5 Great Books for Social Workers

5 Books Every Social Worker Should Read

  • ”Prozac Nation”
  • ”It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying and Creating a Life Worth Living”
  • ”A Trick of the Light”
  • ”Children and Adolescents in Trauma: Creative Therapeutic Approaches”
  • ”Breaking Night”

Social workers spend day after day handling problems and traumatic events that many families hope they never have to face, so it stands to reason that these professionals may consider reading important social work books to help them tackle the issues at hand. From dealing with eating disorders to processing adoptions, many social workers have significant responsibilities as well as stress throughout their careers. The following books tackle some of the most common issues faced by social workers as well as the clients they help.

1. “Prozac Nation

This memoir describes author Elizabeth Wurtzel’s experience with major depression. From hospitalization to counseling sessions, this piece analyzes all of the different ways that depression can affect every aspect of an individual’s life. Those who have no firsthand, personal experience with depression should consider reading this book to help them gain a better understanding of the disease.

Related Resource: Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Social Work Online

2. “It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying and Creating a Life Worth Living

Social workers who routinely interact with lesbian and gay populations should add this novel to their reading list. According to research, LGBT youth are more likely to commit suicide or be bullied. In response to this research, author Dan Savage created a project called It Gets Better, which uses videos and essays to help adolescents acknowledge and accept their feelings. If you are looking to better your understanding of the struggles that many LGBT youth face, this is the one for you.

3. “A Trick of the Light

There is a myriad of social work books on the market pertaining to eating disorders. However, “A Trick of the Light” by Lois Metzger is written from the eating disorder’s point of view. The main character, Mike Welles, is a high school freshman whose life is spiraling out of control. He uses anorexia to cope and overcome the obstacles he’s facing. Although plenty of publications focus on girls and eating disorders, this novel is unique in that it focuses on a boy struggling with an eating disorder.

4. “Children and Adolescents in Trauma: Creative Therapeutic Approaches

Author Chris Nicholson provides readers with creative approaches to various social issues. Included in this social work book are experiences and stories from social workers and experts, each of which analyzes the different ways that professionals can deal with trauma, violence, self-harm, abuse, and identity development. Most of the book’s contributors work in facilities such as special schools, residential homes, and psychiatric units, giving them a higher level of insight into the most effective treatment methods.

5. “Breaking Night

Written by Liz Murray, “Breaking Night” is a memoir of the author’s life growing up as a child of drug-addicted, mentally ill parents. After living neglected for most of her childhood, Murray eventually wound up homeless. That is until she received a scholarship from The New York Times to attend Harvard University. The book offers a unique insight into the world of children who live with adults with disorders or addictions. Social workers looking to understand how these traumatic upbringings can personally impact each individual should consider adding this to their must-read lists.

The field of social work is a rewarding career, and reading books about the field and the issues commonly faced by professionals can help social workers to further develop their knowledge. Ranging from non-fiction works to novels, these social work books are designed to provide social workers with even more insight into their chosen field.