Book recommendations

The self-help aisles of bookstores are full of advice and information on various problems and living situations. Texts of this kind help to better understand problems, develop new ideas and perspectives, find appropriate help, and give some concrete guidance for behavior changes. Although the texts are not tailored to each individual situation and problem, they do offer a treasure trove of useful tips and explanations.

To facilitate browsing in the jungle of self-help literature, we have compiled a list of books and texts that are both scientific and told from the point of view of the clients.

Each self-help book is only helpful if it fits the individual problems and benefits. If you have any questions that arise from reading, we’re here for you!

Ängste verstehen und überwinden – Gezielte Strategien für ein Leben ohne Angst (Wolf, Doris) (IN GERMAN)

Painfully Shy - How to Overcome Social Anxiety and Reclaim Your Life (Markway Barbara G. und Gregory P.) (IN ENGLISH AND GERMAN)

Umarme Deine Angst – Neun Helfer bei Hilflosigkeit und Angst. Das praktische Selbsthilfebuch (Kaestele, Gina): (IN GERMAN)
A comprehensive self-help program with a range of easy to learn counterstrategies to fear (mainly from the behavioral therapy). In any case, the agony of choice is to compile a program that’s practical for you.

Vom Sinn der Angst – Wie Ängste sich festsetzen und wie sie sich verwandeln lassen (Kast, Verena) (IN GERMAN)

Wir haben (keine) Angst – Gruppentherapie einer Generation (Pauer, Nina) (IN GERMAN)

Labour disruptions and techniques
Frei geschrieben – Mut, Freiheit und Strategie für wissenschaftliche Abschlussarbeiten (Wolfsberger, Judith): (IN GERMAN)
This book comes in cheerfully in easygoing, very well edited, easy to read, with a positive, light, optimistic appearance. New writing methods from the English-speaking area are presented, which are really original and very specific, and encourage you to try them out. The author used a lot of literature, but she still gives hints for further helpful literature. Thus, the book is comprehensive and complete, but the sincerity and seriousness are not at the expense of the readability. It’s a good example of how to write truly original. There is also a chapter on fear of writing.

Schluß mit dem ewigen Aufschieben – Wie Sie umsetzen, was Sie sich vornehmen (Rückert, Hans-Werner): (IN GERMAN)
The author is head of the central institution for study and psychological counselling at Freie Universität Berlin and knows what he is talking about: procrastination is the technical term for a postponing behavior. The explanations are psychologically profound. He provides many easy to follow instructions and specific training methods on topics like self-control, willpower and perseverance.

The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play (Fiore, Neil) (IN ENGLISH AND GERMAN)

Ich hasse Dich – Verlass‘ mich nicht. Die schwarz-weiße Welt der Borderline-Persönlichkeit (Kreisman, Jerold J. u. Strauss, Hal) (IN GERMAN)

Stop Walking on Eggshells – Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder (Mason, Paul T. und Kreger, Randi) (IN ENGLISH AND GERMAN)
This book addresses strategies for dealing with people with borderline disorder. Since a part of the symptoms manifests also as an interaction disorder, or as a disturbance of the proximity-distance regulation, a feeling of helplessness and impotence often arises also with friends and relatives. This creates the impression: Everything I do is wrong! This is precisely where the authors try to bring more understanding and transparency into the possible motives and needs behind the behavior. This book gives specific tips and suggestions, it’s easy to read and suitable for the persons affected, since it wasn’t written judgmentally.

Sie haben es doch gut gemeint - Depression und Familie (Giger-Bütler, Josef): (IN GERMAN)
One of the best books on this topic, already a bestseller, compared with a classic from Alice Miller. An urgent empathic plea for the depressive persons, in particular, an appeal to the undetected ones for more self-knowledge and self-understanding. A depressive person often does not recognize himself as such, suffers in secret for years, thinks this is the real life, because he does not know otherwise, and doesn’t seek help, because he wants to do everything himself. Recommended also for the relative of depressive persons. The chapters are short and explicit, didactically well prepared, with an unusually detailed insight into the inner world of the depression. According to Giger-Bütler, the core thesis of the genesis of this disease is the constant but unconscious pattern of self-overstraining with a tendency to over-adjustment and denial of need, which can be deduced from the family situation. Main symptoms are tiredness, exhaustion and self-estrangement, which are seen as normal by the affected person. The reader thinks, that nothing is new, but it sinks deeper in the urgency and tenacity, because it is not enough to understand the intellectual depression, it must be emotionally comprehended – like in therapy. The focus of this book is on the appearance of depression. The therapy can also be derived from this, but in the end there is too little room for this. The next book title „Endlich frei“ takes on this.

Endlich frei - Schritte aus der Depression (Giger-Bütler, Josef): (IN GERMAN)
The sequel to the bestseller „Sie haben es doch gut gemeint“ has a focus on self-healing. It’s again didactically very well prepared with frequent summaries, excitations and these supposed repetitions already known from the first book. This book, however, is somewhat tougher to read than the predecessor not because of the intelligibility but because of these repetitions. This stylistic device, which the author may have unintentionally used in the first book, is now consciously used as a therapeutic agent. So it is a good therapy. It is easy to understand what is going on, but that is not enough for a therapy, it is about the day-to-day implementation. The author knows about the obstacles, difficulties, discourages and dead-ends on the way out of the depression, he is encouraging, understanding, you believe that he knows exactly what is going on and how it could be better. To pick oneself up, to encourage oneself every and every time, to try new ways, to become more alert and more conscious of oneself, to go further until everything is finally internalized. My reading advice: read every day 5 pages and when you get to the end start again from the beginning. Then you reach the desired intensity in the discussion regarding this topic and then a therapy is very close, which usually also takes more than a few months, if it should have lasting success.

Lebensfreude zurück gewinnen – Ratgeber für Menschen mit Depression und deren Angehörige (Pitschel-Walz, G.) (IN GERMAN)

I Had a Black Dog – Not till we are lost do we begin to find ourselves (Johnstone, Matthew): (IN ENGLISH AND GERMAN)
An astonishing picture book (!), which is more about the inner view, the handling and ways out of a depression than some texts.

Living with a black dog - How to take care of someone with depression while looking after yourself (Johnstone, Matthew + Ainsley): (IN ENGLISH AND GERMAN)
Another significant picture book with useful tips.

Wenn das Leben zur Last wird – Ein praktischer Ratgeber zur Überwindung
seelischer Tiefs und depressiver Verstimmungen (Merkle, Rolf):
Cognitive behavioral therapy. The author is versed in the self-help literature.

The ABC of Mindfulness (Wilker, Jessica): (IN ENGLISH AND GERMAN)
Funny, entertaining introduction to the practice of mindfulness. It describes how to learn to get (again) in contact with one’s (often “difficult”) feelings and to integrate them into one’s life / everyday life. Also recommended as an audio book.

Stressbewältigung durch die Praxis der Achtsamkeit (Kabat-Zinn, Jon): (IN GERMAN)
The standard work fot he mindfulness method. Stress management with the help of (primarily body-related) attention focusing. With audio book.

Wu w e i - Die Lebenskunst des Tao (Fischer, Theo): (IN GERMAN)
A classic based on Eastern philosophy of life. Wu w e i means to act by means of non-intervention, by happening. It is the art of doing the right thing at the right time, making the right decisions spontaneously, ending meaningless efforts and focusing in the flow of life. This is not the invitation for inertia and passivity, but requires two preconditions (which in itself are difficult to implement permanently) so that the effect can unfold fully: namely neutral, benevolent, non-evaluative mindfulness and always the independence of inner and outer bonds.

Eating disorder
Alice im Hungerland - Leben mit Bulimie und Magersucht (Hornbacher, Marya): (IN GERMAN)
A self-evaluation report.

Eating in the Light of Moon (Johnston, Anita) (IN ENGLISH AND GERMAN)
The author takes up the topic of eating disorders through the analysis of fairy tales. How is the image of the woman represented and how is it possible to develop a loving and caring feeling about her and her body? This book is a nice way to deal with this topic and develop motivation and courage to change.

Essen als Ersatz (Göckel, Renate) (IN GERMAN)

Tatort Kühlschrank – Wenn Essen zum Problem wird (Göckel, Renate) (IN GERMAN)

Gute Mädchen kommen in den Himmel, böse überall hin – Warum Bravsein uns nicht weiterbringt (Ehrhardt, Ute): (IN GERMAN)
The author draws attention to subconscious stereotypes. From the table of contents: Are women really weak? Do women always have to be beautiful? Are strong women necessarily lonely? Power makes you lonely!? Power makes unpopular!? The body language of submission. The understanding trap. The helper trap. The modesty trap.

High sensitivity
The Drama of the Gifted Child (see Chapter „Narcissism“) (IN GERMAN AND ENGLISH)

Was Hochsensible glücklich macht – Leben mit einer seelischen Begabung (Göckel, Renate): (IN GERMAN)
A new edition of „Die Erbsenprinzessin“.Easily readable, many concrete examples, good sensitization of this topic, optimistic. Basis of the book is a survey of 17 affected persons. No scientifically based derivation. The “giftedness” is too high praised, the difficulties in everyday life are obvious.
This group of persons would have been referred to as neurasthenic / neurotic or after Pawlow as "vitally damaged".

Never too late to have a happy childhood (Furman, Ben) (IN GERMAN AND ENGLISH)

Learning to learn
Lernen leicht gemacht (Kossak, Hans-Christian) (IN GERMAN)

Lernen mit Sinn und Verstand (Arbinger, Roland) (IN GERMAN)

Das Mannheimer Prüfungscoaching-Programm (Messer, Jürgen) (IN GERMAN)

Survivalguide Bachelor (see Chapter „Surviving at the university“) (IN GERMAN)

Love and relationships
The five love languages (Chapman, Gary): (IN GERMAN AND ENGLISH)
Every person has its own method of expressing affection: some persons express themselves through words, others through actions or body language (“praise/recognition”, “togetherness”, “gifts”, “helpfulness”, “tenderness”). Therefore, misunderstandings are inevitable.

Das Nein in der Liebe (Schellenbaum, Peter): (IN GERMAN)
In today's cohabitation, boundaries have to be sought and set, the old role patterns, which have taken over earlier, no longer work. An open "no" is necessary, precisely when it’s regarding love. Only in this way can love remain alive and persist. The author reveals ways in which the urge to delimit an initial infatuation does not have to lead directly to separation or to a rigid relationship.As a theologian, psychoanalyst and psycho-energetic, Schellenbaum has written a work that can be recommended to readers with prior psychological knowledge and preferences for theoretical approaches.

Die Psychologie sexueller Leidenschaft (Schnarch, David): (IN GERMAN)
This work has revolutionized the couple therapy by putting it on the foundation of postmodern society. It is no longer equality that is at the forefront (the ideal of modernity), but the differences between partners and the mutual tolerance. It is not just about concrete sexuality ("instruments for being together", "embrace to relaxation", and above all "orgasm with open eyes"), but also about couple psychology ("... the normal sadism in the relationship"," couples in the trial by fire").

Sehnsuchtsprogramm Liebe (Stiemerling, Dietmar): (IN GERMAN)
The longings and desires for a partner can be individually very different, from simple to complicated or even pathological ("partner as a development aid", "the desire to be needed", "the old-predecessor model", "the James Bond ideal", "The Perfection Claim", to name but a few). The comprehensive illustration of the different game types by means of numerous case files can bring light into confused partnership constellations.

Die Wahrheit beginnt zu Zweit (Moeller, Michael Lukas): (IN GERMAN)
How can partners talk to each other to make it positive and constructive, understanding and solutions are possible and relationships can get deeper? Moeller formed the concept of "couple interactions" and provided rules, procedures and numerous examples.

Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps (Pease, Allan + Barbara): (IN GERMAN AND ENGLISH)
An amusing book with serious background. Mundane, constantly recurrent everyday conflicts between man and woman get a biological, neurophysiological or evolutionary explanation. Both parts are not to blame for the conflict-prone differences! The book contributes much to the improvement of mutual understanding. You will find out, why HE never finds the butter in the fridge or is always looking for his socks or turns around for other women (because a woman innately has a wider field of view, she can unnoticeably check out someone!). Or why SHE talks elaborately about problems, but gets angry when confronted with solutions. Enlightening and conciliatory.

Iron John - A Book About Men (Bly, Robert):
Its publishing made quite a splash, because it didn’t use the usual feminist concepts. The author considers it to be shameful, if a man defines himself through his relationship to a woman. A poetic-psychological non-fiction book, an evolution story about the boy becoming a man on the basis of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. With emphasis on the original “wildness” of the man and its if possible non-destructive forms of expression.

Männer auf der Suche (Bidow, Steve) (IN GERMAN)

The Drama of the Gifted Child (Miller, Alice): (IN GERMAN AND ENGLISH)
It’s no book about intellectual giftedness as the title may suggest but about giftedness of empathy. The “gifted child” is the sensitive, perceptive child, who feels very early the parents’ needs, fulfills them, but loses the most vital parts of his true self. The author expresses herself very vividly and intelligibly about these early origins of self-deprivation and reveals also ways of self-discovery in 3 essays. The author deliberately addresses the general public with her topic. With many interesting examples from their psychoanalytic practice and from the literature.

Disarming the Narcissist - Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed (Behary, Wendy): (IN GERMAN AND ENGLISH)
The author is specialized in couple therapy and treatment of narcissism and combines cognitive therapy with schema therapy. She indicates how to avoid senseless power struggles and discussions and instead use effective empathic but also limitative communication. She also describes the personal patterns, which are responsible for attracting “difficult” people or being attracted by them.

Test and test anxieties
Prüfungsangst und Lampenfieber (Metzig, Werner und Schuster, Martin): (IN GERMAN)
... informs comprehensively about the condition and the typical signs of anxiety in situations where we are exposed to the judgment by others. Such situations can be for example exams or other presentations, which are perceived as very stressful and entail a high tension of the entire body. The authors give also many useful tips for self-help, for example meditation techniques or instruction for preparing for exams. – a good overview on methods, which can be applied easily and help overcome stress, anxiety and stage fright.

Survivalguide Bachelor (see Chapter „Surviving at the university“) (IN GERMAN)

So überwinden Sie Prüfungsängste – Psychologische Strategien zur optimalen Vorbereitung und Bewältigung von Prüfungen (Wolf, Doris und Merkle, Rolf) (IN GERMAN)

Speech / rhetoric
Miteinander reden (Schulz von Thun, Friedemann): (IN GERMAN)
If s2omeone gives something of themselves, the central thesis, his message contains four psychologically important aspects: self-disclosure, content, reference and appeal. With each of these four aspects, typical problems are associated, which usually have to be handled by both sender and receiver at the same time. These findings serve family and communication therapists as tools, but they are not included in the psychics of the psychology but in the hands of everyone. As a bridge between science and the practical world of life, this book is therefore comprehensively written, with many examples, illustrations and exercises. (from the flap text). Volume 1 : Störungen und Klärungen, Volume 2: Unterschiedliche persönliche Kommunikationsstile, Volume 3: Das „Innere Team“ und situationsgerechte Kommunikation.

Schmerzen verlernen – Die erfolgreichen Techniken der psychologischen Schmerzbewältigung. Anleitung und Übungen zur Selbsthilfe (Richter, Jutta): (IN GERMAN)
Extremely comprehensive, but clear and easy to follow collection of all conceivable techniques of pain management (cognitive behavioral therapy, body perception, relaxation techniques, etc.). The reader has at most a decision-making problem; which special pain program he wants to put together for himself.

Self-esteem / self-confidence
Die Kunst der Selbstachtung (Lelord, Francois): (IN GERMAN AND FRENCH)
The author is a psychiatrist, he closed his praxis in 1996 to answer the really important questions for his readers. Popular through his book „Hectors Reise oder Die Suche nach dem Glück“.

So gewinnen Sie mehr Selbstvertrauen - Sich annehmen, Freundschaft mit sich schließen, den inneren Kritiker zähmen (Merkle, Rolf): (IN GERMAN)
Very intelligibly written, easy to follow and didactically well-prepared, with many case examples – with a serious, key message, which is brought insistently and empathically to the reader’s attention by the author (on first-name basis!): the lack of self-love and self-esteem and how to change it. And furthermore: the destructive power of the "inner critic", and how this has emerged and changed from a former friend to an enemy. And above all: how it can be disempowered (by using 26 common, well-known behavioral exercises). “From all my books this is the most important one!” Quite possible, because the topic is very central and important for the most diverse psychological problems.

Von der Freude, den Selbstwert zu stärken (Potreck-Rose, Friederike) (IN GERMAN)

Aphrodites Töchter (Ecker, Diana) (IN GERMAN)

Die Psychologie sexueller Leidenschaft (see Chapter „Love and relationships") (IN GERMAN)

Die neue Sexualität der Männer – Was Sie schon immer über Männer, Sex und Lust wissen wollten (Zilbergeld, Bernie) (IN GERMAN)

Therapy and other remedies
In jeder Mücke steckt ein Elefant – Gute Gründe, sich über Kleinigkeiten aufzuregen (Hanisch, Ernstfried):
Why do we get hurt and irritated by seemingly minor things and which are getting us also out of balance? The author knows how to helps us in finding the origins and actual causes and shows us the way out of the old dysfunctional patterns.

Krankheit als Sprache der Seele – Be-Deutung und Chance der Krankheitsbilder (Dahlke, Rüdiger): (IN GERMAN)
Unlike the predecessor "Krankheit als Weg" with a more positive forward-looking direction. The author is able to point out the symbolic character of a wide range of physical disorders in a comprehensible and understanding manner, as well as to point out the profound messages of the language in an astonishingly plausible way, to transfer the symptoms of illness to the psychological level as a learning task and to enable them to be freed from the "unsolved" physical form and thus to be cured.

Psychotherapie - Angebote sinnvoll nutzen (Verbraucherschutz): (IN GERMAN)
As a first orientation if necessary / interested in a psychotherapy: What is psychotherapy, who pays for it, how does it work, which procedures are there, how do I find the suitable therapist.

Schönes Leben? – Einführung in die Lebenskunst (Schmid, Wilhelm): (IN GERMAN)
"The existential imperative of life: design your life so that it’s positive. ... With the question, the first step towards the appropriation of life is already been made in order to make a life, which seems to be abstract, to become a life of its own" said Wilhelm Schmid, a well-known Heidelberg contemporary philosopher, who devotes himself philosophically profoundly and yet very intelligently to the original task of philosophy, to master life. Among others in the chapters on „Die Lüste genießen“ (Enjoying the lusts), „Vom Sinn der Schmerzen“ (The meaning of pain), „Die Zeit gebrauchen“ (Using the time), „Auf den Versuch hin leben“ (Living on the attempt) , „Kunst des Zorns“ (The art of wrath), „Negativ denken“ (Thinking negatively), „Melancholie“ (Melancholy), „Gelassenheit“ (Serenity), „Gesundheit als Lebenskunst" (Health as an art of living).

Simplify your life – Einfacher und glücklicher leben (Küstenmacher, Werner Tiki): (IN GERMAN)
Even the book is uncomplicated; it is divided into short, manageable chapters, which are easy to read, funny, nevertheless psychologically profound. You can even use it as a reference work, with simple, immediate actionable tips on astonishing new to old topics (from the table of contents: Entwirren Sie Ihren Arbeitsplatz, Entkommen Sie Ihrem Sicherheitsdenken, Entperfektionieren Sie Ihr Leben, Entlasten Sie sich durch konsequente Neins, Entlocken Sie Ihrem Körper Glücksstoffe, Entärgern Sie sich, Entdramatisieren Sie Ihre Gespräche, Entwickeln Sie Ihre Stärken, Entlasten Sie Ihr Gewissen).

The Happiness Trap (Harris, Russ): (IN GERMAN AND ENGLISH)
A behavioral therapy book (of the "3rd generation"), well suited for anxious, depressive and compulsive phenomena, clearly understandable, humorous, didactically well prepared, easy to implement and effective in self-help on a well-founded psychological background with a clearly recognizable positive image of humanity.

Trauma – Folgen erkennen, überwinden und an ihnen wachsen. Ein Übungsbuch für Körper und Seele (Reddemann, Luise und Dehner-Rau, Cornelia): (IN GERMAN)
A classic. Mrs. Reddemann is the leading specialist in psycho-traumatology. A self - help book for affected people. The book is carefully, professionally, comprehensively and comprehensively written with examples (Was sind traumatische Erfahrungen? Welche Folgen hat ein traumatisches Ereignis? Was geschieht im Gehirn? Umgang mit Traumafolgestörungen – Therapiebeispiele und Selbsthilfe. Wieder gesund werden – Was Sie für sich tun können).

Healing trauma (Levine, Peter) (IN GERMAN AND ENGLISH)

Surviving at the university
Survivalguide Bachelor (Bensberg, Gabriele und Messer, Jürgen): (IN GERMAN)
Very comprehensive, meticulously compiled, well-founded and practice-oriented guidance on current topics regarding the beginning, the course and the end of study, as for example on motivation, concentration, writing and learning problems, time management, memory techniques, preparation of a bachelor thesis, examination strategies, students' degrees.

Uni-Angst und Uni-Bluff (Wagner, Wolf) (IN GERMAN)

Studienabbruch – Perspektiven und Chancen (Köster, Fritz) (IN GERMAN)

Where physics meets psychology
Geist, Kosmos und Physik – Gedanken über die Einheit des Lebens (Dürr, Hans-Peter):
The author makes modern quantum physics comprehensible for the readers and establishes links to ancient spiritual knowledge as well as to a social utopia for the 21st century. For 50 years, he has dealt with something that does not exist: matter. Nevertheless, he does not regret this realization. The new groundbreaking findings of physics have still not found their way into science, society and economics, let alone into everyday life.

Other recommended authors on this topic:
Rupert Sheldrake
Ken Wilber

Frei werden von Zwangsgedanken (Ambühl, Hansruedi): (IN GERMAN)
Based on a variety of examples, the author explains how different forced thoughts and forced rituals can be, as well as how these thoughts are created and maintained. The first part of the book deals with the differentiation of compulsive diseases from other mental disorders and illuminates the difference between "unproblematic" and compulsive thoughts. A self-test helps to classify one's own thoughts. The second part of the book focuses on the concrete handling of the constantly recurring thoughts and impulses. In addition to tips that help to distance oneself from compulsive thoughts, therapeutic approaches of cognitive behavior therapy, of mindfulness and medication are presented and explained in terms of their advantages and disadvantages. In this way, the book can be a valuable aid both in the independent examination of obsessions and in the search for professional therapeutic support.

Wenn Zwänge das Leben einengen (Hoffmann, Nicolas): (IN GERMAN)
A classic in this area (now in the 13th ed.). The work lives mainly from the rich, long-term psychotherapeutic experiences of the author. Every important topic is briefly discussed with hints for self-help but also with clear demarcation, when professional help is indicated. The uninformed reader will perhaps surprisingly have to classify his own behavior as compulsive. It is in particular about the compulsive personality, control obsession, washing obsession and compulsive thoughts, but also about compulsive slowness, magical thinking and action, or compulsive, unscrupulous conscience. The author always has a great deal of empathy and understanding for the suffering of those affected. Nevertheless, he does not lose himself in long explanations, he considers the search for causes to be marginal, he convinces through pragmatic behavioral support. His list of references is very brief. He also gave his advice to relatives of coercive patients. All in all: informative, interesting and readable.

Wer dem Glück hinterher rennt, ... (siehe Kapitel: „Therapie und andere Hilfen“) (IN GERMAN)

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