What books do you recommend for learning about paruresis and recovery?
is a partial list of books that people have found helpful in recovering from
paruresis. As for any kind of book,
reading is a form of self-help and this kind of work should be undertaken with
consultation from other sources such as your doctor or a treatment professional
because each person’s case may be different. Some of these materials can be purchased directly from IPA online at the IPA
Store page. Your local library
may have them available as well. Steve
Soifer’s book is the only book that specifically covers paruresis. The other books deal with possible underlying mechanisms that may
contribute to paruresis. Not every
person will find relevant help in every book. Because of the current state of understanding about paruresis, those
seeking treatment through self-help reading will need to do personal research
and find avenues that work for your individual situation. Mark Twain made a funny quote that applies: "Be careful about
reading health books. You may die of a misprint." What this illustrates is
that we all need to use our common sense about advice from books. Everyone's
recovery process is different, while similarities are also involved. No one who
writes a book is right all the time, or for all people.
Soifer, Steven M.S.W. Ph.D., George D. Zgourides, Psy.D.,
Joseph Himle, M.S.W., Ph.D., Nancy L. Pickering. Shy Bladder Syndrome.
Oakland, California: New
Harbinger Publications, 2001. ISBN:
1572242272. This is the
groundbreaking book that first brought paruresis and its treatment to the
Olmert, Carol. Bathrooms Make Me Nervous: A Guidebook for Women with Urination Anxiety (Shy Bladder). Walnut Creek, California: CJOB Publications, 2008. ISBN: 9780615240244
This book is the first to explore shy bladder syndrome from a woman's point of view. Written by a recovered shy bladder sufferer, it offers strategies for coping as well as detailed concrete exercises for full recovery.
Dr. Howard Liebgold maintains a site for his
"Phobease" materials at:
or from the IPA Store.
His materials cost $75-125 and you get a book along with
cassettes or videotapes. His
materials take a humorous and startlingly clear look at the psychology and
physiology of fear and explain complicated ideas in simple, powerful ways. Many people have reported excellent results from Dr. Liebgold’s course.
Markway, Barbara G., Alec Pollard, Cheryl N. Carmin, Teresa
Flynn, and C. Alec Pollard. Dying of Embarrassment. Oakland, California:
Harbinger Publications, 1992. ISBN:
1879237237. Recommended by Dr. Liebgold in his “Phobease” course,
this book covers social phobia and ways to recover.
Beattie, Melody. Codependent No More.
New York: HarperCollins,
Beattie, Melody. Beyond
Codependency. New York: HarperCollins, 1989. ISBN: 0894865838. Both of
Beattie’s books have very useful information on the recovery movement’s
perspective of personal growth and change. There are some excellent chapters on dealing with relapse, understanding
the contributions of family history and upbringing to our situation, identifying
unhealthy thinking and replacing it with healthy thinking, and breaking through
Ratey, John J. and Catherine Johnson. Shadow Syndromes: The Mild Forms of Major Mental Disorders That
Sabotage Us. New York: Bantam Books, 1998. ISBN: 0553379593. This book takes the view that many problems such as depression, anger,
anxiety, inability to complete tasks, and others are mild forms of more serious
mental disorders that can affect the very course of our lives. The authors describe methods for recognizing and learning to deal with
each individual’s unique biological makeup.
Twerski, Abraham M.D. Addictive Thinking. Center
City, Minnesota: Hazelden
Publishing, 1997. ISBN: 1-56838-138-7. This
is a short book that is very easy to understand and is packed with good
information. It can help with
learning to think rationally, understand the tricks that anxiety can play, how
to recognize the tricks, and cope with them in healthy ways.
While paruresis is different from a chemical dependency, it has some
similarities to addictive behavior that make this book a useful reference.
Nakken, Craig M.S.W., L.I.C.S.W., L.M.F.T. Addictive Personality:
Understanding the Addictive Process and Compulsive Behavior. Center City, Minnesota: Hazelden
Publishing, 1996. ISBN: 1568381298. This book explains many
personality characteristics that contribute to addictive forms of
behavior. Packed with valuable insights that can help the reader apply
successful techniques from the recovery movement to paruresis
Bemis, Judith and Amr Barrada. Embracing the Fear.
Center City, Minnesota: Hazelden
Publishing, 1994. ISBN:
0-89486-971-X. This book is highly consistent with Twerski and others who
view reducing anxiety through avoidant behavior as a form of dependency.
Weekes, Claire M.B., D.Sc., M.R.A.C.P.
Peace from Nervous Suffering. New York:
Penguin Books, 1972. ISBN:
Weekes, Claire M.B., D.Sc., M.R.A.C.P. Hope and Help for Your Nerves. New York:
Signet, 1990. ISBN: 0-451-16722-8. Weekes’ books deal with the trauma of anxiety and how it
affects our daily living. They are not paruresis recovery books. However, if
your paruresis has contributed to depression, panic attacks, chronic pain,
and/or impacted other parts of your life to the point where your mood is not
what you want it to be, these can be helpful references.
Schwartz, Jeffrey M. M.D. Brain Lock.
New York: ReganBooks, 1996.
This book covers Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and can be helpful
in breaking down some of the thinking patterns we focus on that distract us from
McCullough, Christopher Ph.D. Free 2 P:
A Self-Help Guide for Men with Paruresis. Self-published work, 2000. Dr. Christopher McCullough is an IPA Advisory Board member.
His book is available at the IPA
Store. While much of the
book is written for men, his concept of primary and secondary paruresis does
apply equally to women. Primary paruresis is the inability to urinate around
others, secondary paruresis is the importance and meaning we assign to our
Aron, Elaine Ph.D. The Highly Sensitive Person.
New York: Random House,
1997. ISBN 0-553 06218-2. This book
identifies and defines a new personality type, the highly sensitive person --
and gives readers many tips on how to overcome its limitations and maximize its
Ellis, Albert Ph.D. A Guide To Rational Living. North Hollywood, California:
Book Company, 1976. ISBN:
0879800429. It’s the original self-help instruction book in cognitive
behavior therapy technique. Other
books from the same author are also recommended.
Ellis, Albert Ph.D. Overcoming Destructive Beliefs,
Feelings, and Behaviors: New Directions for Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy.
Amherst, New York: Prometheus
Books, 2001. ISBN: 1573928798
Bourne, Edmund J. Ph.D. Beyond Anxiety and Phobia: A
Step-By-Step Guide to Lifetime Recovery.
Oakland, California: New
Harbinger Publications, 2001. ISBN:
1572242299. Takes the position that
true recovery from anxiety requires more than a short-term intervention.
Explores the meaning of anxiety symptoms and long-term healing through
alternative modalities. Discusses how certain personality issues such as
perfectionism can sabotage the healing process.
Other books from the same author are also recommended.