Suggested Reading

A suggested reading list compiled by McLean Hospital’s clinical staff, based on diagnosis.

Dissociative Identity Disorder

A Fractured Mind: My Life with Multiple Personality Disorder by Robert Oxnam
An autobiography by the highly regarded international scholar and former President of the Asia Society, Dr. Robert Oxnam, this book deals with his journey through diagnosis and treatment of dissociative identity disorder (DID). Oxnam eloquently discusses the issues he has faced with regard to stigma as it relates not only to DID but also as it relates to the legacy of secrecy surrounding childhood abuse. It is singularly the most well written books on mental illness I’ve ever read as written from a trauma survivor’s perspective.


The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness by Elyn R. Saks
The autobiography by Elyn Saks, an associate dean and professor of Law at the University of Southern California who lives with schizophrenia, this book provides an incredibly written glimpse into the mind of someone suffering from severe psychosis.

Bipolar Disorder

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison
A memoir by clinical psychologist and professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (and a Distinguished Lecturer at Harvard in 2002), Kay Redfield Jamison, is a renowned expert on bipolar disorder and is herself a patient with bipolar disorder. Her book details her struggles with mania and depression. She has written extensively on the relationship between bipolar disorder and creativity.

Mood Disorder

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Sylvia Plath was an American writer who tragically ended her life at the age of 30. Suffering from a mood disorder, The Bell Jar chronicles the many aspects of her life.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
This memoir, written by Cambridge, Massachusetts resident Susanna Kaysen, is a reflection of her experiences with mental illness. The book chronicles her time as a patient at McLean Hospital where she was admitted following a suicide attempt and was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Girl, Interrupted was also made into a film of the same name starring Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

The Imp of the Mind: Exploring the Silent Epidemic of Obsessive Bad Thoughts by Dr. Lee Baer
In the first book to fully examine obsessive bad thoughts, Dr. Lee Baer combines the latest research with his own extensive experience in treating this widespread syndrome. Drawing on information ranging from new advances in brain technology to pervasive social taboos, Dr. Baer explores the root causes of bad thoughts, why they can spiral out of control, and how to recognize the crucial difference between harmless and dangerous bad thoughts.

Getting Control by Dr. Lee Baer
The first comprehensive guide to treating obsessive compulsive disorder based on clinically proven behavioral therapy techniques, Dr. Lee Baer’s Getting Control has been providing OCD sufferers with information and relief for more than twenty years. OCD sufferers and their loved ones will find everything they need to assess their symptoms, set realistic goals, and create specific therapeutic exercises for managing this disorder.

Freedom From OCD by Dr. Jonathan Grayson
Nearly six million Americans suffer from the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder, which can manifest itself in many ways: paralyzing fear of contamination; unmanageable “checking” rituals; excessive concern with order, symmetry, and counting; and others. Demystifying the process of OCD assessment and treatment, this indispensable book helps sufferers make sense of their own compulsions through frank, unflinching self-evaluation, and provides not only the knowledge of how to change—but the courage to do it.

Understanding OCD by Leslie Shapiro, LICSW
This is an eye-opening study of one of the most common psychiatric ailments diagnosed today—obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Written by Leslie J. Shapiro, a renowned therapist at one of the most well known OCD facilities in the world, this reference shares effective treatment strategies and clinical factors for helping therapists, mental health professionals, psychology students, clergy, and others deal with patients coping with this illness. The author offers case examples from her 15 years of residential work with patients, demonstrating how sufferers—even the most treatment resistant—can get control of the condition.

When a Family Member Has OCD by Jonathan Hershfield, MFT
When someone has obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), it can affect the entire family. This book is an essential guide to help family members cope with their loved one’s compulsive behaviors, obsessions, and constant need for reassurance.


You and Your Anxious Child: Free Your Child from Fears and Worries and Create a Joyful Family Life by Anne Marie Albano
This book differentiates among separation anxiety, generalized anxiety, and social phobia, and guides parents on when and how to seek intervention. With moving case studies, such as that of seven-year-old Timmy, who became so frantic to find his parents that he accidentally pushed his toddler brother down a flight of stairs, this book describes the nightmare that families can be living, and helps them understand that they are not alone. Every step of the way, Albano illustrates effective therapies to manage anxiety issues in children while addressing the emotional needs of parents, too.

Helping Your Anxious Child: A Step-by-Step Guide for Parents by Ronald Rapee et al.
Most children are afraid of the dark. Some fear monsters under the bed. But at least 10% of children have excessive fears and worries—phobias, separation anxiety, panic attacks, social anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder—that can hold them back and keep them from fully enjoying childhood. If your child suffers from any of these forms of anxiety, the program in this book offers practical, scientifically proven tools that can help. Now in its second edition, Helping Your Anxious Child has been expanded and updated to include the latest research and techniques for managing child anxiety. The book offers proven effective skills based in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to aid you in helping your child overcome intense fears and worries. You’ll also find out how to relieve your child’s anxious feelings while parenting with compassion.