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Books for Social Workers and Mental Health Professionals

Updated: Jan 3


 Books can help us learn different techniques, but they can also teach us different perspectives. Here are some books that I’ve read, started reading, or that have been suggested for me to read!


Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Additionally, the views and opinions mentioned in each book do not necessarily reflect the views of the author of this article. I am not associated with any other website linked. I embedded links into the book titles!


Trauma Care

  1. The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma- This has been recommended to me by so many, and I’m excited to keep reading. It’s a bit heavy, but it’s all about how the body remembers trauma. (Click here for the Spanish Version)

  2. Power, Resistance and Liberation in Therapy with Survivors of Trauma- Just wow. A bit difficult to read (may require a second read), but each chapter was filled with such profound perspectives. Highly recommend.

  3. Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror- This book was recommended during a trauma-informed care training. The author shares their perspective on how to approach people who have experienced traumatic events.

  4. Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others- Second only to The Body Keeps the Score, this book is one of the most highly recommended books from professors and from clinical trainers. This book explores how we, in a caring profession, can help others who have experienced trauma.

  5. Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential - and Endangered- I have also not read this one yet, but a professor recommended it during a training on trauma-informed care.

  6. The Sexual Healing Journey: A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse - I have started to read this book, and I find it to be informative thus far.


Clinical Skills & Essentials

  1. ACT Made Simple: An Easy-To-Read Primer on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy - I've really enjoyed learning about ACT and incorporating some of it into my sessions.

  2. Practice Planners (Any you might find useful)- I own a few practice planners. Depending on the type of planner, it can help you write your notes, plan homework for clients, or plan the course of treatment. They are available in different focus areas (Child Psychotherapy Treatment, Group Therapy Homework, Adult Psychotherapy Progress Notes, and so. many. more.).

  3. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition: DSM-5 TR know this one is a bit obvious. Whether you do or do not diagnose, educating yourself on diagnoses can be beneficial. (but recognize that diagnoses do not tell the whole story of a person!!) 


Other Good Reads 

  1. Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most- I bought this one in an airport and refused to sleep just to read. Use it to change how you speak to others and perhaps to help teach clients effective, empathetic assertiveness. 

  2. The Four Agreements: A Toltec Wisdom Book - This is a short read I have often lent to clients. By far, it has been the most impactful thus far.

  3. HumanKind: A Hopeful History - This book I simply want to recommend because it offers a hopeful, kind insight into human nature.

  4. The GIft of Therapy- Recommended by one of my first-year MSW professors, this book is said to be great for therapists.

  5. The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now- I read this book before applying to grad school to help guide me in my choices. The author has extensive experience working with twenty-somethings and she includes research in the book! Whether you are in your twenties or not, she has an interesting perspective. If you work with young adults, perhaps consider reading this book.

  6. Working in social work: The real world guide to practice settings- For those about to enter the field of social work, thinking of changing their area of focus, or considering pursuing a career in social work, this book reviews the pros and cons of different areas social workers cover. It includes interviews/stories from social workers in different fields!

  7. Taking Charge of Adult ADHD - I'll be honest, I haven't read this one yet, but I've heard good things and I'm excited to read. Written by a researcher and clinician, this book delves into what it is like to have ADHD as an adult.

  8. All About Love: New Visions - Truly just a good book about love and relationships that offers a lot to think about. Cannot recommend enough

  9. 101 Essays That Will Change the Way You Think - I really liked the thought-provoking essays in this book. Some essays and lists were more interesting than others, but overall it was an interesting read.


Children's Books

  1. A Little Space For Me - A short book I use to help client's understand the value of taking a little space for themselves.

  2. All Dogs Have ADHD - This book is a strength-based way of introducing ADHD psychoeducation.


Any other book ideas? Please comment and let me know! I may add a part 2 or edit this blog post. Either way, I will incorporate new info as best I can!


Also, please let me know what kind of articles you’d like to see in the future!


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