Benjamin Deu, MA, LMHC | Booklist

I regularly get requests for recommended reading so I have created this list to for those interested in reading on their own.  For those of you currently meeting with me I have copies of most of these in my office for loan.

There are two sections on this page. The first section is for those looking for practical reads and the section is more clinically and academically focused.  Within each of these two sections I have organized the list by topic and within topic listed them with my strongest recommendations at the top of each category.

Marriage, Relationships & Intimacy

Intimacy & Desire: awaken the passion in your relationship—by David Schnarch

A secular read that has some graphic sexual content, but I have not found a Christian book that clarifies the skills and development necessary to work through relationship issues like this book describes.

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: a practical Guide from the country’s foremost relationship expert—by John M. Gottman (Jewish Marriage Researcher.  Best research-based marital therapy that I have come across to date)

Gottman debunks many myths about divorce (primary among them that affairs are at the root of most splits). He also reveals surprising facts about couples who stay together. They do engage in screaming matches. And they certainly don’t resolve every problem. “Take Allan and Betty,” he writes. “When Allan gets annoyed at Betty, he turns on ESPN. When Betty is upset with him, she heads for the mall. Then they regroup and go on as if nothing’s happened. Never in forty-five years of marriage have they sat down to have a ‘dialogue’ about their relationship.” While this may sound like a couple in trouble, Gottman found that they pass the love-lab tests and say honestly that “they are both very satisfied with their relationship and they love each other deeply. (Amazon Review)

Love & Respect: the love she most desires; the respect he desperately needs—by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

Psychological studies affirm it, and the Bible has been saying it for ages. Cracking the communication code between husband and wife involves understanding one thing: that unconditional respect is as powerful for him as unconditional love is for her. It’s the secret to marriage that every couple seeks, and yet few couples ever find. (Amazon Review

I will add that the content in this book is quite repetitive so I recommend skimming or even better checking out the video version that is highly entertaining.

Hold Me Tight: seven conversations for a lifetime of love—by Sue Johnson (Secular theorist that has a great insight into common dysfunctional cycles in relationships)

Heralded by the New York Times and Time magazine as the couple therapy with the highest rate of success, Emotionally Focused Therapy works because it views the love relationship as an attachment bond. This idea, once controversial, is now supported by science, and has become widely popular among therapists around the world

Intimate Allies: rediscovering God’s design for marriage and becoming soul mates for life—by Dan Allender

In Intimate Allies, counselor Dan Allender and theologian Tremper Longman III merge their minds and skills to strip away cultural expectations and takes a fresh look at God’s design for the marriage relationship. The authors focus on five foundations taken from Genesis 1-3 and include an extensive review of other biblical passages on marriage. Each section begins with a real-life story concerning an unresolved marriage issue and concludes with the same story built on the “foundation” of a godly marriage. With eloquence and wisdom, Intimate Allies will challenge readers to move their marriages out of the mundane and into the fulfilling and enriching experiences God intended. (Amazon Review)

Personal Growth

Difficult Conversations: how to discuss what matters most—by Douglass Stone


The Healing Path—by Dan Allender

Healing is not the resolution of our past; it is the use of our past to draw us into deeper relationship with God and his purposes for our lives. If you’re ready to shape a future characterized by love, service, and joy, now is the time to step out onto The Healing Path.

Telling Secrets—by Frederick Buechner

“I not only have my secrets, I am my secrets. And you are your secrets. Our secrets are human secrets, and our trusting each other enough to share them with each other has much to do with the secret of what it is to be human.”

In Telling Secrets, Buechner does just that. He tells the details of his most intimate life. He tells of his struggles and his tortuous search for answers to life. And Buechner finds some answers. He finds that so much of the secret of live is to love and to love means being able to lay bare that core of our being, that soul with the “print of God’s thumb still intact.” And this book is just that. In an tremendous act of love, Buechner is baring his most essential soul and allowing the reader to connect and learn. (Amazon Review)

Addiction and Grace—by Gerad G. May, M.D.

Addiction and Grace offers an inspiring and hope–filled vision for those who desire to explore the mystery of who and what they really are. May examines the “processes of attachment” that lead to addiction and describes the relationship between addiction and spiritual awareness. He also details the various addictions from which we can suffer, not only to substances like alcohol and drugs, but to work, sex, performance, responsibility, and intimacy.

Drawing on his experience as a psychiatrist working with the chemically dependent, May emphasizes that addiction represents an attempt to assert complete control over our lives. Addiction and Grace is a compassionate and wise treatment of a topic of major concern in these most addictive of times, one that can provide a critical yet hopeful guide to a place of freedom based on contemplative spirituality. (Book Description)

Relating With God

Some of the Ways of God in Healing: how to get answers and directions when you’re suffering—by Joy Dawson

For those tired of pat answers from isolated Bible verses on the subject of healing, Joy Dawson presents a practical, balanced approach. Pursuing of truth on the subject of healing, this book addresses difficult issues such as why some people are never healed, while others who might seem less deserving are healed quickly. Personal experiences and a deep probing of Scripture are combined with an examination of the biblical purposes for illness and healing.

Joy Dawson has been traveling and teaching the Bible internationally since 1970, mostly at spiritual leadership conferences. Her missionary journeys have taken her to fifty-five nations. She is a member of the U.S. National Prayer Committee and is recognized as a veteran leader in the areas of prayer for revival and intercession. (Amazon Review)

Self Harm

Sacred Pain: hurting the body for the sake of the soul—by Ariel Glucklich

Why do mystics and devout laypeople in many different religious traditions glorify physical pain, some going so far as to ritually mutilate themselves in the name of the divine? In this erudite and wide-ranging study, Glucklich, a professor of theology at Georgetown University, offers a compelling explanation. Drawing on the fields of psychology, neurophysiology and religious studies, he observes that pain “the most familiar and universal aspect of all human experiences” affects both the body and the mind. Pain triggers an altered state of consciousness in which one’s sense of self is diminished, creating an absence that can make way for a new and affirming presence. “The task of sacred pain,” Glucklich writes, “is to transform destructive or disintegrative suffering into a positive religious-psychological mechanism for reintegration within a more deeply valued level of reality than individual existence.” Although this state of transcendence exists across cultures, the way in which the experience is interpreted is culturally specific. To demonstrate this, Glucklich draws upon a wide range of examples, from the tortures of the Inquisition to Native American trials of endurance. He concludes by exploring what we may have lost with the development of medical anesthetics. This fascinating, closely argued study suggests that, in religion as in sports, there is no gain without pain. (Amazon Review)

Female Perversions: the temptations of Emma Bovary—by Louise J. Kaplan

Distinguished psychoanalyst and author Louise Kaplan scrutinizes the world of sexual perversions and exposes the misconceptions behind them in her masterful study, Female Perversions. Her effort earned the book a nomination for a National Book Critics Circle Award. Kaplan’s general thesis is that perversions are as much a function of gender role identity as they are of sexuality. Her thesis also maintains that the predominantly male medical profession has created and perpetuated many of the myths of perverse female sexual behavior. The book outlines various types of perverse behavior–fetishism, voyeurism, exhibitionism–and then analyzes each type outside of society’s traditional perspective. As she expounds on her theory, Kaplan invokes Gustave Flaubert’sMadame Bovary. She sees many parallels between the plight of Emma Bovary and the perception of female perversions in society today. Kaplan writes lucidly, offering an enlightening insight into the provocative and complex issue of female erotic expression to a range of readers. (Amazon Review)

Skin Game: a memoir—by Caroline Kettlewell

A number of recent books by journalists and therapists have probed the social and psychological forces behind the alarming practice of self-mutilation; this unflinching memoir tells readers what it feels like. Caroline Kettlewell made her first attempt at age 12 with a Swiss Army knife, too dull to perform satisfactorily, but she quickly graduated to razor blades. “There was a very fine, an elegant pain,” she writes of her initiation. “In the razor’s wake, the skin melted away … then the blood welled up … the chaos in my head spun itself into a silk of silence.” Describing her tense but not unusually difficult youth, the author doesn’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out why she was so unhappy, concentrating instead on making palpable her sense of dread and terror of being out of control, emotions relieved by the act of cutting. Some readers may wish for more self-analysis, but others will find Kettlewell’s austere prose and sensibility refreshing. “I kept cutting because it worked. When I cut I felt better,” she explains. “I stopped cutting because I always could have stopped cutting.” Not the fanciest way to put it, but those sentences, like the entire book, have the cadences of “the plain and inelegant truth.” –Wendy Smith

Sexual Abuse

The Wounded Heart: hope for adult victims of childhood sexual abuse—by Dan Allender

“The Wounded Heart” is a love letter beneficial to any person suffering from victimization, although it is specifically written to the victims of sexual abuse. Written in captivating and empathetic style by Dr. Dan B. Allender, it must be put down regularly in order to take in small doses the healing offered therein. (Amazon Review)

Naming the Shadows: a new approach to individual and group psychotherapy for adult survivors of childhood incest—by Susan Roth

Although numerous books have been written about childhood incest and trauma, until now none of them has combined the best of what scientific psychology has to offer with detailed representation and narrative about the ways that childhood sexual trauma within the family context affects the lives of adult survivors. Naming the Shadows is the first book to offer practitioners and students-in-training an in-depth exploration of a trauma-focused approach to individual and group psychotherapy that respects scientific rules of evidence and at the same time attempts to honor the complexity and subjectivity of an individual survivor’s experience. Roth and Batson, psychologist and psychiatrist, respectively, with many years of expertise in treating survivors of sexual trauma, explain how targets of treatment are conceptualized as identity and relational issues that derive from an enduring adaptation to childhood trauma. The authors believe that, at its best, psychotherapy provides a therapeutic social context in which survivors can achieve a true understanding of their adaptation and gain self-knowledge of the meaning and enduring influence of traumatic childhood experience. Drawing on the authors’ own innovative research, on the widespread experience of colleagues, and on vivid dialogue from survivors themselves, Naming the Shadows has important implications for our understanding of the process of coping with childhood sexual abuse.

Sexual Addiction

False Intimacy: understanding the struggle of sexual addiction—by Harry W. Schaumburg

Female Perversions– Louise J. Kaplan

Spiritual Abuse

Healing Spiritual Abuse: How to break free from bad church experiences — by Ken Blue

Suffering & Faith

The Cry of the Soul: how our emotions reveal our deepest questions about God—by Dan Allender

God at War: the bible & spiritual conflict—by Gregory Boyd

Bold Love—by Dan Allender

The Problem of Pain—by C.S. Lewis

Satan and the Problem of Evil: constructing a trinitarian warfare theodicy—by Gregory Boyd

The God Who Risks: a theology of providence—by John Sanders

Stumbling Toward Faith: my longing to heal from the evil that god allowed—by Renee Altson

Embodying Forgiveness: a theological analysis—by Gregory L. Jones

Rees Howells: Intercessor-by Norman Grubb

Leadership & Vocation

The Last Word On Power: executive re-invention for leaders who must make the impossible happen—by Tracy Goss

Let Your Life Speak: listening for the voice of vocation—by Parker Palmer

Difficult Conversations: how to discuss what matters most—by Douglass Stone

The Four Hour Work Week—by Timothy Ferris

Getting To Yes: negotiating agreement without giving in—by Roger Fisher and William Ury of the Harvard Negotiation Project

The One Minute Manager: the quickest way to increase your own prosperity—by Kenneth Blanchard

Men’s Issues

Wild at Heart: discovering the secret of a man’s soul—by John Eldredge


Controlling People: how to recognize, understand, and deal with people who try to control you—by Patricia Evans

Why is it Always About You?: the seven deadly sins of narcissism—by Sandy Hotchkiss


Parenting with Love and Logic: teaching children responsibility—by Foster Cline & Jim Fay

Psychological Theory

Therapy Process

Can Love Last: the fate of romance over time—by Stephen A. Mitchell

How can love survive despite the vagaries of hectic schedules, work and parenting pressures, aging, and boredom? That is one of the many questions Stephen Mitchell attempts to answer in Can Love Last? While considering the oft-posed questions about “chemistry,” real love, and soul mates, he looks at whether you can determine if you’ve found “the one”; and how to keep them if you have. (Amazon Review)

The Power of Counter-Transference—by Karen Maroda

The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy—by Irvin D. Yalom

The Gift of Therapy: an open letter to a new generation of therapists and their patients—by Irvin D. Yalom

Child Psychology

When Love Is Not Enough: A Guide to Parenting Children with RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder)

Dandelion on my Pillow, Butcher Knife Beneath—by Nancy Thomas

When Love is Not Enough: a guide to parenting children with reactive attachment disorder—by Nancy Thomas (Cassette Series)

Personality Disorders

Stop Walking on Eggshells: taking your life back when someone you care about has borderline personality disorder—by Paul T. Mason & Randi Kreger

The Stop Walking on Eggshells Workbook: practical strategies for living with someone who has borderline personality disorder—by Randi Kreger & James Paul Shirley

Sex Therapy

Passionate Marriage: keeping love & intimacy alive in committed relationships—by David Schnarch

Resurrecting Sex: resolving sexual problems and rejuvenating your relationship—by David Schnarch

Resurrecting Sex addresses all major sexual issues, including male erection problems such as rapid orgasm and delayed orgasm; women’s problems with arousal and lubrication, difficulty reaching orgasm, and low desire; full coverage of Viagra (for both men and women); and other sex-enhancing drugs and medical options. Rather than dwelling on sexual techniques, this sympathetic book shows how to cure the rejection, hostility, and emotional alienation that often accompany sexual problems. Its unique method helps couples develop the love, affection, and commitment that prevent divorce and strengthen families. (Amazon Review)


Psychological Theory

Cracking Up—by Christopher Bollas

The Drama of the Gifted Child: the search for the true self—by Alice Miller

Subject Relations: unconscious experience and relational psychoanalysis—by Naomi G. Rucker


Philosophy & World View

The Universe Next door: a basic worldview catalog—by James W. Sire

The Lexus and the Olive Tree: understanding globalization—by Thomas L. Friedman

Relating with the Holy Spirit – Pneumatology

The Fourth Dimension: the key to putting your faith to work for a successful life—by Dr. Paul Yonggi Cho

Surprised by the Power of the Spirit: a former dallas seminary professor discovers that god speaks and heals today—by Jack Deere

Surprised by the Voice of God: how God speaks today through prophecies, dreams, and visions—by Jack Deere

Flame of Love: a theology of the holy spirit—by Clark H. Pinnock

The Final Quest—by Rick Joyner

The Call—by Rick Joyner

Theology & the Church

Paradise Restored: a biblical theology of dominion—by David Chilton

Beyond Foundationalism: shaping theology in a postmodern context—by Stanley J. Grenz

The Next Christendom: the coming of global christianity—by Philip Jenkins

A New Kind of Christian: a tale of two friends on a spiritual journey—by Brian McLaren

The Story We Find Ourselves In: further adventures of a new kind of christian—by Brian McLaren

Not the way it’s supposed to be: a breviary of sin—by Cornelius Plantinga

Other Impacting Reading

Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing—by Helene Cixous

Realities and Relationships: soundings in social construction—by Kenneth J. Gergen

Their eyes were watching God—by Zora Neale Hurston

The Long Hard Road Out of Hell—by Marilyn Manson

My First White Friend: confessions on race, love, and forgiveness—by Patricia Raybon

Love’s Executioner—by Irvin D. Yalom

Blue Like Jazz- Nonreligious thoughts on Christian spirituality-by Donald Miller