Psychology Self Help -
John Bradshaw Book Reviews

psychology self help

Some Favourite Psychology Self Help Books

This page introduces three psychology self help books by John Bradshaw that have been very important to me on my journey to live meaningfully with severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ ME.

The books reviews are for:

The Family

Healing the Shame that Binds

Homecoming - reclaim and champion your inner child

If you go to my bookshops you will see other psychology books that greatly informed my life on this subject as well as on spirituality, abundance and healing.

When I got ill, I started reading books on psychology and spirituality and applied various spiritual and psychology self help techniques to my life.

I really needed insights to help me cope at a time when my life seemed to be falling apart. It would be true to say that I studied the psychology books.

I thought the more I could find peace within myself, the more likely I was to heal.

I still think this is true, even though for myself I went onto become severely disabled.

Reading psychology books gave me insights that allowed me to better accept my relationships and myself as a person.

Without psychological understanding I might not have found the strength and peace of mind to choose life and survive.

I am truly grateful to all the authors who helped me.




Other Articles on www.a-spiritual-journey-of-healing.com Relevant To Psychology Self Help:

The Family Systems Roles We May Need To Give Up In A Time Of Illness

Psychology Self-Help For CFS/ME And Other Chronic Illnesses

7 Stages of Mourning Loss of Health

Bradshaw on The Family – A Revolutionary Approach to
Self Help


Bradshaw on The Family introduces the idea of family systems - the family acts as a system in such a way that we take on different roles and find it difficult to change.

When we are seeking to learn new patterns of behaviour it can be powerful to look at

  • how our family system operated
  • the rules we were taught
  • the family roles we were expected to play.


The 8 Rules of Dysfunctional Families

Amongst much insightful information, John Bradshaw includes a list of the 8 of dysfunctional families: I summarise them below.

The self acceptance exercises (The It's OK to... statements) are my addition.

By reading these simple and powerful self acceptance exercises you can work on releasing these dysfunctional family patterns whilst you read. A free ebook on the link above explains more about these exercises.

RuleSelf Acceptance Exercise
Rule 1 of Dysfunctional Families:

Control – one must be in control of feelings, behaviour and relationships.
It’s OK to want to control your feelings.

It's OK not to be able to control your feelings.
Rule 2 of Dysfunctional Families:

Perfectionism – Be right about everything.
It’s OK to be right about something.

It's OK to be wrong about something.
Rule 3 of Dysfunctional Families:

Blame – When things don't go the way you want them to, blame yourself or someone else.
It’s OK to blame yourself for something.

It's OK to blame someone for something.

It's OK not to look to blame and just rest for a moment - allowing all things to be as they are.
Rule 4 of Dysfunctional Families:

Denial of the five freedoms – Deny feelings, thoughts, perceptions, wants and imaginings.
It’s OK to feel what you feel.

It's OK not to feel what you feel.
Rule 5 of Dysfunctional Families:

No Talk Rule – Don't talk honestly about any of the above. (If you are in enough denial, you may not even be aware of needing to do so.)
It’s OK to tell someone how you feel.

It's OK not to tell someone how you feel.
Rule 6 of Dysfunctional Families:

Myth-Making – Look on the bright side. Make believe that everything is OK. There isn't a problem.
It’s OK to think that everything is OK.

It's OK to think that there is a problem here, and to put effort into focussing on a solution.
Rule 7 of Dysfunctional Families:

Incompletion – Stay upset and confused without resolving the differences.
It’s OK not to take action to resolve this.

It's OK to take action to resolve this.
Rule 8 of Dysfunctional Families:

Unreliability – Don't trust anyone and you will not be disappointed.
It’s OK not to trust anyone.

It's OK to trust someone.

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I think for a lot of people these 8 rules of dysfunctional families are just accepted as the way things are!

As someone running a website about spirituality and personal development, rules 3 and 6 are particularly interesting.

Many times when we think we are taking responsibility for our growth, we are still engaging in a form of blaming ourselves to maintain a sense of control.

I am someone who believes that Nothing is impossible to God and that God can always work through us. Yet, I still need to practices just allowing things to be the way they are without trying to find someone to blame!

Sometimes when we engage in the practice of gratitude, we are continuing in a practice of myth-making. It is an important part of the psycho-spiritual journey to also allow ourselves to see when we are having a hard time.

I highly recommend Bradshaw on The Family.

If you want to learn how to free yourself from past patterns of behaviour and how to be kind to yourself and others, this psychology book has so much to offer.


Click here or on the icon to buy from USA Psychology Self Help Books
Click here to buy Bradshaw from UK click through to see my favourite Psychology Self Help Books


Healing The Shame That Binds You by John Bradshaw – a New York Times Bestseller

Click on the icon or here to buy Healing The Shame from USA Psychology Self Help Books.

Click here to buy from UK Psychology Self Help Books


I came across the idea of family systems roles when reading John Bradshaw books in 1993 – the year I became too ill to work and became pretty much housebound.

To write this article I looked up in Bradshaw's books the dysfunctional family roles that we can take on.


Interestingly, I found that Bradshaw’s books don't neatly list the family roles. I do so here.

Bradshaw does however refer to the family roles and explain the problems they can cause in Healing The Shame, Chapter 2: The Sources of Toxic Shame.

You can click through to find another psychology book that lists the family roles more simply, though I have never felt the need to buy another book on this subject.

I recommend John Bradshaw's psychology self help books very highly, for their use of family systems roles and theory and for many other reasons. His books are accessible, yet share with great generosity his knowledge acquired through over 20 years of working as a counsellor.

Bradshaw also draws on the wisdom acquired on his own journey as a recovering alcoholic.

John Bradshaw’s work includes the subject of toxic shame. He talks about how we learn to feel ashamed as a child and learn patterns of behaviour that allow us to manage the shame.

A key to recovery from these patterns of shame is to learn to give ourselves the love we need. Read about Bradshaw's psychology self help book, Homecoming, below.


At the time I first read John Bradshaw's books, I was focussing more on psychology books than spirituality books.

It was interesting to me though that John Bradshaw had previously trained as a Catholic priest.

His books are not spiritual, but they include a spiritual perspective. Bradshaw is someone who has questioned his religion and had to heal from some religious teachings. This makes his work even more relevant to someone on the journey of allowing themselves to do the same.

Follow the links higher on this page to see or buy my other favourite Psychology Self Help Books from either the USA or UK.


Homecoming - Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child

Homecoming is the third John Bradshaw book I own and recommend if you are on a journey of psychology self help.

This is quite a different book to the other two, and is an easier book to read.

The books above answer the questions:
Why am I reacting like this?
Why are they reacting like this?

This book answers:
How can I learn to love myself?
How can I let go of bitterness about the past?
How can I parent myself?

John Bradshaw's book Homecoming is the book which introduced me to how to do Inner Child work, including instructions on writing a letter to your self.

Inner child work became an important tool in my journey to love myself.

This is a truly wonderful heart-full book that guides you in a practical way through the steps on how to parent yourself.

As the title implies, you can make a home for yourself by being at home with yourself.

Click on the icon or here to buy Homecoming from USA Psychology Self Help Books

To buy Homecoming from UK Psychology Self Help Books



Other Book Recommendations:

My Favorite Health Books USA
My Favourite Health Books UK

These bookstores include the books:
You Can Heal Your Life, Louise Hay
Love My Disease, It’s Keeping Me Healthy, John Harrison

Recommended Books on How To Cope With Chronic Illness USA shop.
How To Cope With Chronic Illness UK shop.

Mind Body Medicine Books

Move from Book Reviews For Psychology Self Help Books to the home page - Practical Spirituality and Healing




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