18 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, a celebrated author who has published several valuable assets for psychotherapists, said that therapists could identify and successfully work through their conflicts during therapy sessions. Succeeding as a therapist is also partly about flourishing as a human being.

There are plenty of literary works that therapists can choose to upgrade 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.

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Positive Psychology Exercises for free. These science-based exercises explore fundamental aspects of positive psychology, including strengths, values, and self-compassion, and will give you the tools to enhance the wellbeing of your clients, students, or employees.

4 Best Therapy Books for Therapists

Among therapists, there are a few titles that often come up as must-reads. Here are some of our favorite picks for therapists.

 

1. Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder – 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 Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) practices when it comes to identifying and managing borderline personality disorder.

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

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

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

Find the book on Amazon.

 

2. The Developing Mind: 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 structured this book considering how interpersonal relationships play a crucial role in shaping our thoughts, actions, and emotions.

The book introduces human relationships to be as strong as the nature and nurture concepts that therapists have been following for years now. Siegel uses scientific evidence and real-life examples 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 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: Helping People Change – William R. 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 motivational interviewing 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, 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 and the value of effective communication and self-expression. She has also 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 her 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 other’s 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 S. 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 M. 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

Here are two useful books for managing depression and anxiety.

 

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

Lost Connections: Why You’re Depressed and How to Find HopeLost 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. 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 use 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 and others, here are some popular books on child and adolescent therapeutic interventions.

 

1. The Practice of Child Therapy – Richard J. Morris and Thomas R. 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 attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, academic underperformance, conduct disorders, childhood obsessive compulsive disorder, autism spectrum disorders, and intellectual disabilities.

Noteworthy sections of the book include different treatment orientations, 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 – Kathryn Geldard, David Geldard, and Rebecca Yin Foo

Counselling Children: A Practical IntroductionThis book is a practical guide for therapists with clients 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 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 includes worksheets that therapists can use during the session or as home assignments. Overall, this book is a logical and concise edition that encompasses a huge range of topics in child psychotherapy.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

3 Therapy Workbooks

Here are some recommended therapy workbooks that professionals could use in their practices.

 

1. Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety: A Guide to Breaking Free From Anxiety, Phobias, and Worry Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy – John P. Forsyth and Georg H. Eifert

Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for AnxietyMindfulness is a commonly favored 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 Acceptance and Commitment Therapy approach and puts forth some practical exercises that can help readers reinvent their lives all over again.

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 check out more self-compassion books.

 

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

DBT® Skills Training Handouts and WorksheetsDialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a common intervention for treating 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 caters to individual needs and has complete instructions for users, making it a great choice for 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, and Tracy Elsenraat

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 find 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 (n.d.) 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 – David Clark

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 reader through the right order of implementing the different CBT techniques at the various stages of therapy. It helps therapists become more resilient and aware as professionals 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 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 wellbeing 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, student, experienced professional, or 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 that packs a punch, read our inspiring article on Therapy Quotes.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Positive Psychology Exercises for free.

References

  • BookAuthority. (n.d.) 29 Best psychotherapy audiobooks of all time. Retrieved from https://bookauthority.org/books/best-psychotherapy-audiobooks
  • Brown, B. (2010). The gifts of imperfection: Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are. Hazelden.
  • Clark, D. (2018). Cognitive behavioral therapy: The essential step by step guide to retraining your brain: Overcome anxiety, depression, and negative thought patterns. Author.
  • Forsyth, J. P., & Eifert, G. H. (2016). Mindfulness and acceptance workbook for anxiety: A guide to breaking free from anxiety, phobias, and worry using acceptance and commitment therapy. New Harbinger.
  • Geldard, K., Geldard, D., & Foo, R. Y. (2017). Counselling children: A practical introduction (5th ed.). Sage.
  • Gurman, A. S. (2012). Clinical casebook of couple therapy. Guilford Press.
  • Hari, J. (2019). Lost connections: Why you’re depressed and how to find hope. Bloomsbury.
  • Johnson, S. (2008). Hold me tight: Seven conversations for a lifetime of love. Little, Brown Spark.
  • Johnson, S. M. (2019). The practice of emotionally focused couple therapy: Creating connection (3rd ed.). Routledge.
  • Leahy, R. L., Holland, S. J. F., & McGinn, L. K. (2011). Treatment plans and interventions for depression and anxiety disorders (2nd ed.). Guilford Press.
  • Linehan, M. M. (1993). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of borderline personality disorder. Guilford Press.
  • Linehan, M. M. (2014). DBT skills training handouts and worksheets (2nd ed.). Guilford Press.
  • Miller, W. R., & Rollnick, S. (2012). Motivational interviewing: Helping people change (3rd ed.). Guilford Press.
  • Morris, R. J., & Kratochwill, T. R. (2007). The practice of child therapy (4th ed.). Routledge.
  • Phifer, L., Crowder, A., & Elsenraat, T. (2017). CBT toolbox for children and adolescents: Over 200 worksheets & exercises for trauma, ADHD, autism, anxiety, depression & conduct disorders. PESI.
  • Seligman, M. E. P. (2007). Authentic happiness: Using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfillment. Simon and Schuster.
  • Siegel, D. J. (2015). The developing mind: How relationships and the brain interact to shape who we are (2nd ed.). Guilford Press.
  • Steele, W., & Malchiodi, C. A. (2011). Trauma-informed practices with children and adolescents. Routledge.
  • Yalom, I. (2017). The gift of therapy: An open letter to a new generation of therapists and their patients. Harper Perennial.

Comments

What our readers think

  1. Amy

    Wonderful list, very helpful!
    Another book I’d recommend is Radical Belonging by Lindo Bacon.

    Reply
  2. Christina

    There are a couple of books that should be on this list:
    Eric Berne: Games People Play
    Bessel van der Kolk M.D. : The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

    Reply
  3. Erika

    Thank you very much for the tips, it is a great inspiration. Wish you all the best

    Reply
  4. Leah

    Great list! Thank you for posting 🙂

    Reply
  5. Yvette R McCoy-Rodgers

    I love this article some very very helpful information!!

    Reply

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