Reading & Training in Trauma

The following is a list of those books on trauma, with some on trauma-and-journalism, which we’ve found most useful over the past 10 years or so. An eclectic mix, with a few observations to help guide you through, whether you’re a therapist, a journalist, or just you. We hope it’s helpful.

The Master and his Emissary

Ian McGilchrist. Yale University. Press 2009. The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World, written in 2009 after 20 years of research, and dealing with the specialist hemispheric functioning of the brain. After Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, possibly the best book Mark has ever read, he says. 

Attachment-Focused EMDR

Dr Laurel Parnell. Norton. Excellent introduction for already-trained EMDR therapists in using this powerful technique to meet clients at relational and transpersonal depth. 

Transforming Trauma with EMDR

Laurel Parnell.  Norton. Comprehensive and simple, narrative introduction to EMDR.

The Secret Life of War

Peter Beaumont. Harvill Secker. Powerful autobiography of one of Britain’s best war correspondents who came to understand the psychology of what he was doing. Note the appearance of mystery therapist around page 10.

Journalists Under Fire

Anthony Feinstein. Johns Hopkins Press. The definitive and first serious analysis of trauma as experienced by frontline journalists. Very readable.

Why Love Matters, How Affection Shapes a Baby’s Brain

Sue Gerhardt. Routledge. An excellent, readable and comprehensive overview of how the brain works and develops, and the impact of trauma and attachment experience, especially in early childhood.

Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ

Daniel Goleman. Bloomsbury. Easy to digest, and compelling argument about the primacy of emotions.

Trauma and Recovery

Judith Lewis Herman. Pandora. Short, readable, riveting. A history of trauma and hugely influential in the field.

Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma

Peter Levine. North Atlantic Books. Often cited as influential. Can go down well with clients.

The Body Remembers

Babette Rothschild. Norton. One of the best books on the physiology and treatment of trauma with ordinary therapy approaches.

Healing without Freud or Prozac

David Servan-Schreiber. Pan. Background to emotional distress and chapters of practical advice on how to feel better emotionally – ranging from acupuncture to waking up gently, exercise, pet-keeping and, yes, EMDR. Demystifies mental health.

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing: Basic Principles, Protocols and Procedures

Francine Shapiro. The Guildford Press. THE handbook on EMDR by its founder Francine Shapiro. Everything you never even knew you wanted to know about by far the most effective and enduring treatment for trauma.

Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character.

by Jonathan Shay. Touchstone. Highly influential and readable comparison of classical Greek portrayals of trauma and America’s Vietnam experience. From a military psychiatry perspective.

Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming

Jonathan Shay. Scribner. Follow-up to Shay’s ground-breaking historical analysis of psychology and meaning of war-fighting from the soldier’s perspective.

A War of Nerves: Soldiers and Psychiatrists 1914-1994

Ben Shepherd. Jonathan Cape. A substantial and very readable tome looking at how armies and psychiatrists have understood and responded to war trauma since Shell Shock in WWI.

Workplace Trauma

Noreen Tehrani. Brunner-Routledge. Book-length version of Tehrani’s PhD on trauma as experienced and dealt with in particular in the Royal Mail. Very practical.

The Body Keeps the Score 

Bessel Van der Kolk. Penguin. Definitive and highly readable personal account of the latest science and breakthroughs in the understanding and treatment of trauma.

Attachment in Psychotherapy

David Wallin. The Guildford Press. First half particularly sets out brilliantly the neurophysiology of brain development. Also explains why working with attachment (as in, also, transference and counter-t) is so critical to successful therapy. Unputdownable.


International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

United Kingdom Psychological Trauma Society (UKPTS).

National Institute for Clinical Excellence, on PTSD treatment guidelines 

David Baldwin’s Trauma Information Pages

EMDR Institute in the US

European EMDR Association. 

Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma

There are a number of providers now of EMDR training, most of whom you can find online. In Europe, the following trainings qualify trainees for accreditation in due course with the EMDR Europe and EMDR UK & Ireland Associations.

Mind Sync EMDR Training with Caroline van Diest

EMDR Academy  Trainings with Matt Wesson, ex-military and most recent of EMDR Europe accredited trainers.

EMDR Works with Richard Mitchell.

Richman EMDR Training with Sandi Richman.

EMDR Masterclass with Michael Paterson.