Dr. Jess Torrecillas
January 2022 Pick
Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown. Happy New Year! We are starting the year strong with a heavy hitter in the mental health world…the one and only Brene Brown. Her new book, Atlas of the Heart, aims to create a roadmap to our emotional world by giving us language and skills to navigate it. It is by building these skills and knowledge that we can release the stories of shame we all carry about how we feel.
February 2022 Pick
Set Boundaries, Find Peace by Nedra Glover Tawwab This month’s book club pick is by boundary expert, Nedra Glover Tawwab. This is a comprehensive guide to boundary setting across all the areas in life you may need it. If you are curious to learn more about boundaries & how to set them, this is the book for you!
March 2022 Pick
Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents by Lindsay Gibson, Psy.D. Growing up with parents who struggled to meet our emotional needs can leave us feeling afraid of abandonment & closeness to others. This book is a great resource if you want to explore & learn more about your relationship with your parents and how it affects your life now!
April 2022 Pick
What My Bones Know by Stephanie Foo. The experience and feeling of complex trauma (trauma that is experienced over an extended period of time) by nature tends to be so hard to put into words. However, the author does an incredible job of honestly and heartbreakingly describing her experiences in her childhood and how they affected her adult life. This is a fantastic resource for those who have experienced complex trauma, look for language to describe it, and hope to move through it!
May 2022 Pick
Emotional Inheritance by Galit Atlas, Ph.D. This book is an exploration of how trauma can be passed down from generation to generation, impacting our lives in unseen & unhelpful ways. Dr. Atlas shares her work as a therapist and as a person who has been affected by generational trauma. I’m a big fan of therapists sharing their accounts of what it is like to sit on both sides of the room, as it helps to demystify & de-stigmatize the process of therapy. P.S. My other favorite therapist accounts are “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” by Lori Gottlieb & “Love’s Executioner” by Irv Yalom).
June 2022 Pick
The Anatomy of Anxiety: Understanding & Overcoming the Body's Fear Response by Ellen Vora, MD. This book is a comprehensive guide to understanding anxiety & the things in your life that might be impacting it, including nutrition, sleep, medication, inflammation, technology, & good ole life stress. Dr. Vora helpfully examines each category and provides research, personal & professional anecdotes, and suggestions for how to make adjustments if the reader is interested. This book is a great resource for someone who wants to understand their anxiety from a deeper & more holistic perspective and anyone who is curious about how those categories listed above can affect mental health overall.
July 2022 Pick
Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski, PhD & Amelia Nagoski, DMA. Stress and burnout are familiar parts of everyday life for modern women. The authors do a great job of describing what stress is, how it is experienced, and how we can get stuck in the stress cycle. They pair this knowledge with practical and concrete strategies to move with and through the stress cycle.
August 2022 Pick
No Bad Parts: Healing Trauma & Restoring Wholeness with Internal Family Systems Model by Richard Schwartz, PhD. Most of us have parts we do not like about ourselves. This is, unfortunately, even more pronounced when we have experienced trauma and challenging life events. Dr. Schwartz is the founder of Internal Family Systems (IFS), a therapeutic approach that aims to accept all parts of ourselves and understand that they all try to protect us (even in ways that are not so effective). This book is an excellent introduction to IFS for those interested in learning how to embrace the parts of ourselves that get the least love & attention but need it most.
September 2022 Pick
Therapy Isn’t Just for White People by Kiara Imani. In this powerful memoir, Kiara Imani shares her story, highlighting the impact of racial trauma on Black mental health. We increasingly understand the impact of generational trauma on Black Americans stemming from chattel slavery and the Jim Crow era. Although understanding the effects of this type of trauma is essential, the author also directs our attention to micro-aggressions, indignities, & weaponized ignorance that Black Americans endure daily. These experiences are often ignored or minimized, but they profoundly impact the emotional and relational life. Kiara Imani generously shares her own stories of how these experiences have affected her mental health and how emotionally exhausting it can be to support & teach “well-meaning” white people about how their words and behavior have caused her & her community harm. This book is an incredible resource for those who are open & willing to learn more about racial trauma and how it impacts us individually & collectively.
October 2022 Pick
Sensitive is the New Strong by Anita Moorjani. The word “empath” tends to get thrown around a lot as of late. In this book, the author provides a thorough definition of what being an empath actually means. Although many of us are sensitive and empathetic, an empath tends to not only sense what other people are feeling but FEEL what people are feeling. They absorb and take on the emotions of others, which can be so overwhelming, overstimulating, and exhausting. It can be so tricky for empaths to understand what is their emotions and what belongs to other people. The author does a great job of discussing the challenges for empaths and how these challenges can affect their relationships, self-esteem, work, and even physical bodies. She provides different tools that empaths can implement to start protecting their energy and stop taking on the emotions of others. If you’re an empath (or want to know if you are, this book is a great place to start understanding more about yourself and how your interact with others!
November 2022 Pick
Anxiously Attached by Jessica Baum, LMHC. This book is a love letter to those who identify with anxious attachment. Anxious attachment is characterized by being consumed with a fear of abandonment when getting closer to or experiencing more intimacy with someone. Therefore, someone with an anxious attachment may want to get really “close” to someone quickly and seek a lot of reassurance that someone will not abandon them. Jessica Baum does a great job of breaking down what anxious attachment is not only in behavior and thoughts but what happens in our bodies when we are so triggered by fear of abandonment. She also provides so many incredible resources to help anxiously attached people reconnect with their own needs (that often get abandoned when trying to pursue others) and learn to soothe the Little Me inside who didn’t get their needs met in childhood. The author helps the reader foster compassion, nurturance, and healing by tapping back into our wisdom and intuition instead of fear. This is an excellent resource for people who find themselves stuck in patterns with unavailable people and want to find ways of connecting with others and themselves in ways that feels less dysregulating and more authentic.
December 2022 Pick
Fierce Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff, Ph.D. Dr. Neff has spent her professional life dedicated to the concept of self-compassion, and her book is chock-full of wisdom about how we all can learn to be compassionate with ourselves. Long regarded as a “soft” and “passive” way of approaching life, Dr. Neff dispels misconceptions about self-compassion and demonstrates how it can be fierce, assertive, and strong when needed. Fierce self-compassion is the yang, and tender self-compassion is the yin, which refers to the type of self-compassion that “involves ‘being with’ ourselves in an accepting way.” These two types of self-compassion work in tandem to help us alleviate suffering in our lives and also the lives of others. Have you noticed that when you are in the most painful and vulnerable situations, you tend to meet yourself with more judgment, harshness, and criticism? This tends to increase our suffering tenfold. Instead, self-compassion offers us a way to remain still accountable, ambitious, and driven without the nasty after-effects of self-criticism (suffering, anxiety, depression, stress, burnout, etc.). Written specifically for women, Dr. Neff does an incredible job of contextually many aspects of our culture that make it difficult for women to develop self-compassion and offers practices to help us cultivate self-compassion even in our most vulnerable moments.