Reading material for clients

Books on shame, self-criticism, and self-compassion for the public

  • Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself. This book is the original self-help book that helped set off the current wave of interest in self-compassion. Written by Kristin Neff, this a useful book to introduce clients to the idea of self compassion. It's written as a blend of ideas based on Neff's research interwoven with ideas from Buddhism.
  • The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions. This excellent book by Christopher Germer contains a variety of meditative practices based on a largely Buddhist perspective that can help you soften your own self-criticism and be kinder to yourself and others.
  • Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness by Salzberg and Kabat-Zinn. This book teaches how to use the practice of lovingkindness to open hearts and transform lives.
  • Guilt, Shame, and Anxiety: Understanding and Overcoming Negative Emotions is an interesting new book by Peter Breggin, a well known psychiatrist and worth considering for people wanting to learn more about shame.
  • I Thought It Was Just Me (But Isn't) is quickly becoming a classic on shame by well known speaker and qualitative researcher, Brene Brown. An excellent book about shame and how to build resilience in the face of it.
  • The Gifts of Imperfection is another excellent book by Brene Brown which has a big focus on shame and related emotions and what to do about it.
  • Radical Acceptance attends to what the author, Tara Brach, refers to as the “trance of unworthiness,” and how we can learn to make friends with all parts of ourselves. Tara Brach is a clinical psychologist and the founder of Insight Meditation Society of Washington DC.
  • True Refuge is also by Tara Brach, a well known meditation teacher. This book teaches how to “find the place within each person that capable of limitless love.”

Books based on compassion-focused therapy for the public

Blog posts on important concepts for clients

These make great links to send to clients or can be printed out and given to clients for reading material. 

On the idea of self-compassion vs self-esteem:

Why self-compassion does not make you lazy:

The physiology of self-compassion:

The idea of common humanity:

On treating yourself like a friend:

On whether self-criticism or self-compassion "works better":


What are your favorite things to have highly self-critical clients read? Books/handouts/websites? Please sign in and make a contribution by adding your own suggestions! 

P.S. Some of these links are affiliate links. That means will get a small commission if you purchase a book through the link. It doesn't cost you any more, but does help me support the cost of running this website. Thank you if you decide to purchase through one of these links!

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