A divorce can be crushing emotionally and psychologically. We always advise clients to pursue the help of a family therapist with expertise in helping men, women, and families recover from the trauma of a divorce. In addition to professional help, there are many great texts that our divorce lawyers recommend to offer additional perspective for moving through a divorce.
For this divorce reading list, we have highlighted 18 books we recommend checking out. You will find titles concerned with co-parenting and dealing with conflict stemming from other people. Other books are concerned with overcoming negativity that lives in your own mind. There are even books here that you can read to your kids.
We have included Amazon links for your convenience, but most, if not all, of these titles should be available at your local library.
Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life
Henry Cloud and John Townsend
Leadership consultants Cloud and Townsend say the reason that people have dissatisfaction in their lives stems from a lack of boundaries. They assert that learning how to set proper boundaries in your relationships alleviates depression, anxiety, and anger caused by other people. The book empowers readers to identify and set boundaries properly, and experience improvement in your life and relationships. The authors incorporate Christian values and Biblical passages in the reading.
Changes That Heal: Four Practical Steps to a Happier, Healthier You
Cloud’s follow-up to Boundaries, this book is concerned with recovering from the grief and trauma of past relationships and growing into a happier and more fulfilled individual. Readers learn how to connect with others in a deeper sense; how to separate from others in healthy ways; how to understand the good and bad in ourselves and others; and grow in a spiritual and emotional sense. The author incorporates Christian values and Biblical passages in the reading.
Dinosaurs Divorce: A Guide for Changing Families
A picture book meant for reading to young children, Dinosaurs Divorce breaks down common divorce terms in an authentic, easy to digest manner. It provides a genuinely sympathetic text that gives children an idea of what to expect as parents separate. The book speaks to children about drawing boundaries, and presents a straightforward treatment of the changes they will encounter—such as living in two homes, celebrating holidays in different places, and the reasons why parents divorce.
Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure, and Other Everyday Hurts
Psychologist Guy Winch explains the how minor emotional injuries have long-term effects that you feel for years after they occur. In this book, he identifies seven common emotional ailments and delivers tangible, easy-to-use exercises that are scientifically proven to aid in recovery. It’s a highly practical book prescribed by family therapists to deliver first aid for scrapes and bruises to the psyche.
Keeping Kids Out of the Middle: Child-Centered Parenting in the Midst of Conflict, Separation, and Divorce
Child psychologist Benjamin Garber culls decades of research to show that divorce doesn’t have to be traumatic for children. Damage only occurs when parents fail to shield children from the conflict. The author provides here-and-now strategies for co-parenting in a manner that is child-centered without putting the kids in the middle of parents’ conflict. The book provides a great resource for any couple that wishes to reach agreements in how to co-parent.
The Co-parenting Survival Guide: Letting Go of Conflict After a Difficult Divorce
Elizabeth Thayer and Jeffery Zimmerman
Family psychologists Thayer and Zimmerman show you how to avoid strife and conflict when separated spouses or partner co-parent. The authors examine common traps of hostility and inflexibility, and offer specific guidelines for defusing confrontations. They offer techniques and advice to settle your own differences, which are designed to keep parents out of court and save thousands in legal fees.
Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life: The Chump Lady’s Survival Guide
Tracy Schorn writes Chump Lady, a blog dedicated to help anyone who was betrayed as a result of an extramarital affair. Her book is a no-nonsense self-help guide that focuses on dealing with infidelity. Schorn’s narrative champions self-respect and offers much-needed levity when coming to grips with a cheating spouse.
Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation
Daniel J. Siegel
This book explores emotional intelligence and self-awareness in the context of a mindfulness practice. The author emphasizes the science and psychology behind those elements, even though the title suggests something more attuned to self-help in a new age sense. The text is grounded squarely in the proven effects that meditation has on controlling your emotions. Readers will come to understand the human brain, its structure, and how to harness and steer the power within each of us.
No More Mr. Nice Guy
This book is somewhat controversial. It offers a narrative that is admittedly geared toward men who feel taken advantage of in relationships—not just intimate relationships but in day-to-day life. Much of the advice is gender neutral, it’s simply framed in masculinity. Learn to say no. Stop blaming others because victims never succeed. Be clear and direct. Let people help you. Ask for what you want. Don’t procrastinate. And so forth—all good stuff, just from an overarching male perspective.
Psycho Cybernetics: Updated and Expanded
Written in 1960, this book gave birth to what we recognize as effective techniques for managing one’s self. Maltz offers real, tangible, and timeless methods for vesting your will to succeed. He covers subjects like visualization, mental rehearsal, and relaxation, and primes readers to live better and orient themselves to attack their goals. The text is well-regarded for its clear writing style and includes practice exercises you can apply right away.
The Courage to Be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness
Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga
This is a modern Japanese take on the philosophy of Alfred Adler, a 19th century psychologist and contemporary of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. The translation is a plain-spoken journey through self-forgiveness, self-care, and the decluttering of the mind. It is designed to liberate the reader from all that interferes with making themselves the number one priority in their life—as they ought to be—while disregarding the judgments of others.
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
Psychologist Brené Brown taps twelve years of research to flip what the reader understands about vulnerability upside down. Instead of a weakness, vulnerability is framed as the clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection. The concepts here apply to any relationship—intimate, professional, parental, or platonic. The author references Harry Potter, Top Gun, Teddy Roosevelt, and fellow TED Talks favorites in illustrative narratives that drive home her points.
The Happiness Trap: Stop Struggling and Start Living: A Guide to ACT
In western culture, the search for happiness leaves us miserable—such is the assertion of psychologist Russ Harris. He makes a compelling argument by illustrating the madness of “normal” behaviors in which many of us partake. Readers are challenged to change their thinking, and in doing so, reduce stress and anxiety, address painful emotions and thoughts more effectively, and overcome insecurity and self-doubt.
The Ten Worlds: The New Psychology of Happiness
Dr. Ash ElDifrawi PsyD and Dr. Alex Lickerman M.D.
The authors, both clinical psychologists, draw on scientific research and Buddhist philosophy in offering a new understanding of happiness. The reader will, in turn, correct their erroneous views about what it means to be happy, and free themselves from the delusions that accompany its pursuit. These beliefs, they contend, create ten internal life-conditions through which the reader continuously cycles in determining true happiness.
The Truth About Children and Divorce: Dealing with the Emotions So You and Your Children Can Thrive
Robert E. Emery
Psychology Robert Emery does not sugarcoat how tough divorce is on children if parents are not mindful about how they conduct themselves during the conflict. The good news is that children are very resilient. They will learn from positive behaviors that parents demonstrate. Readers will learn how to understand emotions, manage anger, and set boundaries. The text provides practical advice for co-parenting and dealing with new relationships.
Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship
This is for readers who are unsure of whether to stay in a relationship or leave. It explores the so-called state of relationship ambivalence which the author contends is a terrible place to be. The narrative is designed to help readers decide once and for all. Readers are guided through more than 30 scenarios that weigh out the pros and cons of the relationship, and hopefully result in eureka moments that shed light on the correct course of action.
Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Life
Gary John Bishop
Here is a no-frills approach for self-help aimed at helping readers deal with the emotional fallout that accompanies a divorce. The straight-talking narrative affirms that the reader has the power to work through their challenges, and the tools to fight through negative self-talk. The goal is to enable the reader to take responsibility, no matter how defeated and resigned they might feel at the onset of the book.
Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression
James S. Gordon M.D.
Psychiatrist James Gordon provides a drug-free approach to overcoming depression that is founded on eating right, exercising, meditation, and nutritional supplements. He draws on decades of science-backed research in formulating his assertions. The book offers a counterpoint to modern psychiatry that is set on the prescription of anti-depressant medication. Readers are asked to complete assignments and exercises they move through the text.
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Let us know which texts have helped you during times of conflict. What’s on your divorce reading list?