Order Page
Blogs & Links
About Us

        In the hundreds of years before the naming of psychology as a separate discipline, the topic of man's soul was well-covered by religion and philosophy, and, perhaps even more, by literature, for a good story allows us to discuss aspects of temperament, decision, and character, without unhealthy introspection or uneasy self-revelation. 
        Be sure to read Shakespeare, Chesterton, Lewis, Undset, and Tolkein; in theology, be sure to check out von Hildebrand...
        Here are some authors and some books that will build your insight and guard you from confusion if you choose to pursue this discipline.

Medical Professionals, psychologists or psychiatrists

Blakeslee, Sandra & Matthew
The Body Has a Mind of its Own is an exploration of the several ways that the brain maps the world. It is another way that we are more aware that body and mind are knit so that both are always at work when one or the other is.

Frankl, Victor 
Man's Search for Meaning  Frankl was a survivor of several concentration camps, Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, and Dachau. This is his account of that experience and also of the new school of psychiatry he founded, logotherapy. His concept is that man's great "drive" is for meaning in his life. This book is, after the diary of Ann Frank, the second most widely read book about the Holocaust. Very moving, very worthwhile, and so are all his other books.

Goldberg, Elkhonon
The Wisdom Paradox and 
The New Executive Brain
Goldberg’s discussion of the aging brain is challenging, and this book explains how he understands the brain in general and aging in particular. His account of the difference between the left and right hemispheres of the brain is the clearest and most consistent, incorporating the art/language distinction as a special case, but in the context of a dynamic theory.
The difference is not about art vs. logic, but about novel vs. routinized activities: new things always go through the right hemisphere, generally putting art in that realm; routines and therefore language are generally left hemisphere. About language, note that every word is a routine reference to a class of objects, events, or relationships; that is why language is left-hemisphere. “Left is for libraries.” [my line] Notice, however, that poetry has a novel character, right? So would it be right or left? The brain is very complex and full of crossovers and unexpected paths.
Goldberg is advisor to a fitness center for the brain, called SharpBrains, just to give you an idea of his practicality. We now know that there is no age when age itself is the reason that learning weakens. Interesting topics, often neglected or misunderstood.

Lifton, Robert Jay 
The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide I have not read this; everyone who has recommends it -- with a shudder.

Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A study of brainwashing in China Brainwashing is the same everywhere. My sister sent this to me the first time I was floundering around in an encounter-style group that was way beyond my depth. Understanding brainwashing seems to me to be a fundamental requirement for understanding our present cultural challenges.

McCall, Kenneth  Psychiatrist of Eucharistic healing
Healing the Family Tree  
Healing the Haunted    Like Frankl, Dr. McCall is also a prison camp survivor, from the Japanese camps in China. His experiences in China and in that camp led him to study psychiatry and learn the power of the Eucharist.

Andrew Newberg & Robert Waldman
How God Changes Your Brain How meditation changes your brain, even if you don't believe in God, as the authors may not. But their volume will encourage you to be certain that prayer (meditative prayer, not only vocal or liturgical) is the right approach to -- basically everything.

Peck, Scott 
The People of the Lie   Dr. Peck explains how he came to the conclusion that there is a psychological type, "the people of the lie" that has not been described before. Basically, it’s a kind of mortal sinner, but the description is interesting as being clear and based on psychiatric observation. These people exist and we know them in public life, maybe even in private life. It helps to have a name and a description.

Rosenberg, Marshall 
Speak Peace in a World of Conflict: What You Say Next Will Change Your World
​Rosenberg grew up Jewish in a non-Jewish neighborhood and wondered all his childhood why people hurt one another. He dedicated his life to working out ways to help people get together and learn to talk instead of hurt each other. At the popular level, he is the top teacher of mediation. Interesting and helpful material.

Sacks, Oliver  
A Leg to Stand On
A wonderful observer and an intriguing writer, Oliver Sacks gives life to neurology by telling the stories of his patients, starting with himself on a mountain trip, (A Leg to Stand On) but then giving dozens of accounts of the human person dealing with his troubled neurology. The psychological dimension is always tucked in, only because men dealing with their own brains are dealing with the human desire to be a knower.
Always interesting.

Servan-Schreiber, David 
The Instinct to Heal: Curing Depression, Anxiety and Stress Without Drugs or Talk Therapy 
In this simple volume, Dr. Servan Schreiber lays out seven therapies that he believes should be better known. One is a simple technique called BATHE for getting quickly to the heart of the matter and offering a helpful word. Useful for everyone; you don't have to be a psychiatrist for this one.

Siegel, Dan 
​Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation is Dr. Siegel's thoughtful explanation of the relationship between brain, mind, and relationships. After laying out his perspective, Dr. Siegel illustrates it with eight fascinating stories from his practice. He is not a Catholic; when he gets to dealing with our mortality, you see some of that. But he is not anti-Catholic, and his purity of heart (that's the only way I can express it) is a wise and beautiful gift.

Stern, Karl  Psychiatrist, convert from Judaism to Catholicism 
The Flight from Woman explains how western culture since Descartes is engaged in a flight from the feminine. An interesting feature of his book is his reflection on the difficulties that several seminal philosophers had on their mothers. The mother is the source of our sense of matter (not an accidental cognate) and their unease with matter may have some relationship with that foundation.

Go to top 

Sullivan, Harry Stack 
This psychiatrist was highly recommended to me by a friend of Bob Kvarnes, who was, in turn, one of his students and admirers. An Irish American, he left his Catholic faith but in some sense returned to the Church towards the end of his life, so that he had a Catholic funeral, which most of his professional associates did not attend. What you see in his work is a Catholic consciousness.
He is responsible for the interpersonal school of psychiatry, an even more substantial challenge to Freudianism than Jung's or Adler's. He genuinely saw the personal relationships of an individual as not merely formative, but actually constitutive. Relationships are essential; they cannot be talked around. Part of his power as a therapist was his actual respect for the persons of his clients. He was in relation.
Sullivan's influence was much greater than his literary output. For one thing, he was able to work well with schizophrenics, whom Freud found impenetrable. Helen Swick Perry has a good biography: Psychiatrist of America: The Life of Harry Stack Sullivan. And American he was, a child of immigrants in a nation of immigrants suffering from poverty, lack of education, and a sense of displacement which Freud never encountered. It is a different perspective on the human condition.

Szasz, Thomas 
The Myth of Mental Illness: Foundations of a Theory of Personal Conduct
People in psychiatry don't like this kind of title, but Szasz makes a good case that psychiatry has always had a political side. Growing up with the statue if Semmelweis, the medical doctor who died in an insane asylum where he was sent for telling doctors to wash their hands, he had a certain perspective on how things work. We see it today in the movement to call "climate denial" a form of madness. 

Vitz, Paul  Convert to Catholicism; student of Karl Stern 
Vitz was not aware of Stern's conversion until he was himself moving into the Church. 
Faith of the Fatherless (2013)
In his latest book, Paul Vitz' takes a look at the famous unbelievers of the last few hundred years and notices how many of them had evil, weak, or absent fathers. It is hard to perceive God as a gracious father in the absence of a human gracious father. Then he looks at a few famous theists. Pascal, particularly, had a wonderful father. 
Psychology as Religion is an interesting and helpful book about the manner in which our culture is moving towards treating professional psychologists as the priesthood of a new religion. Vitz has written many other articles, particularly some insightful ones about Freud and Jesus.

 Psychology Links
History Page

Medical Professionals, but not psychologists or psychiatrists

Braverman, Eric 
The Edge Effect is one of Braverman's several books, all of which seem to say about the same thing: that a Brain Electrical Activity Map, by showing areas of maximum and minimum activity, can show which of your neurotransmitters is most active and this in turn underlies many temperamental and psychological characteristics. Very interesting. Different kinds of herbs, exercise, diet, and drugs are helpful. The interesting thing about the drugs is that various psychological problems, depression for example, may result from different constellations of neurotransmitter imbalance. So knowing which one is off changes the prescription, if not the diagnosis.

Hannaford, Carla
Smart Moves Dr. Hannaford describes her experiences to help us recognize and act upon the relationship between body and learning.

Maria Montessori     
​The Discovery of the Child
    Maria Montessori was the first woman to obtain a medical degree in Italy. Over time, she became involved in teaching children who were neglected and deemed retarded. When she was able to bring them to compete with normal children on state tests, she was much lauded, but her response was: what is wrong with the way normal children are taught?
    Turning her attention to normal children, this observant woman changed the way we see children and built up an entire system of education. Although her work has spread throughout the world, it is not always fully implemented, for she understood the importance of the formation of the teacher. Her "method" is not just about techniques and tools, but about an approach to children and to their direction.
    Her thinking is essential to the renewal of education as a work of culture.
​           ____________ 

Helpful Non-Medical Authors in a Psychological Vein

Carr, Nicholas
The Shallows: How the Internet is Changing our Brains     Because the brain constantly re-sculpts itself in response to our use of its many possibilities, the use of the internet changes it. In particular, the tendency to slip from one topic to another (partly because of in-text links) causes us to change topics too often for long-term memories to be built. Long term memory is nothing more than building connections between new and old information; the more connections, the stronger the memory. 

Lewis, C.S. 
The Four Loves    Affection, Friendship, Eros, and Agape. Learn to think about love in a more disciplined and careful way.
Til We Have Faces    This is a novel based on the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche, carrying themes of divine and human love, of faith and betrayal, and the Christian perspective on all these loves.
The Abolition of Man     Here, C.S. Lewis lays the foundation for moral philosophy, showing how the inclination to treat all thought outside the physical sciences as mere opinion is foolish and inconsistent.

Fagin, Gary 
The Artist’s Complete Guide to Facial Expressions   This is for artists, a demanding study of facial expressions. Of course there are internet discussions of facial expression, and they are more abbreviated. The subject is useful here because psychologists tend to deny that people can know, without research, what people are feeling. This will help you keep it straight: there are lots of clues that people used correctly before the advent of "scientific research."

Gaskin, Ina May 
 Spiritual Midwifery  The midwife of the century, Ina May will help you reflect on childbirth as a personal, not merely a medical, event. This will stretch your concept of what is possible.

John Paul II
Love and Responsibility
Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body     Before his papacy, and under the name Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II wrote about the nature and requirements of human sexuality and the love that is responsive to the person. Later, he gave a series of talks that were collected and translated into other books. When I read the first book, I said to myself, "This is the first thing I have ever read that talks about sexuality the way I think of it.

Lencioni, Patrick 
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team     This is a very simple (annoyingly simple to some people) presentation of Lencioni's work on team building. Don't underestimate this; he's very insightful and very successful. And he's Catholic, so there's a note of service and humility that is sometime missing from the professional and business world.

Lombardo, Nicholas 
The Logic of Desire  is Lombardo's explanation of St. Thomas Aquinas' thinking about the passions of the soul. I first found him on YouTube, where he was giving an address to Lumen Christi on this topic, and he helped me to understand the centrality of the passions to Thomas' thinking.  

Morrison, Dave 
Beyond Gay    A man who has abandoned the gay scene and chosen to live a celibate life reflects on the needs and sufferings of his brothers, our brothers. This will help you to be merciful and at the same time, faithful.

Payne, LeeAnn 
 The Broken Image   The author has had a long-term healing ministry to people with various kinds of sexual confusion. Her ministry is centered on Jesus and on healing, not on anything merely behavioral, critical, or otherwise lacking in mercy.

Poltawska, Wanda 
And I am Afraid of my Dreams  
   Friend and collaborator of Karol Wojtyla, Wanda was also the survivor of a prison camp, Ravensbrück. This is that story, and what a magnificent person we meet! All her time in that terrible camp, she was comforted by memories of home that came in her dreams. When she escaped and came home, her dreams of Ravensbrück were so terrible she was afraid to sleep. 
    This memoir set her free.

Roberts, Monty
The Man Who Listens to Horses  Horses, people... There is a lot to learn from a man who communicates with animals. First of all, not to underestimate animal intelligence, and then not to underestimate the nature and dimensions of our own instinctive response. 

Vanauken, Sheldon
A Severe Mercy    This very moving personal story is simultaneously a discussion of love, in particular, love between a man and woman, and about facing death as well.

Psychology  On Page Links
Medical - Not PsychologistsHelpful Thinkers - Not Medical

Hedge School
Hedge School
View shopping cart