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Summer Self-Help Reading List

Summer Self-Help Reading List. Recommended self-help books on codependency, healthy relationships, trauma, marriage, dysfunctional families, adult children, and more.

Summer is upon us — and if you’re lucky, your schedule will lighten up and allow you to enjoy a few long weekends away from work or some quiet evenings on the porch relaxing with a good book. Summer is always a great time to catch up on reading.

I’m a self-help book junkie, but I can’t keep up with all the great personal development titles. So, I surveyed my Facebook fans for their best self-help book suggestions. This list will be particularly relevant to those of you struggling with or wanting to learn more about codependency, adult child of alcoholic (ACA) issues, trauma recovery, perfectionism, boundaries, self-worth, and healthy relationships.

Dysfunctional Families

  1. Another Chance: Hope and Health for the Alcoholic Family by Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse
  2. The Emotionally Absent Mother by Jasmin Lee Cori


  1. Running on Empty No More by Jonice Webb
  2. How We Love: Discover Your Love Style, Enhance Your Marriage by Milan and Kay Yerkovich
  3. Safe People: How to Find Relationships that are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren’t by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
  4. Loving Him without Losing You: How to Stop Disappearing and Start Being Yourself by Beverly Engel
  5. How to Break Your Addiction to a Person: When and Why Love Doesn’t Work by Howard Halpern
  6. Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up In Order to Move Forward by Henry Cloud
  7. After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful by Janis Abrahms Spring
  8. Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix

Codependency and Boundaries

  1. Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You by Susan Forward
  2. The Human Magnet Syndrome: The Codependent Narcissist Trap by Ross Rosenberg
  3. Love is a Choice: The Definitive Book on Letting Go of Unhealthy Relationships by Robert Hemfelt, Frank Minirth, and Paul Meier
  4. The Language of Letting Go: Daily Meditations for Codependents by Melody Beattie
  5. Out of the Fog: Moving from Confusion to Clarity After Narcissistic Abuse by Dana Morningstar

For Women

  1. Wild Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
  2. Perfect Daughters: Adult Daughters of Alcoholics by Robert Ackerman
  3. Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers by Karyl McBride

For Men

  1. I Don’t Want to Talk about It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression by Terrence Real
  2. Silent Sons by Robert Ackerman

Trauma and Healing

  1. Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker
  2. Recovery of Your Inner Child by Lucia Capacchione
  3. Healing the Shame that Binds You by John Bradshaw

Spirituality and Personal Growth

  1. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
  2. Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Life by Shauna Niequist
  3. When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron
  4. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
  5. Peace Within: Clear Your Mind, Open Your Heart, Embrace Your Soul and Heal Your Life by Michael Brant DeMaria
  6. Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home by Toko-pa Turner


  1. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David Burns
  2. Constructive Wallowing: How to Beat Bad Feelings by Letting Yourself Have Them by Tina Gilbertson
  3. On Becoming a Person by Carl Rogers
  4. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
  5. It’s Not Always Depression: Working the Change Triangle to Listen to the Body, Discover Core Emotions, and Connect to Your Authentic Self by Hilary Jacobs Hendel
  6. The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Elane Aron
  7. Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness by Rick Hanson
  8. Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris
  9. The Mindful Day: Practical Ways to Find Focus, Calm, and Joy From Morning to Evening by Laurie Cameron
  10. Dying to Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing by Anita Moorjani
  11. The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living by Russ Harris

More self-help book recommendations

Books for Adult Children of Alcoholics

40 Books Recommended by my Readers (2017 list)

Download a PDF copy of the entire list (80 self-help books)

Do you have a favorite self-help book? Perhaps you’ve read something recently that was instrumental to your personal growth and recovery. If you’d like to add a suggestion, please share it in the comments below.

I hope you have a wonderful summer with lots of time for reading and self-care!


©2108 Sharon Martin, LCSW. This post was originally published on the author’s website.
Photo by Ben White on

Summer Self-Help Reading List

Sharon Martin, LCSW

Sharon Martin is an emotional wellness speaker, writer, and licensed psychotherapist. Her San Jose based practice specializes in helping over-stressed, high achieving adults and teens learn to embrace their imperfections and grow happiness. Her personal journey of overcoming perfectionism and people-pleasing traits, inspired her passion for this work. Sharon is the author of The CBT Workbook for Perfectionism: Evidence-Based Skills to Help You Let Go of Self-Criticism, Build Self-Esteem, and Find Balance and several ebooks including Setting Boundaries Without Guilt: A Workbook to Move You From Doormat to Empowerment. Sharon also enjoys teaching blogging and writing classes for therapists. You can find her on Twitter, instagram, and her website.

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APA Reference
Martin, S. (2018). Summer Self-Help Reading List. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 23, 2019, from


Last updated: 1 Jun 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 1 Jun 2018
Published on All rights reserved.