Mary Coady-Leeper, Ph.D.
offers that through her years of being a psychotherapist one of the best books to give people a better understanding of relationships is The Dance of Intimacy,
by Harriet Lerner. This book gives people direction for how to navigate close relationships without "triangulating." It also offers ideas for how to reconnect lost relationships or to "hang in" with those relationships that are important but very difficult. It also offers ways to shape relationships toward new and healthier directions.
Another book recommended by Dr. Coady-Leeper is Women Who Run with the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. This book helps both men and women connect with a deeper sense of self by seeing themselves in the archetypal motifs of stories such as fairy tales and myths. The reader will feel understood in a new way as she or he connects with the figures in these stories and reads Estes amplifications of the tales. When we have a deeper sense of who we are, we are able to make decisions that fit better for ourselves and then go on to live more authentic lives. Such experiences can relieve depression and anxiety.
For couples, Dr. Coady-Leeper suggests John Gottman's The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. This book is based on years of research and offers couples understanding of what works in marriage and what doesn't. There are concrete suggestions for improving the marriage as well as exercises that can reconnect couples for a more satisfying partnership.
Dr. Karen Baumstark recommends The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz, Circle of Stones, by Judith Duerk, and Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature, Connie Zweig & Jeremiah Adams (Eds.).
Florence Shelso, L.C.S.W. recommends When Food Is Love, by Geneen Roth and Stop Walking on Eggshells by Paul T. Mason and Randi Kreger. She also recommends The Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller. Ms. Shelso adds that if you came from, a "normal" family where people got along and there was no abuse nor alcoholism and still have some feelings that are not okay, this book would be of particular interest to you. Something seems to be off and you may be a little depressed even though your achievements have been recognized. This book explains how a child can be so busy meeting the parents' expectations and needs that there is no development of the person's real self. The child was not seen for who the child was because the parents, albeit "good" parents, did not recognize the "real self" within the child. The child suffers from a kind of neglect living with people who are not tuned in to him or her.
Cheryl Zurfluh Deck, M.S. recommends the following: Eternal Darkness by John O'Donohue, How to Be An Adult in Relationships, David Riccho, and Coming Apart by Daphne R. Kingma.