Behind the scenes: 2018 in books


Happy New Year to you! It's quite exciting writing this post, the first one of 2019! It's been a while since I've given a rundown of what books I read the previous year (it was 2012 in fact - gulp!).

2018 has been a good reading year for me. I beat my target of reading 40 books over the year by 4. Just under a quarter of them were hypnotherapy and mental health related. In this post I'm going to briefly discuss those books and what I got from them.

  • Transforming Your Self: Becoming Who You Want to Be by Steve Andreas. This book was a recommendation from a hypnotherapist friend of mine Etain McNulty. I love a good book recommendation. I didn't care for the format of the book as it was basically a transcription of a workshop that the author had given. That said, some of the ideas around self-concept, values, and how to build self-esteem were really interesting. I've since gone off and researched the subject in more depth from other sources which has given me a more rounded view of the subject. Whilst this book seems to be marketed at anyone in order to help themselves, I wouldn't recommend it as a self help book as it does require some previous knowledge of NLP in order to understand it.

  • Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body by Jo Marchant. I listened to this one and really enjoyed the narration. The first few chapters were on placebo which was fascinating and referenced a few studies that I was not aware of before moving on to discussing hypnosis. When I decided to read the book, I was not expecting there to be mention of hypnosis so I was pleasantly surprised. It had comprehensive chapters on pain and immune functioning which were both very interesting before going on to discuss other ways in which the mind can affect the body. It is an excellent read!

  • Overcome Social Anxiety and Shyness: A Step-by-Step Self Help Action Plan to Overcome Social Anxiety, Defeat Shyness and Create Confidence by Dr Matt Lewis I really liked this book. It's evidence based and has some great little exercises and techniques in there, many of which I work through with my hypnotherapy clients. There is some great information in there about anxiety, avoidance and hiding behaviours, and exposure therapy, as well as techniques from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and breathing and relaxation techniques to help with panic and anxiety. I highly recommend it for those experiencing social anxiety. The author has a book just on anxiety. I've not read it but in the last chapter of the social anxiety book he mentions it and that it is very similar in structure so if you have anxiety (as opposed to social anxiety), you might want to check that one out instead.

  • Professional Opportunist Wrongless Approach: The Antidote To Fear by James Brown I bought this book after seeing James speak at the UK Hypnosis Convention in November. It's aimed at anyone wanting to overcome fear in specific areas of their life. It has chapters on relationships and work, as well as a couple aimed at stage performers and hypnotists. There are more but that's all I can remember off the top of my head. The book was repetitive but that is a good thing. By the end of the book, the message underpinning the whole book had well and truly hit home. It was a quick and enjoyable read.

  • What You Can Change and What You Can't: The Complete Guide to Successful Self-Improvement by Martin E.P. Seligman This is a book I have been meaning to read for ages and I finally managed to get around to doing so. I'm pleased I did. I really enjoyed this book about various mental health issues, to what extent they can be helped and how the available treatments compare. Perhaps a little outdated now as further research has been conducted since this book was published but it has some really good information in there. I particularly liked the chapters on anxiety and phobias, depression and PTSD.

  • The Emperor's New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth by Irving Kirsch This was a fascinating book about the research behind antidepressants. The gist of it was that antidepressants are barely more effective than placebo in helping to reduce depression. Kirsch goes in to depth about placebo, depression and the research he did with antidepressants. It's very accessible and an enlightening read. I would highly recommend.

  • The Worry Cure: Seven Steps to Stop Worry from Stopping You by Robert L. Leahy I listened to this book on audio. It had some great chapters on worry and the limiting beliefs people hold about it. The beginning of the book was really good but I felt that as it went on, it became very repetitive as the author outlined how to not worry about various aspects of your life but the process was basically the same. As a self help book, I think it is definitely worth the read (or listen) though.

  • Essentials Of Clinical Hypnosis: An Evidence Based Approach by Steven J. Lynn & Irving Kirsch As the name suggests, this is an evidence-based book aimed at Hypnotherapists. A fantastic one at that. I particular found the chapters on anxiety, depression and trauma of interest and how Lynn and Kirsch uses Chevraul's pendulum to educate their clients on suggestion and imagination. These guys are quickly become my favourite authors in the hypnosis world.

  • I Had a Black Dog: His Name Was Depression by Matthew Johnstone This was a very quick read. It's a graphic novel about what it feels like to have depression. The illustrations and simple explanations were really accurate and thought provoking. Matthew Johnstone teamed up with the World Health Organization and made it in to a video which you can watch here.

  • This Book Will Make You Sleep by Jessamy HIbberd & Jo This is a good introduction to the CBT approach to treating insomnia and covers sleep hygiene, sleep diaries, misconceptions about sleep, and much more. It was informative and I would recommend it to those who are experiencing sleeping problems.

  • Reality is Plastic: The Art of Impromptu Hypnosis by Anthony Jacquin I really enjoyed reading this book. Impromptu or street hypnosis is not something I do so it was interesting to read a book from that side of the hypnosis field. There is a lot to be gained from understanding the mechanisms at play there and they can greatly benefit the work down in the therapy room too.

All of the books were very interesting, some were better than others of course. As you can see, I gained something from all of them and have incorporated much of the information and techniques I have learnt from them in to my hypnotherapy sessions.

In addition to these books which I’ve read cover to cover, I’ve also dipped in and out of a number of books, some of which I’ve read previously. These include:

I’ve also read various manuals from previous courses I’ve attended to reinforce my understanding as well as spent some significant time reading through research papers published in International Journal Of Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis, as well as other journals. Two papers that I have studied in depth are:

I’ve also completed a couple of free online courses via Future Learn and Open University which are basically like reading a book so I’ll include them here:

These courses are not aimed at therapists, but anyone who has an interest in the subjects and are available to the public for free. I highly recommend the ones listed above but do check out what else they have on offer as well.

I have a lot of hypnosis related books on my “to be read” pile for 2019. I’m unlikely to get to all of them but I think I’ll make a substantial dent in the pile. I m aiming for 40 books again for 2019 but I want to double the amount of hypnosis and mental health related books compared to last year. I'm looking forward to what the reading year will have in store for me.

Previous Year's Books: