About the Exploration Time Book List

Why did I create this list?

I often get requests for recommendations for books, and I find myself getting stuck. So many books are hard to navigate for many people. They may be rooted in dominant paradigm ideas: heteronormative, white, colonial, classist, sizeist, ableist, racist, neurotypical, monogamous, religious. They might have pathologizing, violent, provocative, prescriptive, or just misaligned-to-the-reader titles and examples. Maybe they have a listicle, do X things and solve all your problems approach to huge life experiences, or they set unattainable expectations for the book or the reader. Sifting through barriers and expectations can make reflection, self-discovery, and adaptation loaded, tiring, and overwhelming, even if the text has some really good ideas.

I wanted to recommend books without needing to explain why I included them and how they didn’t fit, so I set out to create a list of books that could be referenced without a huge list of caveats. This list includes authors from diverse backgrounds: gender expansive people, people of color, people from other marginalized groups, and all types of authors and styles and theories are welcome here. The book titles and content reflect a whole person, with little or no shocking imagery, overly comical approaches to real mental health experiences, or minimization of different ideas and experiences.

This list aims to be free of books written by people who have a known or publicized history of abuse or assault.

Who is the list for?

The list is for people who want to connect to "therapy" books and read about themselves and their communities with less caveats or re-frames or code switching. It is for therapists looking for books to recommend or read. There is a “for therapists” section at the end for books focused on conducting therapy.

Are these books going to meet every need? NO!

No book can speak to every story, need, and experience. But they CAN include a range of people and acknowledges a variety of experiences so more readers feel included.

How does the list work?

It is organized alphabetically, grouped by subject as much as is possible. Each book may not have been read in full, but is reviewed for content and approach.

If your favorite book isn’t listed here, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t fit. This list remains a list in progress and titles will be added and modified regularly. This list is not exhaustive and there are a lot of great works that haven’t made it here yet.

Have a book to recommend? Have some content to dialogue about? Send me an email and let’s discuss.


An abbreviated title and author for all new books added to the list to track what is new.

  • This list was last updated on: 7/27/2020

Added books to several sections

Gender: A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni and Beyond the Gender Binary by Alok Vaid-Menon

Relationships: Love's Promises by Martha M. Ertman

Trauma:The Post-Traumatic Gowth Guidebook by Arielle Schwartz

  • This list was last updated on: 6/22/2020

Added sexual identities section

  • This list was updated on: 6/10/2020

Added books to community section:

Blindspot by Mahzarin R. Banaji

Mindful of Race  by Ruth King

The White Ally Toolkit Workbook by Dr. David W. Campt

  • This list was updated on: 5/20/2020

Added self-injury section

  • This list was updated on: 5/13/2020

Added books to several sections:

Adolescence: Trans+ by Kathryn Gonzales MBA and Karen Rayne PhD, LGBTQ: The Survival Guide by Kelly Huegel Madrone

Boundaries: Transform Your Boundaries by Sarri Gilman

Gender: Where's My Book by Linda Gromko

Relationships: Sex without Stress by Jessa Zimmerman


  • This list was updated on: 4/16/2020

Added two books to the Adolescent section

Rachel Robbins, Psy.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

CA License Number Psy22646


© 2020 by Rachel Robbins, Psy.D.

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