16 Best Therapy Books to Read for Therapists

best therapy booksIt is not just the clients who benefit from attending therapy sessions.

Most mental health professionals agree that the process of therapy itself is rewarding and a great learning experience for them.

The way therapists listen to their clients and empathize with them becomes their second nature and an essential aspect of their personality.

Irvin Yalom, one of the most celebrated authors who have published several valuable assets for psychotherapists, said that therapists could identify and successfully work through their conflicts during the therapy sessions. Therefore, succeeding as a therapist is also partly about flourishing as a human being.

There are plenty of literary works that therapists can choose for upgrading themselves. This article outlines some of the most popular and recommended resources that can help psychotherapists and counselors at all levels. From general therapy guides to more specific forms of interventions and audiobooks, this article is a compilation of resources you wouldn’t want to miss.

4 Best Therapy Books for Therapists

A survey on the best psychotherapy books that professionals read in the last three years showed some interesting statistics. The experiment was conducted on a large sample of over 2000 therapists and non-therapists in North America.

Out of the many deductions from the analysis, one finding was a list of the ten best books on psychotherapy that the majority of the participants agreed to be true. Some of them are discussed below.

 

1. Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder (Diagnosis and Treatment of Mental Disorders) 1st Edition – Marsha M. Linehan

Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality DisorderTreating Borderline Personality Disorder has been a challenge for therapists for years. This book highlights the best CBT practices when it comes to identifying and managing BPD.

Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder follows an integrative and inclusive approach that therapists can use.

Author Marsha Linehan talks about the recent developments in CBT and DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) and explains how therapists can combine the two approaches to ensure better prognosis.

The book is simplified and highly recommended for therapists who deal with Borderline clients or wish to know more about the interventions.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

2. The Developing Mind, Second Edition: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are – Daniel J. Siegel

The Developing Mind, Second Edition: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We AreThe Developing Mind has been a bestseller with over 100,00 readers all over the world. Author Daniel Siegel has structured this book with the new concept of how interpersonal relationships play a crucial role in shaping our thoughts, actions, and emotions.

The book introduces human relationships to be as strong as nature and nurture concepts that therapists have been following for years now. There is a bunch of scientific evidence and real-life examples that Siegel has used to add more substance to his findings.

The Developing Mind opens a whole new dimension to the science of human connections and its relevance in psychotherapeutic interventions.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

3. The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients – Irvin Yalom

The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their PatientsIrvin D. Yalom has been a practitioner for over 35 years. His valuable experience and understanding of the client-therapist relationship are beautifully portrayed in the book The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients.

The book is a collection of the most insightful case studies and over 80 essential tips for beginner psychotherapists.

With valuable insights on crucial therapy topics such as identifying personal biases, doing home visits, and individualizing the process of therapy each time, this book is an excellent read for professionals who are starting their journey and for experienced therapists who wish to keep themselves relevant to the current time.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

4. Motivational Interviewing, Third Edition: Helping People Change (Applications of Motivational Interviewing) – William Miller and Stephen Rollnick

Motivational Interviewing: Helping People Change, 3rd EditionMotivational Interviewing is a powerful concept and a beneficial positive intervention, especially for professional setups.

Authors William Miller and Stephen Rollnick have put forth their years of research findings and explanations on the aspects of MI and how therapists can include them in their practices.

The book follows an easy-to-read approach and touches almost all aspects of Motivational Interviewing. Besides facilitating psychotherapy, this book is also a recommended read for professionals working as leaders, managers, or corporate recruiters.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

4 Must-Have Books for Couples Therapy

Dr. Robert Solley, a practicing clinical psychologist and relationship counselor, has mentioned the following books on his website as ‘must-reads’ for therapists and anyone looking to sustain their relationships for the long-term.

 

1. Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love – Dr. Sue Johnson

Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of LoveDr. Sue Johnson has boldly attempted to make Emotion-focused Therapy accessible to all readers in the book ‘Hold Me Tight..

She takes readers through a meaningful journey of understanding the ‘moments’ that can make or break relationships, the value of effective communication and self-expression, and has shared valuable advice on how couples can work with each other to build an everlasting connection.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

2. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are – Brené Brown

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You AreAcceptance plays a significant role in making relationships work – and this is what author Brené Brown uniquely presents in his bestselling book ‘The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are.’

The book is a benchmark motivational guide for wholesome living. It creates space for building self-esteem and shows therapists a unique way to help couples restore their happiness.

The author delves deep into aspects of gratitude, commitment, and expectation management and shows how couples can embrace each others’ imperfections and still be happy in their lives.

Find the book on Amazon.

You can find some other great books on self-esteem here.

 

3. Clinical Casebook of Couple Therapy – Alan Gurman

Clinical Casebook of Couple TherapyThe Clinical Casebook of Couple Therapy is a collection of the best practices in relationship management, including examples from real therapy sessions. It is a candid presentation of the different scenarios that therapists may face and how they can effectively respond to them.

There are multiple case studies and therapy models mentioned in this book that can engage beginners in the field and guide them to implement them in their practice successfully.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

4. The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy: Creating Connection – Susan Johnson

The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couple TherapyThis book was initially published in 1996 and has continued to be one of the most favorite reads for therapists, counselors, and students. The book is written in a way that makes it relevant even today.

It includes cutting-edge knowledge on emotion-focused therapy, its applications, and interventions.

The author has cited examples from real-life emotion-focused therapy sessions to facilitate a better understanding of the topic.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

Recommended Therapy Books on Depression and Anxiety

Recommended by popular non-fiction magazines and newspapers like the Guardian and Attitude, here are two useful books for managing depression and anxiety therapies.

 

1. Lost Connections: Why You’re Depressed and How to Find Hope – Johann Hari

Lost Connections: Why You’re Depressed and How to Find HopeThe British Journal of General Practice described this book as ‘one of the most important texts of recent years.’

Lost Connections is a milestone for therapists dealing with depression and anxiety disorders. This fantastic book offers a new dimension of looking into these modern endemics and suggests unique solutions to address the symptoms in clients of different ages.

The book delves into the genetic dispositions behind depression and anxiety disorders and invites therapists to implement combined and inclusive approaches while dealing with clients.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

2. Treatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety Disorders – Robert L. Leahy, Stephen J. F. Holland, and Lata K. K. McGinn

Treatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety DisordersThis book is a collection of some of the best practices that therapists dealing with depression and anxiety can apply. It comes with more than 50 client handouts, individualized step-by-step treatment plans, and printables that therapists can reuse in their practice.

Treatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety Disorders is partly a manual for therapists and somewhat a rich theoretical base. It revolves around cutting-edge revelations in the field and expands treatment to include more creative interventions.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

3 Books on Child Therapy

Recommended by eminent psychologists like Susan Gere (Lesley University) and others, here are some popular books on child and adolescent therapeutic interventions.

 

1. The Practice of Child Therapy – Richard Morris and Thomas Kratochwill

The Practice of Child TherapyThis book brings together the literature of child therapy along with specific treatment plans for specified conditions.

Authors Richard Morris and Thomas Kratochwill drive readers through pressing issues such as ADHD, academic underperformance, conduct disorders, childhood OCD, autism spectrum, and intellectual disabilities.

Noteworthy sections of the book include the different treatment orientation, case studies, empirical findings, psychopharmacology, and CBT techniques, among many others. It is a popular choice for therapists beginning their careers with children and students who wish to pursue child therapy in the future.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

2. Trauma-Informed Practices With Children and Adolescents – William Steele and Cathy A. Malchiodi

Trauma-Informed Practices With Children and AdolescentsTrauma-informed therapists are highly regarded when it comes to child psychotherapy. Being trauma-informed involves knowledge about health and safety, confidentiality, the rights of clients and family, self-regulation, and work ethics.

This book on trauma-informed practices is a massive structure on how therapists can integrate their best practices and, at the same time, ensure their clients’ safety and individual rights.

The book will prepare any therapist about how to approach kids, how or when to ask them questions, and how to deal with childhood resistance. It is a relevant literary work that comes in handy and should ideally benefit child therapists at all levels.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

3. Counselling Children: A Practical Introduction – Katherine Geldard, David Geldard, and Rebecca Yin Foo

Counselling Children: A Practical IntroductionThis book is a practical guide for all therapists who deal with childhood emotional and relationship problems. The book encompasses areas like:

  • Creating an effective plan and chalking out the goals of therapy.
  • Identifying the allied factors that have led to the present problem.
  • Implementing play therapy into the sessions and gauging their benefits for the current case.
  • Diversity of child counseling.
  • Building personal strength and resilience.

The book also consists of worksheets that therapists can use during the session or as home assignments. Overall, this book is the most logical and concise edition that has all the tidbits of child psychotherapy.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

3 Therapy Workbooks

As mentioned in Therapist Aid, a globally accessible website for mental health resources, here are some workbooks in therapy that professionals could use in their practices.

 

1. Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety – John P. Forsyth and George H Eifert

Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for AnxietyMindfulness is an all-rounder positive intervention today. From emotional problems to personality disorders, or trauma management, there is practically no channel of therapy that would not use it.

The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook follows the ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) approach and puts forth some practical exercises that can help respondents reinvent their lives all over again.

The tools mentioned in the book covers topics of self-compassion, mindful sensory awareness, positive self-affirmations, gratitude, and radical acceptance. The core purpose of creating this workbook was to enable therapists and help seekers overcome their problems and see through the short struggle. The book promotes a positive mindset, mindful living, and the capacity to focus on the bright side.

Find the book on Amazon or find more self-compassion books.

 

2. DBT® Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets – Marsha Linehan

DBT® Skills Training Handouts and WorksheetsDialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is the ideal intervention for Borderline Personality Disorder and related problems.

This workbook comes with over 200 easy exercises and handouts that can help therapists learning and practicing DBT for the first time.

Author Marsha Linehan’s work on DBT has been highly acclaimed, and the way she has demonstrated the most critical aspects of the therapy is commendable.

The DBT Skills Training Manual functions like the DSM to therapists in this field. It caters to the individual needs and has complete instructions for users, making it the first choice in independent practices.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

3. CBT Toolbox for Children and Adolescents: Over 200 Worksheets & Exercises for Trauma, ADHD, Autism, Anxiety, Depression & Conduct Disorders – Lisa Phifer, Amanda Crowder, Tracy Elsenraat, and Robert Hull

CBT Toolbox for Children and AdolescentsConducting CBT for children is often challenging for even the best of professionals. The way a child’s mind functions under distress is hard to predict; the presence of external stressors only making it worse.

The CBT Toolbox for Children and Adolescents came as a breath of fresh air for therapists and beginners who struggle to rule out the best intervention for a given case.

The book has around 500 tools and exercises for children dealing with trauma, anxiety, depression, mood disorders, attentional problems, and emotional dysregulation. Written by some of the most reputed professionals working with children, the exercises are undeniably compelling and easy to incorporate at any stage of child therapy.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

2 Therapy Audiobooks

Book Authority, a well-known online resource for books on contemporary, relevant topics, recommended the following audiobooks for therapists based on CNN and Forbes’ reviews.

 

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: The Essential Step by Step Guide to Retraining Your Brain – Overcome Anxiety, Depression, and Negative Thought Patterns: Psychotherapy, Book 1 – David Clark and Bob D

Cognitive Behavioral TherapyThis audiobook on CBT interventions outlines some tried and tested methods by psychotherapists for treating a wide range of issues with CBT.

It uncovers areas of thought distortions – both on the part of the therapist and the client and guides the right order of implementing the different CBT techniques at the various stages of therapy. It helps therapists become more resilient and aware as a professional and creates room for better client-therapist relationships.

The book is available in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. Find it on Amazon.

 

2. Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment – Martin Seligman

Authentic HappinessMartin Seligman, as we know, is a pioneer in the field of positive psychology and positive interventions. His ideas on ‘flexible optimism’ and ‘signature character strengths’ have become staple concepts in modern psychotherapy and assessments.

Authentic Happiness reflects Seligman’s sincere effort to bring forth some groundbreaking research and evidence on how and why therapists should promote Happiness through their interventions.

His work emphasizes the importance of well-being over symptom reduction. The book is an eye-opener rather than a mere source of information. Through all the evidence, research findings, and real-life examples, this audiobook will tell you all about nurturing authentic peace and contentment in life.

Find the audiobook on Amazon.

 

A Take-Home Message

Reading can make a difference in the way we see and think! Whether you are a beginner, a student, an experienced professional, or a help seeker – knowing more about your area of interest widens perception and adds a new dimension to your thoughts.

The books and literary sources mentioned in this article will provide some insight for upgrading your skills and acquiring new ones. There is no end to learning new ways of therapy, as it is evolving each day, and the best way to embrace this constant progress is to keep knowing more about it.

If you want something short to read instead that packs a punch, read our inspiring article on Therapy Quotes.

 

  • Brown (2010): The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are.
  • Clark (2018): Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: The Essential Step by Step Guide to Retraining Your Brain – Overcome Anxiety, Depression, and Negative Thought Patterns.
  • Cook, J. M., Biyanova, T., & Coyne, J. C. (2009). Influential psychotherapy figures, authors, and books: An Internet survey of over 2,000 psychotherapists. Psychotherapy (Chicago, Ill.), 46(1), 42–51. Retrieved from – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3660016/
  • Forsyth and Eifert (2016): Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety.
  • Geldard and Foo (2017): Counselling Children: A Practical Introduction 5ed.
  • Gurman (2012): Clinical Casebook of Couple Therapy.
  • Hari (2019): Lost Connections: Why You’re Depressed and How to Find Hope.
  • Johnson (2008): Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love.
  • Johnson (1996): The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy: Creating Connection.
  • Leahy, Holland, McGinn (2011): Treatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety Disorders.
  • Linehan (1993): Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder (Diagnosis and Treatment of Mental Disorders).
  • Linehan (2014): DBT® Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition.
  • Miller and Rollnick (2012): Motivational Interviewing, Third Edition: Helping People Change (Applications of Motivational Interviewing).
  • Morris and Kratochwill (2007): The Practice of Child Therapy.
  • Phifer, Crowder, Elsenrat, Hull (2017): CBT Toolbox for Children and Adolescents: Over 200 Worksheets & Exercises for Trauma, ADHD, Autism, Anxiety, Depression & Conduct Disorders.
  • Seligman (2007): Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment.
  • Siegel (2015): The Developing Mind, Second Edition: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are.
  • Steele and Malchiodi (2011): Trauma-Informed Practices With Children and Adolescents.
  • Yalom (2013): The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients.
  • http://www.solutions4couples.com/resources/couples/
  • https://bookauthority.org/books/best-psychotherapy-audiobooks

About the Author

Madhuleena Roy Chowdhury holds a postgrad in clinical psychology and is a certified psychiatric counsellor. She specialized in optimizing mental health and is an experienced teacher and school counselor. She loves to help others through her work as a researcher, writer, and blogger and reach as many as possible.

Comments

  1. Leah

    Great list! Thank you for posting 🙂

    Reply
  2. Yvette R McCoy-Rodgers

    I love this article some very very helpful information!!

    Reply

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