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Reading Recommendations

Find out what books, articles and other resources your FSAP counselors recommend to help you manage stress.

The counselors at the UC San Diego Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) know that we’re all seeking resources to manage stress. We would like to share with you some of the materials that have been meaningful to us in the struggle to be as healthy as we can be despite multiple life stressors.

Recommendations from William Youngblood, LMFT

headshot of william youngbloodWhat reading material or book do you recommend for dealing with stress?

What are you currently reading?

I really enjoy the Greater Good Magazine from UC Berkeley

What YouTube video, TED talk or free app do you recommend?

I highly recommend this free Insight Timer course: Mindfulness Daily at Work.

Recommendations from Bryan McNutt, Lic. Psychologist, LMFT, CEAP

bryan mcnutt seated holding a coffee cupWhat reading material or book do you recommend for dealing with stress?

The Trauma of Everyday Life by Mark Epstein, MD

This is a poignant and salient read in light of our current life stressors and times. As a psychiatrist and a practicing Buddhist, Epstein does a wonderful job of integrating perspectives of psychology and Buddhist philosophy in exploring the transformational potential that is within the difficulties we experience every day in life. He explores the intersection of wisdom between both Eastern and Western approaches to emotional healing, and often uses the lens of meditative practice as a helpful frame for understanding our experience of suffering and healing.

What are you currently reading?

The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being by Daniel Siegel, MD

I have been a fan of Siegel’s for many years. His writing is quite accessible in distilling complex and dense topics of neuroscience into a format that is digestible for the lay scholar of the brain, our mind, and the intricacies of our emotional and psychological life. This book emphasizes the inherent value of incorporating mindfulness-based practices within our daily lives and relationships as a context for growth and well-being.

What YouTube video, TED talk or free app do you recommend?

I have been watching some of Frank Ostaseski’s teachings lately. He is the founder of the Metta Institute, which grew out of the Zen Hospice Project in the Bay Area. I was originally introduced to Frank’s teachings on when I worked in hospice care several years ago. The wisdom he shares is not only relevant for end-of-life care, but also for how we relate with challenging aspects of life circumstances in a way that can be transformative, healing, and meaningful.

Recommendations from Izabel Caetano Francy, LCSW, PMH-C

headshot of izabel francyWhat reading material or book do you recommend for dealing with stress?

The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting by Brene Brown 

This book is particularly helpful during this time when expectations of parenting, working & managing personal/professional life balance have grown exponentially. Brene directly addresses how to manage the vulnerabilities and shame that get triggered when we are juggling so many responsibilities, how to set realistic expectations of ourselves, our partners and our children. She normalizes the struggle of parenting, she provides researched-supported explanations as to why we have the tendency to judge ourselves so harshly and she provided concrete suggestions on how to counter-act them and why that is beneficial for us and those around us.

What are you currently reading?

The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown 

What YouTube video, TED talk or free app do you recommend?

This TED talk is hands down the most evoking & inspiring I have ever watched.

Recommendations from Jennifer Triana, LCSW

headshot of jennifer trianaWhat reading material or book do you recommend for dealing with stress?

I love the book Mindsight by Daniel Siegel. It’s a cool combination of neuroscience and psychotherapy. I chose it because it is relatable and practical, in that it teaches us how to use mindfulness skills for different aspects of our lives. I feel that so many clients come to FSAP seeking tools and actionable guidance/insight and this definitely delivers!

What are you currently reading?

A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabelle Allende

It’s a romance story set in the 1930’s. It’s her latest and I have been a fan of hers since The House of Spirits. Isabelle Allende helps me stay close to my South American roots and her historical fiction always allows me to transport myself. I think during our shelter in place order, when we are asked to be still and rediscover our homes, our families and ourselves, traveling mentally with a book is one of the best forms of entertainment. 

What YouTube video, TED talk or free app do you recommend?

I love the Positive Psych TED talk from Shawn Achor (he is hysterical), because he speaks about how happiness and success are linked. It certainly explains why I love looking at psych issues through a non-pathological lens and instead a strength-based one.

Recommendations from Crystal Green, Ph.D., LMFT, CEAP

headshot of crystal greenWhat reading material or book do you recommend for dealing with stress?

I recommend these two resources for caregivers:

What are you currently reading?

The Book of Joy: Lasting happiness in a changing world, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams (2016)

This book was given to me as a gift and I have taken my time to meander through the chapters, sometimes going back to re-read sections when I feel stressed out. These two men are such outstanding living examples of their peaceful message despite cancer, dislocations, political upheaval and all the challenges of aging, heavy travel schedules and the world constantly reaching out to them for advice and answers. This book is a beautiful recounting of five days these iconic figures spent together sharing their experiences, perspectives and insights into the human condition. As a clinician, I especially enjoyed the appendix entitled, “Joy Practices” which gives us instructions on developing mental immunity, setting morning intentions, cultivating joy, and our relationship to our community. When these two, burdened and criticized as they and their people are, can dance their way through times (literally – you will see the photo proof!), it allows me to hope that I can, too.

What YouTube video, TED talk or free app do you recommend?’s course on radical change by Justin Michael Williams