Top Ten Books for Emotional and Physical Healing

Hi, I’m Marcia, Caleb’s second mom. Raising a child who experienced great trauma, both physical and emotional, obviously had some challenges. Many people have asked me how I did it and I always say the first step is to take it one day at a time.

Inspirational story about a teen with traumatic brain injury

But the second thing I’ve learned is that when something isn’t working in your life, you have to do something about it or nothing will ever change. Books were always a great place to start that change.

As I faced a unique set of challenges, I found it fascinating that the answers I needed were out there. No, I never found a book titled, How to Raise an Orphaned Baby with Traumatic Brain Injury (that would have been nice). But I did find lots of other books that helped me do just that.

Here are a few books that have been incredibly helpful to me through the years. These ten books are ones that I have referred to over and over. They range from technical and long to short and story like. The random nature of the list makes it a strange compilation, but it also means almost everyone can find something helpful.

Take a look through the list of books and see if anything is applicable to you.

Another thing I love about this list is that it shows action. A lot of these books solved problems that didn’t seem very big at the time. If I had thought the problems were bearable and didn’t need a solution, life would have been much harder. But life isn’t just for surviving, it’s for living. With each book came changes that were powerful and life changing.

Overcoming challenges takes action not survival. If there’s something in your life that you aren’t happy about, then change it. Read a book, start a hobby, have a conversation, but do something. Hopefully this list can help you find a solution. Or maybe it will help you identify a problem you didn’t know you had.

Do you have a book that changed your life? Please let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear about it.

We do get a small commission at no extra cost to you if you decide to purchase any of these books. This income helps support Caleb, especially as he nears adulthood. Thank you so much for your support!

And now for the list. In no particular order, here are some awesome books.

1. Eyegames: Easy and Fun Visual Exercises

Excellent book for visual exercises

  • An OT and Optometrist offer activities to improve vision!
  • Lois Hickman, MS, OTR, FAOTA
  • Rebecca E. Hutchins, OD, FCOVD
  • This is a good, easy, up to date home resource for improving visual-motor skills. Many of these exercises are the same as we were given through a vision therapy program. The book is short and packed full of information in an easy to use format. Consultation with an optometrist is encouraged which I highly agree with. But reading this book before going to a professional may help you to understand what you can do at home and what things you can be looking for help with in a professional.

2. I Don’t Have to Make Everything All Better

  • Six practical principles that empower others to solve their own problems while enriching your relationships
  • Gary and Joy Lundberg
  • “Splendid…Powerfully teaches the concept of human validation.” Stephen Covey. This book and the training that we received around these principles made a huge impact in our lives. Many people tried to help us understand these principles right from the beginning of our journey. This was a good resource on our way to developing this skill.

3. Don’t Touch My Heart

  • Healing the pain of an unattached child
  • Lynda Gianforte Mansfield
  • Christopher H. Waldmann, MA, LPC
  • I didn’t know that this was information that I needed until we were 7 years down the road. It gave validation to what I had been experiencing as a parent and what I was seeing in some of my children. I highly recommend reading it early in the process of taking an emotionally traumatized child into your life. It’s short, emotionally moving, and includes a list of selected reading to lead you to further research if you find that helpful.

4. Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew

  • Sherrie Eldridge
  • This is another book that I didn’t know I needed at first, but did. We clearly saw the 5 children that joined our family as part of our family, but we also clearly saw them as a family that had their own parents. So, I didn’t consider them ‘adopted.’ This book opened my eyes to feelings that they were having, or could have been having, that could have guided some of the conversations that we encouraged.

5. A Safe Place for Caleb

  • An interactive book for kids, teens, and adults with issues of attachment, grief and loss, or early trauma
  • Kathleen A. Chara
  • Paul J. Chara, Jr.
  • We obviously loved the title! Another short, easy to digest, full of helpful information book.

6. The Healing Power of Neurofeedback

  • The revolutionary LENS technique for restoring optimal brain function
  • Stephen Larsen, PhD
  • A thick book well worth reading. More technical than other books. Deals with many types of injuries or illnesses that can be helped through Neurofeedback. Opened my eyes to new types of treatment that I knew nothing about. This led us to use neurofeedback to help improve Caleb’s balance.

7. The Brain’s Way of Healing

  • Remarkable discoveries and recoveries from the frontiers of neuroplasticity
  • Norman Doidge, MD
  • Another exciting book. Longer than the short books. We learned many ways that various researchers were using to tap into the brain’s plasticity. We were fortunate that Cognitive FX, one of the mentioned clinics, was close and accessible. Found great support and new treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury there.

8. Attention and Memory Training

  • Stress-point learning on the trampoline
  • Ray Gottlieb, OD, PhD
  • This is a book that was used in the Vision Therapy that Caleb did. It is a short book, mostly just full of training exercises and explanation of what situations would warrant using the exercise. It is put out by the Optometric Extension Program Foundation. Very useful book! I have used it with other children just for fun to challenge their brain and it is fun!

9. ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life

  • Strategies that work from a professional organizer and a renowned ADD clinician
  • Judith Kolberg
  • Kathleen Nadeau, PhD
  • These strategies really DO work. Executive skills are low in ADD and in TBI. These were helpful recommendations for me and for my family. I’ve loaned this book out and referenced it over and over.

10. A Life in Balance: Discovery of a Learning Breakthrough

  • Frank Belgau
  • As told to Eric Belgau
  • This is a quick read and very interesting. I looked up this book when the Vision Therapist was calling the balance board a Belgau board. This tells the story of Frank Belgau and his search to bring immediate and observable improvement to students who struggled. Others have since built on the work that he did. After that we bought a Belgau Balance Board and added that to our home resources and we also set up a Space Walk in the back yard!

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