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  • Writer's pictureSpring Berriman

11 Best Books on Trauma

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

books on trauma

Navigating the complexities of trauma can be an isolating experience, yet a growing library of books about trauma from top experts can offer powerful insights into the healing process. We have curated a list of the top 11 books relating to trauma.

Why 11 Books on Trauma?

Why 11? Because all of them belong on this list, and we didn’t want to put a limit on the help that is available. One of these 11 books might be the one that can make a difference for you. Looking for more? See the bottom of this post for information on how to contact our team for help with trauma.

Disclosure: Links on this page to Amazon books may contain affiliate links and can result in a commission paid to the author of this post.

1) The Myth of Normal

By Gabor Mate

In this book, Dr. Gabor Maté challenges conventional wisdom on what society deems as "normal" regarding mental health. He argues that modern society is a breeding ground for emotional and psychological distress, and what is often labelled as disorders or abnormalities are natural responses to an unnatural environment. He emphasizes the importance of social, cultural, and environmental factors in understanding mental health rather than reducing it to individual pathologies. The book calls for a compassionate, holistic approach to mental well-being, urging us to rethink the stigmatizing labels and treatments often attached to mental health issues. The book provides a paradigm shift in understanding and addressing emotional and psychological suffering. Who could this book be for: Anyone interested and wanting to understand more about Trauma. I find Gabor Mate does a great job breaking things down and we love his compassionate lens. Buy it on Am`azon.

2) Healing Trauma

By Peter Levine

Dr. Peter Levine offers a groundbreaking approach to understanding and treating trauma through the lens of somatic experiencing. He asserts that trauma is not just a mental state but a condition that affects the body's physiology. The book lays out methods to release the stored energy from traumatic experiences, allowing individuals to move from a state of fight-or-flight to one of balance and integration. Based on scientific research and case studies, Levine's approach emphasizes the body's innate ability to self-regulate and heal. Who could this book be for: Anyone who has an interest in healing through a somatic lens and a greater understanding of trauma being held in the body, not just the mind

3) The Body Keeps the Score

By Bessel Van Der Kolk

This book is a trauma staple. It's a dry, long read, but it is very good. It delves into the intricate relationship between trauma, the brain, and the body. The book, written by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, a leading expert in trauma, examines how traumatic experiences imprint themselves on the mind and the physical body. The book covers various therapeutic methods, from talk therapy to somatic experiences. It is essential reading for mental health professionals, individuals dealing with trauma, and anyone interested in the intersection of psychological and physical well-being.

Who could this book be for: We feel this is a great book for everyone to further know and understand trauma.

4) It Didn't Start With You

By Mark Wolynn

"It Didn't Start With You" by Mark Wolynn explores the concept of inherited family trauma, positing that our emotional and psychological pain may not solely originate from our own life experiences. Wolynn argues that trauma can be passed down through generations via genetic markers, affecting our thoughts, behaviours, and emotional well-being. The book combines scientific research with practical exercises, aiming to help readers identify the roots of their own inherited trauma and begin the process of healing. Ideal for therapists, individuals struggling with unexplained emotional issues, and anyone curious about the familial impact on psychological health, this book offers a revolutionary look at how we inherit and process trauma. Who could this book be for: Those wanting to have a better understanding of generational trauma and its impacts on genetics and how trauma is passed down Note: This book contains content that may be upsetting to some readers.

5) Decolonizing Trauma Work: Indigenous Stories and Strategies

By Renee Linklater

"Decolonizing Trauma Work: Indigenous Stories and Strategies" by Renee Linklater explores the unique challenges and considerations in addressing trauma within Indigenous communities. Linklater argues that conventional Western approaches to trauma often fail to resonate with Indigenous experiences and perspectives, which are deeply rooted in the collective histories of colonization, displacement, and cultural erasure. Through a blend of Indigenous stories, traditional wisdom, and practical strategies, the book advocates for a decolonized approach to trauma work that honours and incorporates Indigenous ways of healing. Who could this book be for: Anyone to further their understanding around colonization trauma of Indigenous Peoples

Note: This book contains content that may be upsetting to some readers.

6) My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies

By Resmaa Menakem

The book My Grandmother’s Hands tackles the intricate issue of racialized trauma, tracing its historical roots and its embodiment in people of all races. Menakem, a therapist and trauma specialist, argues that white supremacy has long-lasting traumatic effects not just on Black bodies but also on white and police bodies. Through a blend of personal anecdotes, historical context, and therapeutic practices, the book presents healing pathways that involve a deep, somatic understanding of trauma. Menakem's work offers a transformative approach to confronting and healing from racial trauma. Who could this book be for: Anyone to further their understanding around racialized trauma

Note: This book contains content that may be upsetting to some readers.

7) In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness

By Peter Levine

The book In an Unspoken Voice delves into the somatic dimensions of trauma recovery. Author Peter Levine, a leading expert in trauma treatment, argues that the body has an innate ability to self-regulate and recover from traumatic experiences. He draws on both scientific research and case studies to introduce a holistic approach to healing that focuses on engaging the body's natural adaptive mechanisms. The work guides readers in understanding how the body stores trauma and offers practical techniques to release it, ultimately fostering a return to a state of 'goodness' or well-being. Who could this book be for: Those wanting to understand a holistic trauma healing approach tapping into the body's ability to heal and recover from traumatic experiences.

8) Man’s Search for Meaning

By Viktor Frankl

The book Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl is a memoir that chronicles his experiences as a Holocaust survivor and describes his psychotherapeutic method of finding meaning in all forms of existence. Frankl, a psychiatrist, argues that the primary human drive is not pleasure but the pursuit of meaning. Based on his experiences in Nazi concentration camps, he observes that those who could find meaning in their suffering

were more resilient and more likely to survive. The book is divided into two parts: The first recounts his personal experiences during the Holocaust, and in the second part it introduces Frankl’s theory of logotherapy. Who could this book be for: Anyone deeply seeking meaning or asking themselves “what it’s all about.”

Note: This book contains content that may be upsetting to some readers.

9) What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing

By Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey

This book collaboration by Dr. Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey reframes the question often posed to trauma survivors from "What's wrong with you?" to "What happened to you?" The book incorporates Oprah's personal stories with Dr. Perry's scientific and clinical insights and explores how traumatic experiences shape our neurobiology, behavior, and relationships. It offers a nuanced understanding of the impact of trauma and provides practical tools for individual and collective healing. The book empowers readers to engage in more empathic, compassionate conversations around trauma and resilience. Who could this book be for: Those seeing an approachable starting point to understanding trauma and its impacts

Buy it on Amazon

10) Trauma’s Labyrinth: Reflections of a Wounded Healer

By Laura Kerr

In "Trauma’s Labyrinth: Reflections of a Wounded Healer," Laura K. Kerr explores the intertwining of personal trauma and soci

etal issues like pandemics and systemic violence. As both a trauma survivor and psychotherapist, Kerr contends that trauma isn't a dead-end but an avenue for growth and transformation. She discusses various causes and treatments for trauma and emphasizes the role society plays in triggering it. Kerr advocates for breaking down divisions between self and society, wounded and healer, as the path to enduring healing and positive change for individuals and the broader world. Who could this book be for: If you’re looking to understand the challenges between trauma, society, societal expectations and yourself.

Buy it on Amazon

11) Healing in Your Hands: Self-Havening Practices to Harness Neuroplasticity, Heal Traumatic Stress, and Build Resilience

By Dr. Kate Truit

The book Healing in Your Hands by Dr. Kate Truitt explores the neuroscience of trauma and introduces self-havening, a revolutionary technique that employs mindful touch to treat traumatic stress. Integrating scientific insights and client stories, the book offers a comprehensive self-healing program. It teaches how to tap into the brain’s inherent ability to heal, build trust between mind and body, soothe the nervous system, and foster feelings of safety and empowerment. Targeted at anyone seeking practical tools for healing, this book empowers the reader to activate their own restorative potential. Who could this book be for: Anyone seeking a holistic, gentle approach to self-care, healing and resilience building and understanding the neuroscience of trauma

Buy it on Amazon

Seeking help with trauma?

If you came to this book list seeking help to find a way to deal with a traumatic event, we can help you further - reach out to us via email at or 647-296-9235. We can help you find a therapist who can offer you trauma counselling. We offer a free 30-minute consultation via phone or video chat, and we’re available for online sessions using our secure online video platform across Ontario and in-person sessions in Toronto and select Ontario cities.

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