression, substance abuse, and more. MacKenzie skillfully guides his readers on how to heal from this specific kind of trauma and abuse and find love and acceptance within themselves through mindfulness, introspection, and other tools and strategies aimed at uncovering the core self.
14. The Beauty of a Darker Soul: Overcoming Trauma Through the Power of Human Connection, By Joshua Mantz
The Beauty of a Darker Soul, written by former Army Major Josh Mantz, explores the deep, dark corners of the human experience. It exposes some of the most extreme, challenging emotions connected to trauma. Mantz taps into his own difficult memories, including a vivid near-death experience, to help his readers and others overcome their own pain and suffering. This powerful, inspirational book is all about making meaning out of the darkness and creating hope for ourselves and others, even when it seems like there is none.
15. The Choice: Embrace the Possible, By Edith Eva Eger, psychologist
Edith Eger was sixteen years old when she was sent to Auschwitz, so she knows trauma intimately. Naturally, she spent decades dealing with recurring nightmares, flashbacks, and ongoing survivor’s guilt, but thirty-five years after the war ended, she was able to forgive herself, find peace, and fully heal. Using her amazing personal story, Eger teaches readers how we can be both the prisoners and saviors of our own minds. Oprah says, “I’ll be forever changed by Dr. Eger’s story… The Choice is a reminder of what courage looks like in the worst of times.”
How to Get Help For PTSD & Trauma
PTSD and trauma can have serious impacts on your life. Recognizing the signs of PTSD is an important first step to getting treatment. Therapy can be an important part of treating this trauma and helping you move on. Find a therapist in your area today.
For Further Reading
- Looking for a therapist? See if Talkspace or BetterHelp might be a better option for you.
- Find new books about anxiety and how to mange anxiety symptoms.
- Harness mindfulness and meditation using apps like Headspace and Calm
- Learn about stress management in these books.
- NAMI support groups can be a helpful network to check out.