Recommended Self-Help Books
‘Freedom from Addiction’ by Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrell (2005) sets out a practical approach to recovery that derives from science-based models rather than more common ideological models for addiction treatment. It explores the chemical processes behind addiction, and reveals the tricks our minds can play in sustaining addictive behaviours. The authors focus on the role of human need in explaining and consequently treating addiction. It is an excellent overview of addiction and recovery.
‘No Big Deal: A Guide to Recovery from Addictions’ by John Coates (2006) is an insightful and highly recommended book for those looking for recovery from addiction. It follows the Twelve Step path to recovery and is enriched by the author’s own personal experience of addiction, making it a truly insightful and useful contribution to the field.
Alcohol dependence & Alcoholism
‘Beat the Booze: A Comprehensive Guide to Combating Drink Problems in all Walks of Life’ (2008) by Edmund Tirbutt and Helen Tirbutt. ‘Beat the Booze’ is an inspirational, easy to read and highly practical book aimed at those who wish to cut down or cut out alcohol. It contains interviews from leading experts in the field of alcohol addiction, and case studies of those who have successfully cut down their drinking or who abstain altogether. Additionally, it includes contact details for a vast range of organisations that can provide professional help and further information.
Drug Abuse & Drug Addiction (Prescription and Recreational)
‘Enough Already!: A Guide to Recovery from Alcohol and Drug Addiction’ (2005) by Bob Tyler. This book is an easy read that educates on precisely what to do to get and stay sober. With chapters detailing definitions, symptoms and causes of addiction, this book is a comprehensive resource for anyone suffering from addiction. The book also details relapse prevention strategies such as 12-step programmes and coping skills to deal with uncomfortable emotions that often lead to drug and alcohol use.
‘To Buy or Not to Buy: Why we Over Shop and How to Stop’ (2009) by Dr. April Benson. Drawing on recent research and decades of working with compulsive shoppers, Dr. April Benson brings together key insights with practical strategies in a powerful programme to help you to stop shopping. Using mindfulness strategies in particular, this book sets out a practical step-by-step programme for recognising, controlling and finally stopping a shopping problem.
‘Overcoming Gambling: A Guide for Problem and Compulsive Gamblers’ (2010) by Philip Mawer. Stemming from the personal experiences and insights of the author, this book sets out a highly practical and informative guide to gambling recovery. From those with high incomes to the ordinary housewife or struggling student, this book investigates how and why people gamble compulsively and how to stop.
‘The Sex Addiction Workbook: Proven Strategies to Help You Regain Control of Your Life’ (2004) by Tamara Penix Sbraga and William O’Donohue. The authors of this book guide readers through an assessment of their level of sexual self-control problems, teaching relapse prevention methods and helping readers increase motivation and commitment to change. The second section of the book examines the cognitive restructuring necessary to produce change, helping readers examine their behaviours and decision-making processes. Finally, readers learn to increase intimacy and live a more balanced life.
Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
‘Driven to Distraction: Recognising and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood through Adulthood’ (1995) by Edward Hallowell and Dr. John Ratey, discusses the causes, symptoms and treatments of attention deficit disorder. It is an incredibly informative book with an accessible and easy to read style, using personal true-life examples to illustrate many of the points.
‘ADD: Friendly Ways to Organise Your Life’ (2002) by Judith Kolberg and Kathleen Nadeau, is a highly recommended book for anyone suffering from attention deficit disorder and struggling with day-to-day organisation. Written with the ADDer in mind, it offers a range of practical advice from self-help to professional assistance in helping individuals organise and reduce overall stress.
‘Overcoming Anger and Irritability: A Self Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques’ (2009) by Dr. William Davies. Full of exercises and case studies, this book methodically breaks down anger into a series of easily identifiable stages. It will help you understand why such behaviour occurs and what can be done to prevent it, using cognitive behavioural techniques.
‘Managing Anger: Simple Steps to Dealing with Frustration and Threat’ (2000) by Gael Lindenfield, explains clearly the effect of anger on both our psychological and physical health, and suggests ways of dealing with our own anger and that of other people. This is a highly recommended book by therapists all over the world.
‘Free Yourself from Anxiety: A Self Help Guide to Overcoming Anxiety Disorders’ (2009) by Emma Fletcher and Martha Langley. The authors describe simple self-help techniques and practical tips derived from years of helping people with anxiety problems. This book enables readers to assess what changes they need to make, change unhelpful ways of thinking and work towards realistic goals. The techniques can be used for all forms of anxiety and use true-life examples to provide hope and show you the path to recovery.
‘Overcoming Anxiety: A Self Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques’ (2009) by Dr. Helen Kennerley. In 'Overcoming Anxiety', Dr. Kennerley provides a guidebook to help those plagued by anxiety to address the roots of their fears and take control of their lives. In this helpful guide, the author offers advice on managing a range of problems including panic attacks, phobias and executive stress, and presents a concrete programme for recovery based on her clinically proven cognitive therapy-based methods.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
‘Getting Over OCD: A 10 Step Workbook for Taking Back Your Life’ (2009) by Jonathan Abramowitz. Based on cognitive behavioural therapy, the most effective treatment for OCD, this workbook will help you find relief from intrusive thoughts, overcome compulsive urges and take gradual steps to safely confront and master the situations you avoid. Using sequenced exercises and detailed examples, this excellent book provides you with a comprehensive resource to overcoming OCD.
Panic Disorder/Panic Attacks
‘Panic Attacks: What are they, why they happen and what you can do about them’ (2000) by Christine Ingham. This guide gives a comprehensive and informative overview of what panic attacks are, why they happen and what every sufferer can do to empower themselves, and make panic attacks a thing of the past. Containing a broad range of topics including what to do during an attack and self-help to prevent attacks from developing, ‘Panic Attacks’ is consistently straightforward, informative and reassuring.
‘The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook’ (2011) by Edmund Bourne. This practical guide offers help to anyone suffering from phobias, panic attacks or other anxiety disorders. Step-by-step guidelines, questionnaires and exercises will help you learn skills and make lifestyle changes necessary to achieving a lasting recovery. The workbook can be used to develop your own self-help programme or as an adjunct to therapy.
‘You’ll Get Over It: The Rage of Bereavement’ by Virginia Ironside (1997). Ironside deals with this complicated and sensitive issue with great frankness and insight, drawing on other people’s accounts, as well as her own experiences to give a truly powerful view of grief and bereavement. Do not be intimidated by her sometimes aggressive style, as this book provides an excellent overview of the journey through the darkest times to finding happiness again.
‘On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief through the Five Stages of Loss’ by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler (2005). This book is a truly empathetic and accessible guide for those in grief. The authors deliver insights and advice designed to help readers normalise their lives and find the courage to continue. Chapters include sections on sadness, haunting, dreams and coping, with many other areas included. This book fuses practical wisdom with spiritual insight to form a fantastic guide to those in the midst of grieving.
Bipolar Disorder/Manic Depression
‘Living with Bipolar Disorder’ (2009) by Dr. Neel Burton. This book comprehensively explores bipolar disorder giving an excellent overview of definition, symptoms and treatments currently available. By informing and teaching you about bipolar, Dr. Burton seeks to alleviate fear and isolation and instead equip you with a realistic sense of hope and optimism. It includes simple and practical advice about day-to-day management of the condition.
‘Break the Bipolar Cycle: A Day by Day Guide to Living with Bipolar Disorder’ (2008) by Elizabeth Brondolo and Xavier Amador. Deals with the day-to-day problems of bipolar disorder and provides a complete selection of liveable, workable solutions to help regulate your moods, relieve stress and improve thought processes.
‘Fried: Why You Burn Out and How to Revive’ (2011) by Dr. Joan Borysenko. In this breakthrough book, the author straddles psychology and spirituality in a completely fresh approach to burnout. With her own insightful and personal story of burnout, despair and recovery she covers the psychology of being human, the science of the mind, and the fascinating stories of those who have recovered from burnout, proving fresh hope and optimism for readers.
‘Stress Management: A Comprehensive Guide to Wellness’ (1997) by Dr. Edward Charlesworth and Dr. Ronald Nathan. This comprehensive book offers a huge range of practical steps you can take to reduce stress, leaving you to choose which method best suits your temperament and lifestyle. The book covers chapters on how stress manifests itself, where it comes from and how to start managing it. It teaches techniques of relaxation and how to control anger and anxiety, as well as assertiveness training. With detailed exercise programmes for each method, this book provides a fantastic start to a happier and healthier life.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
‘Joyful Recovery from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome\ME’ (2008) by Sasha Allenby. Drawing on cutting edge science, this empowering book will teach you solution-focused approaches to overcoming your condition based on emotional freedom techniques. These techniques will help you identify and overcome your personal blocks to health and help you resolve your physical and emotional symptoms. It is an insightful and ground-breaking book straight from the author's own experiences of CFS and emotional freedom techniques.
‘Recovery from CFS: 50 Personal Stories’ (2008) by Alexandra Barton. 'Recovery from CFS' is a simple collection of recovery stories from people who have recovered from CFS/ME. Men, women and children from six different countries have written their own individual and very different accounts of their return to good health and a normal life. At the end of each account they have offered advice, suggested helpful books and websites and many have even given contact details for readers needing support.
‘The New Co-dependency: Help and Guidance for Today’s Generation’ (2010) by Melody Beattie. Having introduced the world to co-dependency, Beattie seeks to clear up much of the confusion surrounding the term by answering the questions of what is and what is not co-dependency. Each section of the book offers activities and an overview pertaining to a particular behaviour such as denial, enabling the reader to personalise their own step-by-step guide to wellness. These chapters in addition to small tests throughout the book, allow the reader to identify their own level of co-dependent behaviour, thereby personalising all consequent advice offered by the book.
‘Facing Co-dependence: What it is, where it comes from, how it sabotages our lives’ (2002) by Pia Mellody. In this book the author creates a framework for identifying co-dependent thinking, emotions and behaviour and provides an effective approach to recovery. Central to Mellody’s approach is the concept that the co-dependent adult’s inner child needs healing and, therefore, recovery from co-dependence involves rectifying the painful emotions left over from painful childhood experiences.
‘Overcoming Depression: A Self Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques’ (2000) by Professor Paul Gilbert. This is often recommended by professional therapists to assist with mild-moderate depression. It is based on cognitive therapy principles, and includes guides on 'activity scheduling' and 'common thinking errors' that can help improve your mood.
‘Mind Over Mood: Change how you feel by changing the way you think’ (1995) by Dr. Dennis Greenberger and Christine Padesky. Illustrated with examples and case studies, this book presents a simple step-by-step guide to identifying problems, setting goals and achieving desired changes to help lift your mood. An easy and accessible writing style makes this book very popular and it is highly recommended by therapists.
‘Eating Disorders: The Path to Recovery’ (2007) by Dr. Kate Middleton. This accessible and practical book helps readers to come to a full understanding of eating disorders and the various stages involved in recovery. It is an essential read for both sufferers and their families. Writing from her experience of working with sufferers and drawing extensively on case histories, Dr. Middleton explains what eating disorders are, why we develop them and, most importantly, offers guidance for setting out on the road to recovery.
‘Beating Eating Disorders Step by Step: A Self Help Guide for Recovery’ (2008) by Anna Patterson. This practical workbook outlines new and positive ways of dealing with eating disorders for individual sufferers and their families. Having lived with an eating disorder herself, Patterson provides insightful advice and strategies to aid in understanding and help the reader regain control of their illness. Easy to use therapeutic exercises and role-reversal scenarios provide a new perspective on attitudes to eating, with the final sections of the book providing diet plans specifically designed for those suffering from anorexia, bulimia and compulsive overeating.
Low Self-Esteem & Low Confidence
‘Overcoming Low Self Esteem: A Self Help Guide Using CBT’ (2009) by Dr. Melanie Fennell. Written to help readers better understand their condition, this self-help manual helps individuals to improve their negative self-image by cognitive therapy techniques and, through self-acceptance, learn to alter their lives for the better. With clear and simple exercises and record sheets, the reader can begin to understand the severe impact low self-esteem is having on their life and make positive changes for the better.
‘Increase your Confidence in One Day and Stay Confident for the Rest of Your Life’ (2010) by Olga Levancuka. Illustrated with exercises and case studies, this book has wide applications to all those struggling with low confidence. The skills and knowledge disseminated through this book can help everyone, no matter how low or lacking in confidence the reader feels. It is an excellent pocket guide to carry around with you.
‘The Borderline Personality Disorder Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know about Living with BPD’ (2008) by Alex Chapman and Kim Gratz. This book is organised as a series of answers to questions common to BPD sufferers. The beginning of the book deals with what we currently know about BPD, while later chapters cover several common treatment approaches including dialectical behaviour therapy and mentalisation-based therapy. In the final chapter of the book, the reader can learn a range of day-to-day coping skills which can help moderate the symptoms of BPD. It is an excellent overview of borderline personality disorder.
‘The Essential Guide to Overcoming Avoidant Personality Disorder’ (2010) by Martin Kantor. This thorough book explores the development of AvPD and presents a holistic view of its causes from psychoanalytic, cognitive-behavioural and interpersonal perspectives. It offers an extensive chapter on the various therapies for AvPD and a self-help guide for sufferers - including a day-by-day programme and a guide on how to overcome AvPD.
‘Eyes without Sparkle: A Journey through Postnatal Illness’ (2005) by Elaine Hanzak. This book describes the author's development of and recovery from puerperal psychosis, the most severe form of postnatal depression. The underlying aim of the book is one of hope and the belief that it is possible to suffer from a mental health problem and make a full recovery. It is a very informative book that is not littered with jargon, but clearly explains the realities of living through this illness.
‘Surviving Post-Natal Depression: At Home No-One Hears You Scream’ (2000) by Cara Aiken. This book tells the stories of ten women, from very different backgrounds (including the author), who have suffered from postnatal depression. The book offers positive suggestions and practical advice based on both personal and professional experience. It is a great source of strength and hope for other sufferers.
‘The Influence that Post-Natal Depression has on Men’ (2009) by Emerentia Esterhuys. This book is based on the perceptions and experiences of men who saw their partners going through postnatal depression. It gives an excellent overview of the causes of the illness, symptoms and treatment. Opinions are given by men in an existing support group, who discuss their experience of the way the illness has affected them, their relationship and extended family. It is an excellent book for a population sometimes forgotten in this illness.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)/Trauma & Abuse
‘Understanding Trauma: How to Overcome Post-Traumatic Stress’ (2010) by Dr. Roger Baker. Based on twenty years of experience, Dr. Baker explores the self-help programme of emotional processing therapy, which can defuse the distressing memories of trauma and reduce the occurrence of flashbacks, night terrors and tension. This book also provides advice on how to prevent future episodes of post-traumatic stress.
‘Overcoming Childhood Trauma: A Self Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques’ (2000) by Dr. Helen Kennerley. Using cognitive behavioural techniques, this book provides a step-by-step guide to dealing with intrusive memories, mood swings and night terrors that characterise trauma. It helps to explain the links between past trauma and present difficulties, and offers a fantastic approach to regaining control over these problems and moving forward in adulthood.
‘The Survivor’s Guide: To Recovery from Rape and Sexual Abuse’ (2005) by Robert Kelly, Fay Maxted, Elizabeth Campbell. The authors offer helpful and friendly advice that can be used in everyday situations to encourage survivors to work through the emotions that they feel, and to develop a vision for themselves of the life they want to live and not just making do with surviving. The book features a collection of unique illustrations to portray the stories of survivors of rape or sexual abuse, and reduce isolation and fear.
‘Overcoming Paranoid and Suspicious Thoughts: A Self Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques’ (2006) by Dr. Daniel Freeman, Jason Freeman and Dr. Philipa Garety. This is the first self-help guide to coping with fears about others, and provides in a clear and accessible style an explanation of how these fears arise and the practical steps to deal with them. Written by leading international experts who draw upon the latest scientific and clinical studies, the book presents personal accounts by those affected by paranoid thoughts, and includes questionnaires and exercises to help readers learn about and combat their fears.
‘The First Episode of Psychosis: A Guide for Patients and Families’ (2010) by Michael Compton and Beth Broussard. An ideal book for those experiencing the frightening and confusing initial episodes of psychosis. The book clearly describes symptoms, early warning signs and treatment options available. It also includes chapters on self-help methods to aid in symptom management. Worksheets allow readers to keep records of symptoms and facilitate communication with care providers. Similarly, an extensive glossary is provided to overcome the barriers of technical jargon.
‘Living with Schizophrenia’ (2007) by Dr. Neel Burton and Dr. Phil Davison. ‘Living with Schizophrenia’ aims to fill a gap in the literature by addressing the needs of people with schizophrenia along with their carers, relatives and friends. The step-by-step nature of this guide aids understanding of the symptoms, and enables the reader to make positive changes to promote recovery. Using questionnaires and monitoring sheets, the guide allows readers to track the changes in their experiences, feelings and their behaviours towards these events. Using clinically-proven techniques of cognitive therapy, this book can deliver practical advice on how to help individuals with distressing psychotic experiences.
‘Overcoming Relationship Problems: A Self Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques’ (2005) by Dr. Michael Crowe. Dr. Crowe has used the tried-and-tested clinical techniques of cognitive behavioural therapy to develop this self-help guide for dealing with common difficulties in close relationships. From financial pressures to infidelity and sexual issues, this guide will help you understand why conflict occurs and how you can negotiate a more positive outcome. Chapters include advice on how to sustain a long-term relationship, develop more effective communication skills and cope with jealousy.
‘The Relate Guide to Better Relationships: Practical Ways to Make Love Last’ (1998) by Sarah Litvinoff. With over sixty years of experience in relationship and marriage guidance, Relate has created a highly practical guide to help you better understand yourself and your partner. Full of exercises and guidelines, this guide will help you learn how to talk, listen and hear what each other is saying, allowing you to discover what makes your partner tick, improve your sex life and be able to tackle future problems together.
Work and occupational stress/Workaholism
‘Overcoming Your Workplace Stress: A CBT based Self Help Guide’ (2011) by Martin Bamber. Using the principles of cognitive behaviour therapy, this guide will equip the reader with the necessary tools and techniques to manage work-related stress more effectively. Divided into three parts, this book will help you to understand occupational stress and develop your own self-help plan. Examples of stress-management techniques covered include developing a healthy lifestyle, assertiveness, and healthy thinking techniques.
‘Chained to the Desk: A Guidebook for Workaholics, their partners and children, and the Clinicians who Treat them’ (2007) by Bryan Robinson. ‘Chained to the Desk’ provides a step-by-step guide to help readers spot workaholism, understand it and recover. Robinson presents strategies for workaholics and their loved ones on how to cope, and how to distinguish between work efficiency and workaholism.
The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) is an association for UK-based counselling professionals. It supports practitioners, enabling them to provide a better service.
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Harley Therapy Ltd. “Self-Help Therapy Books • Recommended Reading”. Harley Therapy, 20 Apr. 2015, https://www.harleytherapy.co.uk/self-help-counselling-reading.htm. Accessed 18 Sep. 2021.
Harley Therapy Ltd. (2015, April 20). Self-Help Therapy Books • Recommended Reading. Retrieved from https://www.harleytherapy.co.uk/self-help-counselling-reading.htm
Harley Therapy Ltd. "Self-Help Therapy Books • Recommended Reading." Last modified April 20, 2015. Accessed September 18, 2021. https://www.harleytherapy.co.uk/self-help-counselling-reading.htm.
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