books2.gif (5356 bytes)

on wounds, parts work,
and recovery

From Peter K. Gerlach, MSW
Member NSRC Experts Council

colorbar.gif (1095 bytes)

    The Web address of this article is

Books On Psychological Wounds and Recovery  (Lesson 1)

       Some of these books refer specifically to people from chemically-dependent families. Most of what they say applies equally to adults raised in any low-nurturance homes and schools where chemicals weren't misused. In these books, the term "Adult Child" (of family dysfunction) means the same as Grown Wounded Child in this site.

      There are many other good books - these are representative. For many helpful resourcees about internhal-family systems and parts work, see the bookstore tn the nonprofit IFS web site at

      Note - linthe ks below will take you directly to the book at Some titles are out of print, and Amazon,,, and other online booksellers can often help you mail-order used copies. Titles in bold below are specially recommended.

If you're a media professional, please read this.

The Adult Children of Divorce Workbook - a Compassionate Program for Healing from Your Parents' Divorce, by Mary Hirschfeld, J.D., Ph.D.; Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc., Los Angeles, CA; 1992. The title speaks for itself. There are other helpful titles for parents of divorcing children.

Adult Children Of Abusive ParentsA Healing Program for Those Who Have Been Physically, Sexually, or Emotionally Abused, by Steven Farmer, M.A.; Ballentine Books, New York, NY; 1990. This is helpful for adults from any kind of low-nurturance childhood.

The Adult Children of Alcoholics Syndrome - From Discovery to Recovery, by Wayne Kritsberg; Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, FL; 1988

Adult Children - Secrets of Dysfunctional Families, by John and Linda Friel; Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, FL; 1988

The Artist’s Way - A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, by Julia Cameron, with Mark Bryan; G. P. Putnam’s Son’s, New York, NY; 1992. Though this empowering work/book focuses on increasing personal creativity, it’s equally about personal recovery and wholeness.

Bradshaw on: The Family - a Revolutionary Way of Self-discovery, by John Bradshaw; Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, FL; 1996. Update of a classic, impassioned description of childhood deprivations and consequences, by a recovering minister, father, seasoned therapist, and educator.

Broken Open - How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow, by Elizabeth Lesser, Villard Books, division of Random House, New York, NY; 2004. The authoress uses others' stories and her own to validate using pain and three tools to "break open" and discover self-actualization and a deeper aware-ness of Self and Life. 

Children of Trauma - rediscovering your discarded self; by Jane Middleton-Moz; Health Communications, Inc.; Deerfield Beach, FL; 1989. Particularly touching and evocative.

Choicemaking - for codependents, Adult Children, and Spirituality Seekers, by Sharon Wegscheider-cruse; Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, FL.; 1985

The Different Drum - Community Making and Peace, by M. Scott Peck; 1998 (reprint); Touchstone books, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY. This is an inspiring and practical book for people who choose to build  inner family harmony. Peck wrote Road Less Traveled, and others.

Discover Your Subpersonalities - Our Inner World, and the People in it, by John Rowan; Routledge, London, UK; 1993. A readable introduction to, and a way of meeting, the amazing inner family that comprises "you."

The Drama of the Gifted Child - The Search for the True Self (originally "Prisoners of Childhood"), by Alice Miller; Basic Books, New York, NY; rev. 1997 This is a brief, powerful, lay-friendly commentary on child-hood wounds and "Adult Children" by an insightful and often-quoted Swiss psychotherapist. Unusually clear and evocative.

Embracing Your Inner Critic - Turning Self Criticism Into A Creative Asset, by Hal Stone, Ph.D., and Sidra Winkleman-Stone, Ph.D.; Harper, San Francisco, 1993. A truly practical book on how to redirect the voice in your head that keeps putting you down. See also the Stone's Web site for related resources.

Grandchildren of Alcoholics - Another Generation of Co-dependency; by Ann W. Smith; Health Communications Inc., Deerfield Beach, FL; 1988. I highly recommend this for raising your awareness of how wounds from low-nurturance childhoods can "skip" generations. 

Guide to Recovery - a Book for Adult Children of Alcoholics, by Julie D. Bowden and Herbert L. Gravitz;   Learning Publications, Inc.; Holmes Beach, FL; 1985. Particularly brief, clear, and straightforward. Useful for all health-seekers.

Healing the Child Within - Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families, by Charles Whitfield, M.D.; Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, FL; 1987. Helpful - though the author stops short of recognizing our chaotic inner family  of subselves, which usually includes several inner children.

Healing the Family Within, by Robert Subby, M.A.; Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, FL, 1990. Subby writes clearly about wound-recovery from personal and professional experience. The "family within" applies the parent - adult - child concept in "I'm OK - You're OK" (below). This is a readable, limited introduction to the idea of personality subselves and how they relate to addiction and recovery.  

Healing the Shame That Binds You, by John Bradshaw; Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, FL; 1988. A helpful summary of his earlier book "The Family," (above) plus very useful ideas and exercises for working toward converting personal shame to healthy Self acceptance and love. I believe excessive shame  is the most impactful result of significant false-self dominance.

How to Love Yourself When You Don’t Know How - Healing All  Your Inner Children, by Jacqui Bishop, M.S., and Mary Grunte, R.N.; A P.U.L.S.E. Book, published by Station Hill Press, Inc., Barrytown, NY; 1992. One of the few books I've found (so far) that acknowledges the reality of (part of) our inner family of subselves.

The Inner Game of Tennis; by  W. Timothy Gallwey; Random House, New York, NY; revised 1997; A clear, interesting well-received lay book applying Zen principles to tennis. Gallwey describes the often conflictual interplay between "Self 1 - the teller" (this site: the Inner Critic ) and "Self two: the Do-er" (this site: the true Self.

I'm OK You're OK - a practical guide to transactional analysis, Harper and Rowe, New York; 1967; by Dr Thomas Harris, M.D. This was one of the best-received books proposing that we have personality parts by a respected psychiatrist. He builds on the work of Erik Berne to propose that many personal and social problems can be solved by working with the inner Parent, Adult, and Child (singular). 

Inner Time - The Science of Body Clocks and What Makes us Tick, by Carol Orlock; Carol Publishing Group, New York, NY; 1993. A brief, clear, interesting introduction to the new science of biochronology. This will add to your appreciation of what complex human artworks we are, and how inextricably linked our bodies and personalities are to the cosmic forces in and around us.

Introduction to the Internal Family Systems Model; by Richard C. Schwartz, PhD, LMFT; 2001; Trailhead Publications, Oak Park, IL, 60302. This reader-friendly book is by the veteran clinical psychologist and teacher who has introduced the idea of an inner-family of personality subselves, based on many other clinical researchers and his own professional experience for more than two decades. I highly recommend this book for lay readers and clinicians, and Schwartz's several other related publications. See this related Web site for more perspective, options, and materials.

It Will Never Happen to Me, by Claudia Black, MSW; M.A.C. Printing and Publications Division, Denver, CO; 1991(reprint). A brief, clear, classic introduction to the Adult-Child (i.e. " GWC") syndrome, by an insightful mental-health professional in personal recovery. Related recovery workbook available.

Legacy of the Heart - the Spiritual Advantages of a Painful Childhood, by Wayne Muller; A Simon & Schuster Fireside Book, New York, NY; 1992. A marvelously positive, different, (non-preachy) way of looking at - and healing from - the traumas of a deprivational childhood, by a veteran therapist and Christian and Buddhist priest.

Lifebalance - How to Simplify and Bring Harmony to Your Everyday Life, by Linda and Richard Eyre; A Simon & Schuster Fireside Book, New York, NY; 1997. A clear, realistic look at putting time and energy where it most matters. This can be specially helpful for chaotic inner families (personalities), and complex, busy stepfamilies!

The Man Who Planted Trees; an audio tape, CD, or book by French author Jean Giono. This is a beautifully simple, moving story of a man who found serenity and purpose to his life in an unusual way. A marvelous parable for anyone interested in what a true Self can do! I recommend the audio tape as a gift .for yourself and others you value.

The Power of Now, by Eckart Tolle - A #1 New York Times bestseller, the book has helped countless people around the globe awaken to the spiritual dimension in their lives, find inner peace, increased joy and more harmonious relationships. Tolle's "pain body" is similar to what this Web site calls a "false self."

Original Kin - the Search for Connection Among Adult Brothers and Sisters, by Marian Sandmaier; a Dutton Book, Penguin Books USA, Inc., New York, NY; 1994. An absorbing, well-researched, clear look at the unexpectedly powerful influences of adult sibling relationships. May be hard to find.

Recreating Your Self - Help for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families, by therapist Nancy Napier; W. W. Norton, & Co., New York, NY; 1990. The only book I've seen to suggest we have a future self to consult with. Many practical recovery exercises - Worth searching for.

Same House, Different Homes - Why Adult Children of Alcoholics Are Not All the Same; by Robert J. Ackerman, Ph.D.; Health Communications, Inc.; Pompano Beach, FL; 1987. A readable, 51-page overview of eight factors that shape why some kids are more traumatized than others in the same low-nurturance family. Unfortunately, out of print; these ideas may be summarized in another of Ackerman's several books.

The Search for the Real Self - Unmasking the Personality Disorders of Our Age; by Dr. James F. Masterson. The Free Press, New York, NY; paperback, 1988. A Freudian psychoanalyst, Masterson describes with laser clarity where the false self comes from, and some life-long repercussions. He illustrates "inflated" and "deflated" false selves, and one way of re-empowering the real self to face and release wounds from an adult's first three years of life. Written before "multiplicity" became accepted.

Self Therapy - A Step-By-Step Guide to Creating Wholeness and Healing Your Inner Child Using IFS, A New, Cutting-Edge Psychotherapy (2nd ed. Jan. 2012) . by Jay Early, PhD.

Self-Esteem: a Family Affair, by Jean Illsley Clarke (Paperback, October 1998). Ms. Clarke's work is highly regarded by many veteran family-health professionals.

Secret Survivors - Uncovering Incest and Its Aftereffects in Women; by E. Sue Blume. Ballentine Books (New York, NY) paperback, 1991. A clear, factual introduction to assessing and starting recovery from the massive trauma of childhood sexual abuse. Well-known checklist of symptoms.

The Other Side of the Family - a Book for Recovery From Abuse, Incest, and Neglect, Ellen Ratner, Ed. M., editor; Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, FL; 1990. The editor is a professional with 16 years in the recovery field when this was published.

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success - the Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams, by Deepak Chopra; Amber-Allen Publishing / New World Library, San Rafael, CA.; (1994). A 115-page hardcover by a widely-respected leader in personal recovery and Self-actualization. See also his newer Seven Laws for Parents.

The Six Pillars of Self Esteem, by Dr. Nathaniel Branden (6/95 paperback). A classic. Also available on audio tape.

Subpersonalities - The People Inside Us, by John Rowan; Rutledge, London and New York, 1990. This is a deep book for those seriously interested in the origin and mechanics of modular personalities.  It documents that over two dozen respected clinicians, including Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, over 100 years, have written about what this site calls your inner family. Ends with an 11-page bibliography.

Toxic Parents - Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life; by Dr. Susan Forward, with Craig Buck; Bantam Books, New York, NY; 1989. A New York Times best seller.

The Ultimate Gift, by Jim Stoval; Executive Books, Mechanicsburg, PA; 1999. This simple, intriguing story about the bequest of a billionaire to his grand-nephew is clear and inspiring - partly because the author is blind, and has achieved more with his life than many sighted people.being revised, re-available by Spring, 2003

Who's Really  Running Your Life? - free your Self  from custody, and guard your kids; (4th edition) by Peter Gerlach, MSW; Xlibris Corp., Philadelphia, PA; 2000. This guidebook combines and integrates most of the 40+ Lesson-1 Web pages in this site, which focuses on understanding and healing false-self wounds.  

little i provides most of these titles by mail-order, and often has helpful reviews online. Also see or

Share/Bookmark   site intro / prior page 


premises  /  site search  /  definitions  /  videos  /  chat contact