All materials have been reviewed by members of the Storm’s Edge Therapy Team.
These are intended as supporting materials for developing greater self-understanding and building capacity. They are in no way meant to replace seeking support from a qualified professional.
The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence
Author(s): Dacher Keltner
American Professor of Psychology, Dacher Keltner, is the founder of the Greater Good Science Center and host of the podcast The Science of Happiness. His book The Power Paradox outlines how power dynamics play out in all areas of our daily lives.
The book presents his years of research and understanding into different attempts to understand power as well as the contexts where this might look different. Not only is “The Power Paradox” considering how cultural understandings and applications of influence has changed over time, but also how this elusive quality can change for individuals. How, because of the power we gain, we can compromise the qualities that allowed us to win that success to start.
For Keltner power is the ability to have an influence on others; whether this be via coercive force as once believed or through the sophisticated application of empathy within a group. This is a fundamental element of any psychotherapy process as feeling powerless, a loss of agency or having an unstable ability to affect the world that you inhabit, will have a crippling impact on anyone’s mental health.
About: Psychology, Relationships, Success, Power Dynamics, Self-Development
Author(s): April Stevens
Stevens’ “Angel Angel” is a deep and rich account of a family adjusting to a dramatic reshuffling of their rank. A wholehearted look at the course depression can take, and take differently, through each of the characters. Each has their own story to tell and to find their own path through.
April Steven’s conjures impeccably crafted moments; quiet and warmly tender moments that show the quality and shifts of connections between the triangle of characters. This is a tale of failed intimacy and how depression can actually be a real and effective tool to manage the space between people.
Read full review…
About: Depression, Family Relationships, Romantic Relationships
The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for Anxiety
Author(s): Chapman, Gratz, and Tull
As the title suggests this book focuses on how to effectively manage anxiety and related disorders such as: OCD, PTSD, panic disorders, phobias, social anxiety and GAD. For me, the significant joys of this book are:
- the information and instructions are comprehensible and straightforward,
- examples are given of how the skills were applied successfully,
- case studies are used to demonstrate the effectiveness of the skills,
- and exercise worksheets are provided for each skill area.
I like that this book not only give examples of effective skills but also highlight unhelpful strategies that individuals might employ.
I believe this is useful because it can help people to understand and be more aware of unhelpful strategies and techniques they use that might reinforce their difficulties. This book does what it says on the cover and does it wonderfully, which is likely to make it more appealing for people who do not have a lot of knowledge and experience around managing anxiety, stress, and resulting difficulties.
About: Anxiety, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook
Author(s): McKay, Wood and Brantley
This book is very handy for therapists, clients and anyone who is experiencing difficulties with anxiety-related problems, distress tolerance, relationship difficulties, and issues with emotional regulation. McKay and his colleagues did well in laying out the principles of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and making this book easy to read and utilise.
Like all good self-help books designed to tackle psychological difficulties the information is comprehensible and straightforward, and worksheets are provided for the skills which are also available through online resources. All four skills, that is, Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotional Regulation and Interpersonal Effectiveness are covered in-depth, along with separate chapters for each containing advanced skills.
This book is especially useful for people who experience emotional difficulties and want to learn how to regulate themselves better; or for therapists who want to help their clients understand and deal with their emotions more effectively. If you want to have only one self-help book in your collection to deal with emotional difficulties, anxiety problems, distress tolerance, and relationship issues I believe this is a good one to have. This is because of the added dimension of compassion for self and others, which I believe is extremely helpful for self-regulation, satisfying relationships and ultimately, better peace of mind.
About: Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
Queer A Graphic History
Author(s): Meg-John Barker, Julia Scheele
Activist-academic Meg-John Barker and cartoonist Jules Scheele present a chronicle of queer thought and LGBTQ+ action using the graphic format meaningfully and playfully. While an introduction they don’t shy away from the complexity of identity and politics drawing on fields as diverse as culture, biology, psychology and sexology. The concept of queerness is explained and challenged through shifts in historical understanding, theory, activism, media and day-to-day interactions.
I appreciated that they did not compromise on outlining how multifaceted and thorny the issue can be, rather choosing to give an overture to all of the messiness. This makes for a better map that one that may appear clearer, but you get lost due to missed alleyways.
While not everyone has a deep curiosity or passion for the issue of gender and sexuality (or for academic theory for that matter), but the book’s intersectional approach confronts us with situations that we see every day. Queer conversations can help us to have people conversations with greater depth and empath. This book is both clarifying and directly challenges the reader to ask more questions, questions about yourself, how you relate to others and dynamics within society more broadly.
About: Gender and Sexuality
The Crossroads of Should and Must: How to Find and Follow Your Passion
Author(s): Ella Luna
This is certainly a book for somebody who doesn’t know their direction, where they belong in the world. However, it is also for anybody that feels they have a greater contribution to make than the impact of their current lives. In particular, if you feel stuck and know that there is more to you and for you.
The book gives example after example of practical ideas to aid your journey to discover what you “Should” be doing with your days. However, the power of the book is not in a technical how-to manual, but in being emotionally inspiring.
The book starts by explaining the concept of a “Must”: doing things because we think we are supposed to. Then contrasts this with finding the things that we feel that we “Should” be doing, things are important to the nature of who we are as an individual.
The author then looks at the very real and everyday obstacles that most people will find in the journey to finding their unique path; finding time, money and space. Looking at this in relation to existing commitments and expectations of others.
About: Choosing Your Path
The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is an Activation Technique for managing your motivation and keeping you on track with specific tasks. The goal is to help get you started through using an external structure when motivation is low and to keep you focused when energy is low and/or distractibility is high.
How Does It work?
[A pomodoro is a time/task block. 1 Pomodoro = 25 minutes of work with a 5 minute break.]
- Make a list of tasks and allocate how many pomodoros each will take.
- Set the timer to 25 minutes and work solely on one task until the timer rings. (The App “Focus Keeper” is a specific Pomodoro timer.)
- Take a 5 minute break.
- Move onto the next 25-minute pomodoro and keep repeating the process.
- After every fourth pomodoro, take a longer break.
Although you always do one task per pomodoro you can vary the number of pomodoros in a row before a longer break. In addition, you can try a different strategy around changing tasks; do the same task in consecutive pomodoros until finished or purposely change with each new block. Keeping to the same task allows for focus and continuity, but changing can help stay stimulated and refreshed.
Why Does This Work?
- By breaking work into small focused periods the work can seem more manageable
- By taking planned breaks you will have an end in sight if frustration or fatigue creeps in
- Separating the doing of tasks from the planning reduces the level of decision making and energy needed when it is low