17 Best Psychology Books To Get the Most Out Of Therapy

By Nicole Beasley

Updated June 28, 2019

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There are a lot of things you can do to help you get the most out of therapy. Following all of the advice of your therapist and doing your homework assignments are important, but there are other things that you can do to get the most out of the experience. Books on psychology that are recommended by top psychologists can help you understand your condition or disorder, help you learn new coping mechanisms, and help you more fully understand what your therapist is trying to tell you in your sessions. Here are the best psychology books to get the most out of therapy.

The Feeling Good Handbook By David Burns

The Feeling Good Handbook is a manual on the benefits and techniques of cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapy is frequently used by psychologists and therapists to help people cope with depression, anxiety, phobias, and more. The book outlines techniques that you can use at home in a self-help fashion to compliment what you are learning in therapy.

Siddhartha By Herman Hesse

This book takes you through one man's journey to find peace and the meaning of his life. It is frequently recommended as a tool for therapy because the scenarios in the book can be analogies for our own modern lives. Patients who are themselves confronting their meaning of life can greatly benefit from this interesting and helpful book.

Get Out Of Your Mind And Into Your Life By Steve Hayes

This book presents a challenge to patients in therapy to step outside their comfort zone and find new meaning in life. The book gives you reasons and tools to step into thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are uncomfortable to learn and grow. This can be very challenging for many people, but the book gives you a new perspective on the challenge that can be more in-depth than an hour session with a therapist.

The Anxiety And Phobia Workbook By Edmund Bourne

This book is invaluable to people who suffer from anxiety. It outlines the causes of anxiety and phobias and how to overcome them. The book includes a comprehensive overview of available treatments that you can discuss with your therapist. It also includes at home exercises and techniques that you can use to manage your anxiety between sessions and as a compliment to your ongoing therapy.

The Worry Trap: How To Free Yourself from Worry & Anxiety Using Acceptance And Commitment Therapy By Chad LeJeune

This book is another excellent resource for people who suffer from anxiety. Acceptance and commitment therapy is a fairly new type of cognitive therapy that has been proven to help people overcome their anxiety and put their worries aside. The book outlines exactly how to use this type of therapy to overcome your anxiety. If your therapist is recommending this type of therapy, the book can help you more fully understand it and how it works.

More Attention, Less Deficit: Success Strategies For Adults With ADHD By Ari Tuckman

This book is a must-have for adults with ADHD. Many people do not consider that ADHD is not just a childhood disorder. It follows patients into adulthood, and many of the prescription medications used to treat ADHD are not appropriate for long term use by adults. This book gives adults with ADHD new techniques to learn how to focus their attention and cope with their disorder without allowing it to rule their lives.

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Hold Me Tight By Sue Johnson

This book is a must for couples in therapy. It outlines a new way for couples to communicate and work through their problems. Psychologists not only recommend the book to couples in therapy but also apply the book to their marriages. The primary point of the book is that perceived emotional loss leads to changed behavior and a lack of communication, which ultimately leads to the breakdown of a relationship and prevents healing. The book outlines how to avoid these pitfalls and help you and your significant other heal properly.

The Six Pillars Of Self-Esteem By Nathaniel Branden

This book does an excellent job of breaking down exactly what self-esteem is, how it becomes degraded, and how to rebuild it. This is an important book for individuals going through therapy due to self-esteem issues. Low self-esteem can be the root cause of many of life's problems and one's emotions and anxieties. Learning how to increase your self-esteem can be of great benefit to anyone in therapy.

Self-Compassion: The Proven Power Of Being Kind To Yourself By Kristin Neff

One of the things that most therapists will tell you is that you have to be kind and gentle with yourself as you make changes in your life that impact your mental health in positive ways. Not everyone moves at the same pace when it comes to personal growth and learning. This book outlines exactly why self-compassion is important and teaches you ways to learn to be kind to yourself in all aspects of your life.

The Deepest Well: Healing the Long Term Effects Of Childhood Adversity By Nadine Burke Harris

This book is an important one for anyone who is dealing with the aftermath of a difficult childhood in therapy. It goes through how childhood abuse, neglect, parent addiction, and mental illness shape a person both mentally and physically. The book is important because it makes a connection between childhood trauma and physical health in adulthood. It also gives some helpful information on how to cope as an adult after a difficult childhood.

Advice Not Given: A Guide To Getting Over Yourself By Mark Epstein

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Epstein isn't just a psychologist; he's also a Buddhist. In this unique book, Epstein uses the eightfold path of Buddhism combined with psychoanalysis and therapy to help people understand how to move past the ego that could be holding you back from important personal growth.

Cringeworthy: A Theory Of Awkwardness By Melissa Dahl

This book is based on the personal research of psychological science writer Melissa Dahl. The book outlines why awkwardness occurs and how it holds us back from personal growth and new opportunities. As part of her research, she put herself in increasingly awkward situations intentionally. She recommends that everyone do this to some extent, and explains how growth and opportunities can occur when you embrace awkwardness instead of avoiding it.

Beginning Mindfulness: Learning The Way Of Awareness By Andrew Weiss

Mindfulness is a technique that is often used in the treatment of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other mental illness. While it seems simple by definition, putting it in practice can be difficult for many people. This book gives a great overview of mindfulness techniques and gives you practical applications for everyday life.

The Miracle Of Mindfulness By Thich Nhat Hanh

Another book on mindfulness, this book is more than just a how-to for applying mindfulness techniques to your life. Hanh shows you how mindfulness techniques can bring joy and playfulness to your life in new ways. This is a helpful application of mindfulness that many therapists have a difficult time conveying to their patients.

Overcoming Depression One Step At A Time: The New Behavioral Activation Approach To Getting Your Life Back By Michael E Addis

This book will walk you through overcoming depression step by step. It focuses on motivation techniques, tackling everyday tasks, and intentionally finding joyful things to do to help give your mood a boost. The book is very helpful for anyone battling depression and is a great compliment to therapy.

The Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook: Proven Techniques To Overcoming Your Fears by Martin M Antony

This book is a must-have for anyone who suffers from social anxiety. It outlines a cognitive behavioral approach to social anxiety with definitive steps to help you overcome your shyness and anxiety in social situations.

The 60 Second Shrink: 101 Strategies For Staying Sane In A Crazy World By Arnold Lazarus

This book is funny, witty, and extremely helpful. It covers several emotional and mood problems, including depression and anxiety. It also covers problems that many psychology books ignore such as procrastination, problem-solving, apologies, panic attacks, and anger. While the book doesn't go in depth on any one topic, it does have some helpful strategies that can complement therapy.

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Getting Help

While psychology books will help you get more out of therapy, most people do not do well trying to use self-help books alone. These books are very helpful, but they will not allow you to grow and learn on their own. It is important that you also work with a therapist to work through your issues, whether they be related to mental illness, situational emotional problems, or a troubled past. If you think you don't have time or money for therapy, try contacting BetterHelp. Therapists are standing by at all hours and are just a click away on your computer or app. Contact today to get started with a therapist.


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