Summer is the perfect time for self-care and to enjoy a bit of downtime.  Of course, you should find time to read your favorite, thriller, romance or mystery book but what about getting a bit more attuned with social work and maybe discover a new area to pursue.

I could ask social workers for recommendations of the best professional books but instead, I am going to pick of few of the titles on my own bookcase!  Any of these books are worth a social worker checking them out.

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel Van der Kolk  MD

This is one the must-have books if you are working with trauma.  And chances are – if you go into social work you will come across trauma.  Trauma rewires the brain and the body remembers.

Waking the Tiger by Peter A Levine with Ann Frederick

In all the time I’ve owned this book I thought the title was Walking the Tiger so even I learned something from this post!  This is another solid book on trauma.  I think it is meant as a self-help book but it is definitely something a therapist can use with clients.  It also has stories that may normalize the trauma reaction for some.

2.The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz

I find most of my clients have read this but it rings true throughout therapy.  This book is a relatively easy read and it feels so wise.  My favorite agreement is Don’t take anything personally.

The Five Love Languages. The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate                 by Gary Chapman

 This book seems to be a staple of many the therapist.  We all love to learn about ourselves and this book can help you realize how you show love to a partner, how you want your partner to show love to you and how your partner feels loved.  I’ve noticed people are often amazed but not surprised about the answers.  There are versions that also look at parents and children and teens.  I use this one a lot to help parents figure out appropriate awards and consequences for their kids.

The Missing Piece – Shel Silverstein

I love using this book because I think people too often think there is one person or one accomplishment or item that will fulfill their life and bring happiness.  Life doesn’t work like that.  Enjoying the journey and the moment of now is vital to a successful life.

The Elephant in the Room: Silence and Denial in Everyday Life by Eviatar Zerubavel

This is another book that might be a lighter read to enjoy.  It glances over the topic of the conspiracy of silence.  I like it because I think the topic is so interesting.  I remember being taught that in families that everyone knows the secrets but no one talks about them.  I find that many individuals are fully immersed in denial and silence.

 Good Grief: 50th Anniversary Mass Market Edition By Granger Westberg

A book doesn’t have to be new to be filled with wisdom.  None of us escapes grief and this book gently walks through the stages illustrating the effects of grieving.

The next three books I like for the same reasons.  I grew up with a parent who had a severe mental illness and it was isolating and difficult to understand.  I like these books because they are resources for families struggling with the same issues.  I’m sure there are a lot of newer books out there but I am fond of these.  I found them all easy to read and think many people may find some insight in their pages.

A Brilliant Madness: Living with Manic-Depressive Illness by Patty Duke and Gloria Hochman

How to Cope with Mental Illness in Your Family: A self-care guide for siblings, offspring, and parents by Diane T Marsh and Rex M Dickens

Four Rooms, Upstairs: A Psychotherapist’s Journey Into and Beyond Her Mother’s Mental Illness                                by Linda Appleman Shapiro

The Book of Joy by 14th Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Carlton Abrams

The writer describes conversations over a week between the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu.  This book gave me so much to think about and was so uplifting for my spirit. This is such a delightful read.  I also know it is a perfect vacation book because I read it last January when I was on a cruise!

Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers

I don’t really think your summer reading will include the Social Work Code of Ethics!  I would encourage you, though, to own your own copy and make sure to review it now and then.