The most recommended cognitive behavioral therapy books

Who picked these books? Meet our 18 experts.

18 authors created a book list connected to cognitive behavioral therapy, and here are their favorite cognitive behavioral therapy books.
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Book cover of The OCD Workbook: Your Guide to Breaking Free from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Mark E. Crawford Author Of The Obsessive Compulsive Trap: Real Help for a Real Struggle

From my list on obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a practicing clinical psychologist for over thirty years. I’ve seen many patients who have suffered from OCD – some to the point of being debilitated by their symptoms. Few things are as gratifying as helping someone overcome OCD and live a normal life. While the disorder can be confusing, once people understand what OCD is and how to treat it, they can literally change their lives for the better. This is why I went into this field to begin with, and after thirty years, I still feel privileged and grateful when I can help someone escape the prison of OCD symptoms. 

Mark's book list on obsessive-compulsive disorder

Mark E. Crawford Why did Mark love this book?

The OCD Workbook is a classic in my field. It is probably the best practical workbook to help people understand the various ways that OCD can affect someone, and offers practical and effective tools for overcoming your symptoms. It is probably the resource I most frequently recommend when helping someone with OCD. 

By Bruce M. Hyman, Cherlene Pedrick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The OCD Workbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), chances are that your persistent obsessive thoughts and time-consuming compulsions keep you from enjoying life to the fullest. But when you are in the habit of avoiding the things you fear, the idea of facing them head-on can feel frightening and overwhelming. This book can help.

The OCD Workbook has helped thousands of people with OCD break the bonds of troubling OCD symptoms and regain the hope of a productive life. Endorsed and used in hospitals and clinics the world over, this valuable resource is now fully revised and updated with the latest evidence-based…


Book cover of Needing to Know For Sure: A CBT-Based Guide to Overcoming Compulsive Checking and Reassurance Seeking

Drew Linsalata Author Of Seven Percent Slower - A Simple Trick For Moving Past Anxiety And Stress

From my list on understanding and overcoming anxiety.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a podcaster, author, and psychoeducator in the field of anxiety and anxiety disorders. I am also—as of 2022—a graduate student in clinical mental health counseling on the way to becoming a licensed psychotherapist. My own experience with anxiety and depression over 25+ years has fueled a passion for the theory and mechanics behind anxiety disorders and how they are treated. It would appear that my superpower is not only understanding these things, but also explaining them in a way that people can then understand for themselves. If that means I can help, then I’m happy to be doing what I do every day.

Drew's book list on understanding and overcoming anxiety

Drew Linsalata Why did Drew love this book?

Overthinking and the inability to tolerate uncertainty are two huge problems for many people struggling with anxiety and anxiety disorders. The need to know and control can be so powerful that it sometimes goes off the rails, becoming a serious problem that creates anxiety, stress, and fear. Needing to Know For Sure is a no-nonsense accessible explanation of how being uncertain is a fact of life for everybody and how even the most dyed-in-the-wool overthinkers and control freaks and overcome the excessive need for assurance and control. You can learn to be “sure enough”, and it can change your life!

By Martin N. Seif, Sally M. Winston,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Needing to Know For Sure as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Powerful skills based in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help you break free from the fear of uncertainty and put a stop to compulsive checking and reassurance seeking.

"How do I know I made the right decision?" "What if I'm wrong?" "I need to know for sure."

Do you have thoughts like these-thoughts that cause you to second-guess yourself, and lead to anxiety, stress, and worry? Do you find yourself repeatedly checking your email for no reason, asking others for their opinions about something again and again, or lying awake at night overgrazing and planning ahead in an attempt to…


Book cover of Running Is My Therapy: Relieve Stress and Anxiety, Fight Depression, and Live Happier

Nita Sweeney Author Of Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running with My Dog Brought Me Back from the Brink (Running Can Be the Best Therapy for Depression)

From my list on why people run when not being chased.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a best-selling author featured in the Wall Street Journal, mental health advocate, certified meditation-leader, wife, and dog-mom. And I run. Every runner has heard, "I never run unless I'm being chased." Right. But runners don't run because we have to. We run because we can or, more often, because we must. It's a powerful mental health tool. I also write books: the award-winning running and mental health memoir, Depression Hates a Moving TargetYou Should Be Writing, and, available for preorder, Make Every Move a Meditation. I live in central Ohio with my husband and biggest fan, Ed, and our yellow Labrador Retriever, Scarlet.

Nita's book list on why people run when not being chased

Nita Sweeney Why did Nita love this book?

I love Running Is My Therapy because in it, best-selling author Scott Douglas gives us the science behind what I and most of the runners I’ve met have found: running boosts your mood. While I’m not the geeky research nerd he is, I love statistics and citations. Scott shares real world examples and backs them with studies showing why people feel better when they move. While I have my own experience of running, knowing the “good vibes” I felt during and after a run wasn’t just “in my head” (it’s in my brain), helped ground my experience in reality. Plus, Scott’s an excellent writer and a friend to the running community which makes his book even more of a joy to read.

By Scott Douglas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Running Is My Therapy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Longtime runner Scott Douglas marshals expert advice and a growing body of research to show how a consistent running routine can make us happier - and enhance the benefits of talk therapy, antidepressants, and cognitive behavioral therapy. The therapeutic power of running lies in its lasting physiological effects: It induces changes in brain structure and chemistry that other forms of exercise don't. Douglas presents methods we can all use to live happier - in and out of running shoes.


Book cover of Self-Esteem: A Proven Program of Cognitive Techniques for Assessing, Improving, and Maintaining Your Self-Esteem

Jennice Vilhauer Author Of Think Forward to Thrive: How to Use the Mind's Power of Anticipation to Transcend Your Past and Transform Your Life

From my list on improving your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a psychologist in Los Angeles specializing in helping people identify their blind spots and break the cycles of their past by retraining their mindset about the future. I developed a new treatment called Future Directed Therapy and I’ve been helping people build better lives for over 15 years. I’m very passionate about empowering my clients to find practical skills and tools for taking charge of their emotional health and achieving the things they want in life. I recommend these books to my clients on a regular basis and find inspiration in them for my own blog Living Forward which I write as a featured expert for Psychology Today

Jennice's book list on improving your life

Jennice Vilhauer Why did Jennice love this book?

I recommend this book to many of my clients because you create your life based on your perceived self-concept about who you are in the world. If you don’t feel good about who you are it’s hard to build a good life. This book is great because it applies the well-researched principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy to overcoming the inner critic and building a positive view of one’s self, creating the much-needed platform for transforming your life.

By Patrick Fanning, Matthew McKay,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Self-Esteem as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Circumstances and status can affect self-esteem-many factors can contribute to the way we see ourselves-but the one contributing factor that all people who struggle with low self-esteem have in common is our thoughts. Of course we all have a better chance of feeling good about ourselves when things are going well, but it's really our interpretation of our circumstances that can cause trouble, regardless of what they are.

This revised and updated fourth edition of the best-selling Self-Esteem uses proven-effective methods of CBT and relevant components of ACT to help you raise low self-esteem by working on the way you…


Book cover of Take Control of OCD: A Kid's Guide to Conquering Anxiety and Managing OCD

Dawn Huebner Author Of Outsmarting Worry: An Older Kid's Guide to Managing Anxiety

From my list on for older kids who worry too much.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Clinical Psychologist and the parent of a once-anxious child who grew up before I developed the expertise I now have, which means I did just about everything wrong. The silver lining, I guess, is that I see anxiety not only from a therapist’s perspective but also through the eyes of a child who is suffering and a parent who has no idea how to help. All of the books I have written, and all that I have recommended, speak respectfully to children and the adults reading with them about real struggles and real solutions. I feel privileged to be able to do this work.

Dawn's book list on for older kids who worry too much

Dawn Huebner Why did Dawn love this book?

While specific to OCD (versus anxiety more broadly), this is a gem of a book that needed to be included in a best-of listing. Like a really good CBT therapy session, the book walks tween and teen readers through the specifics of OCD including what it is, why it happens, and what to do about it. Exposure and Response Prevention (ER/P), the gold standard in the treatment of OCD, is given ample space here, with clear examples to help readers (with the support of an adult) figure out how to chip away at OCD. Plenty of therapists use this book as a guide, for good reason.

By Bonnie Zucker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Take Control of OCD as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Take Control of OCD: A Kid's Guide to Conquering Anxiety and Managing OCD is a must-have guide for kids and teens ages 10-16 with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder to help them take control and use their strengths to find success in school and in life. This fully updated second edition:

Uses a cognitive-behavioral therapy and exposure/response prevention method to stress gradual exposure to obsessive thinking patterns. Provides a step-by-step ladder-based process to help readers conquer their fears and demolish their worries. Helps kids change their obsessive thoughts, tolerate uncertainty, and develop positive self-talk and stress management. Also helps kids advocate for their…


Book cover of Power Your Mind: Tools to Build Resilience

Em Lyons Bouch Author Of Moving the Chains

From my list on to conquer anxiety.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born an anxious person and spent the first 18 years of my life trying to ignore panic attacks and anything to do with mental health. When I finally hit rock-bottom, I joined the CBT group Recovery International and discovered how freeing it was to be in control of my mental health. I now passionately talk and write about mental health, lead a weekly Recovery meeting, and teach CBT techniques to teens. Stigmatized portrayals of mental health in books - hospitalizations, suicide attempts, violent insanity, or being a pathetic burden - kept me from pursuing help, so I wrote my own novel with a positive, realistic take on anxiety and depression.

Em's book list on to conquer anxiety

Em Lyons Bouch Why did Em love this book?

I use this book with my teen groups and have seen them take control of their stress, drama, and anger. Power Your Mind takes the CBT tools and techniques that I love so much from Recovery International, and applies them to young people. The workbook features colorful comic pages and high school characters who apply the tools to situations relevant to modern teens. The conversational writing, journaling activities, and clear progression of the key concepts make the workbook perfect to do alone or in a group setting. 

By Abraham Low, Recovery International (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Power Your Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Power Your Mind is a simplified introduction to the Recovery Method, an evidence-based cognitive-behavioral program to help individuals manage symptoms of stress, anger, anxiety and depression. This workbook teaches life skills to control anger, alleviate anxiety, foster peaceful relationships at home, school, or work, and establish realistic expectations and beliefs. This program helps young people learn to gain control of themselves rather than being controlled by the people and events around them. Designed for teens and young adults, graphic novel pages and real-life situations teach tools for coping with everyday events that may trigger symptoms. It can be used as…


Book cover of Starving the Anxiety Gremlin: A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workbook on Anxiety Management for Young People

Dawn Huebner Author Of Outsmarting Worry: An Older Kid's Guide to Managing Anxiety

From my list on for older kids who worry too much.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Clinical Psychologist and the parent of a once-anxious child who grew up before I developed the expertise I now have, which means I did just about everything wrong. The silver lining, I guess, is that I see anxiety not only from a therapist’s perspective but also through the eyes of a child who is suffering and a parent who has no idea how to help. All of the books I have written, and all that I have recommended, speak respectfully to children and the adults reading with them about real struggles and real solutions. I feel privileged to be able to do this work.

Dawn's book list on for older kids who worry too much

Dawn Huebner Why did Dawn love this book?

This book manages to convey lots of information about anxiety without feeling overwhelming to tween readers, in part due to an effective layout and the use of workbook activities (quizzes, questionnaires, word searches, etc.) that encourage kids to personalize and practice what they are learning. Anxiety is externalized in the form of a gremlin, which readers are taught to recognize, challenge, and ultimately tame. There is the added bonus of a UK author – and plenty of British-isms - helping US readers remember the universality of anxiety.

By Kate Collins-Donnelly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Starving the Anxiety Gremlin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Children's Choice Winner at the School Library Association's Information Book Awards 2014

The Anxiety Gremlin loves one thing - to feed on your anxiety! But watch out, as the fuller he gets, the more anxious you get! How can you stop him? Starve him of his favourite food - your anxiety - and he'll shrink and shrivel away.

Starving the Anxiety Gremlin is a unique and award-winning resource to help young people understand different types of anxiety and how to manage them, including panic attacks, phobias, social anxiety, generalised anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. Based on cognitive behavioural principles that…


Book cover of The Borderline Personality Disorder Workbook: An Integrative Program to Understand and Manage Your Bpd

Jerold J. Kreisman Author Of Talking to a Loved One with Borderline Personality Disorder: Communication Skills to Manage Intense Emotions, Set Boundaries, and Reduce Conflict

From my list on understanding those with borderline personality.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a psychiatrist, I've had a special interest over the past forty years in working with patients with symptoms of BPD, preceding even the formalization of the diagnosis. I've been intrigued by these patients who often display enormous intelligence, creativity, and energy, yet are handicapped by emotions and behaviors that are out of their control. I established one of the early treatment centers specifically designed for their treatment. Where once these patients were stigmatized by professionals and others to be bothersome, untreatable, chronically suicidal, and to be avoided, I've witnessed great advancements in treatment approaches. We now appreciate that the vast majority of patients get better. It's been a privilege for me to participate in these advances.

Jerold's book list on understanding those with borderline personality

Jerold J. Kreisman Why did Jerold love this book?

This book is directed to someone who identifies with symptoms of BPD. It is a workbook with an emphasis on work! It is not designed to cure BPD, but to help the individual more productively address dysfunctional behavior. With scales and forms to fill out, the individual reader can confront specific problems.

By Daniel J. Fox,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Borderline Personality Disorder Workbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Introducing a breakthrough, integrative approach to managing your borderline personality disorder (BPD). If you've been diagnosed with BPD you may feel a number of emotions - including shock, shame, sadness, abandonment, emptiness, or even anger. Even worse, you may be tempted to research your diagnosis online, only to find doomsday scenarios and terrible prognoses everywhere you click. Take a deep breath. You can get through this - and this workbook will help guide you. Despite what you may have read or been told, BPD is not the worst thing that can happen to you. Like many mental health issues, it…


Book cover of Fear of Flying Workbook: Overcome Your Anticipatory Anxiety and Develop Skills for Flying with Confidence

Joshua Fletcher Author Of Untangle Your Anxiety: A Guide To Overcoming An Anxiety Disorder By Two People Who Have Been Through It

From my list on managing and overcoming anxiety disorders.

Why am I passionate about this?

A self-confessed anxiety disorder nerd, I have a deeper level of understanding beyond the textbooks and training. I grew up in Manchester, UK, and was once diagnosed with crippling anxiety; suffering from panic attacks, agoraphobia, health anxiety, and generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), as well as intrusive thoughts, obsessive-compulsive behaviours, and all the other fun stuff that comes with a nasty anxiety condition. I’m now a qualified psychotherapist and it is my mission to help as many people as I can recover from anxiety disorder and live happy, healthy lives.

Joshua's book list on managing and overcoming anxiety disorders

Joshua Fletcher Why did Joshua love this book?

An extensive and powerful read. Whilst it focuses on the fear of flying (including in-depth worksheets and exercises that you can start using straight away) David breaks down exactly how this fear came to be and what you can do to break the anxious cycle. Even if fear of flying is not something you struggle with, all of the information in this book can be applied to various anxiety disorders. A great source of psychoeducation! 

By David Carbonell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fear of Flying Workbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Leads readers step-by-step with proven techniques that finally make it possible to conquer their fear of flying

You’ve tried to face your fear of flying, but the harder you try to control it, the worse it gets. This book teaches how to work constructively with your brain so you can address your anxiety in different ways that truly help you let go of the fear.

Packed with hands-on exercises, this book helps you better understand both the anticipatory anxiety prior to a flight as well as the fear experienced on board—and provides the tools needed to successfully fill the role…


Book cover of What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Anxiety

Brenda Ponnay Author Of It's Not About You, Little Hoo!

From my list on for littles with anxiety.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm not really an expert on anxiety other than being an adult who suffers from it. I thought I was normal and everyone felt the way I did until I started looking for books to help my daughter with her panic attacks and I realized I have it too! I've since been diagnosed and lead a pretty great life with the help of therapy and medication. What parents share with their children during nightly story reading or on the couch to read a few books is very bonding and intimate. I think that's the best time for kids to ask their parents questions and share their emotions. My goal is to help those conversations happen.

Brenda's book list on for littles with anxiety

Brenda Ponnay Why did Brenda love this book?

This workbook has a wealth of helpful tips on how to deal with overwhelming anxiety. It’s written simply with great illustrations that really help littles figure out the scary world that surrounds them. I love the example of worries growing like tomato plants. If we want the worries to stop growing, we stop watering them! At the time my daughter was four and we had a huge over-producing tomato garden so this was a perfect illustration for both of us. We set up a time to talk about worries and we kept to that time limit. It helped both of us go through the anxiety instead of getting overwhelmed by it. There is no cure for anxiety and medication is not really an option for small children so dealing with it head-on was the only way that worked for us. This book really gave us both tools. It’s practical and…

By Dawn Huebner, Bonnie Matthews (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked What to Do When You Worry Too Much as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What to Do When You Worry Too Much is an interactive self-help book designed to guide 6-12 year olds and their parents through the cognitive-behavioral techniques most often used in the treatment of generalised anxiety. Engaging, encouraging, and easy to follow, this book educates, motivates, and empowers children to work towards change.

It includes a note to parents by psychologist and author Dawn Huebner, PhD.