31 Best Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Books In (2021)

9 min read

Cognitive behavioral therapy — or CBT — is a proven psychotherapy approach that aims to help people overcome psychological challenges by changing their negative thoughts and mental habits.

Cognitive therapy can help with many mental health issues, including but not limited to:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Social anxiety
  • Personality disorders
  • Self-harm
  • PTSD
  • Bipolar
  • Psychosis

The great thing about CBT techniques is that they can be used both in a therapeutic setting and independently by the client.

In this article, I will round up the 31 best cognitive behavioral therapy for both clinicians and people who want to treat themselves using CBT.

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The 31 Best Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Books

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In no particular order, this list will cover:

  • The 9 best cognitive behavioral therapy books for learning CBT as a therapist
  • The 6 best Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Books for Helping Clients with Anxiety, Depression and Other Mental Illnesses
  • The 9 best Self-Help CBT Books
  • The 5 best CBT books for children and teens
  • And 2 other CBT tools

9 Best Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Books for Learning CBT as a Therapist

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#1. The Comprehensive Clinician’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy by Leslie Sokol and Marci Fox

This comprehensive guide provides the most up-to-date information on CBT practices, making it essential for any practitioner’s bookshelf.

It contains exercises, worksheets, step-by-step plans, and coping cards to help you guide your clients through their healing process.

It breaks the vast and complex topic of CBT practice down into specific therapist behaviors and skills and is great for enhancing your skills as a therapist.

#2. ACT Made Simple by Russ Harris

Acceptance and commitment therapy — or ACT — is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy that focuses on mindfulness, values, and commitment to change. 

This practical primer is great for new practitioners or ordinary people who are looking for tools to deal with mental health issues. 

It contains scripts, exercises, metaphors, and a session-by-session guide to implementing ACT.

#3. Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Basics and Beyond by Judith S. Beck

This book is an essential read for clinicians and graduate students who want to improve their CBT practice. 

Two extended client cases — one with severe depression and the other with depression, anxiety, and borderline personality — illustrate the practical advice on structuring and delivering a CBT treatment plan.

#4. The CBT Toolbox by Jeff Riggenbach

This workbook for clinicians and clients contains evidence-based exercises that can be used in a therapeutic setting or independently by the client.

These practical exercises will help your clients identify psychological triggers, dismiss dysfunctional thinking, and remain calm in stressful situations.

#5. CBT Workbook for CBT Therapists in Training by Dr. James Manning and Dr. Nicola Ridgeway

This book is designed for CBT therapists in training and clinicians who want to improve their CBT skills.

It contains a wide range of worksheets that you can copy and use with your clients.

#6. CBT for Anxiety by Kimberly Morrow and Elizabeth Dupont Spencer

This workbook is a step-by-step training guide for therapists who wish to enhance their clinical skills in working with anxious clients.

It provides tools and exercises that can help your clients find relief from anxiety while growing as a clinician.

#7. Let’s Think About Feelings: Tools for Child-Friendly CBT by Marcie Yaeger LCSW and Daniel Yaeger LCSW

This book is specifically designed for clinicians who already have solid background knowledge of CBT and are interested in learning about using CBT with children.

It includes tools to help children identify emotions and stressors and regulate their emotional behavior.

#8. CBT for Chronic Pain and Psychological Well-Being by Mark Carlson

This book contains a session-by-session outline for treating patients with chronic pain using CBT.

This evidence-based skills training manual is the first of its kind in the field of chronic pain and mental health.

#9. Doing CBT: A Comprehensive Guide to Working with Behaviors, Thoughts, and Emotions by David F. Tolin

This introductory guide to CBT explains the core concepts and techniques for helping clients who are struggling with psychological issues.

It includes three extensive case studies, plus worksheets and exercises you can use with your patients.

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6 Best Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Books for Helping Clients with Anxiety, Depression and Other Mental Disorders

#1. CBT For Anxiety Disorders: A Practitioner Book by Gregoris Simos and Stefan G. Hoffman

This book contains up-to-date information and developments regarding CBT research, making it an excellent reference for CBT practitioners and students.

It summarizes state-of-the-art CBT approaches for treating anxiety disorders.

#2. Treatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety Disorders by Dr. Robert L. Leahy, Dr. Stefan J.F. Holland, and Dr. Lata K. McGinn

Aimed at clinicians, this book provides an introduction to the six main anxiety disorders and instructions for evidence-based assessment and intervention.

It also includes worksheets and therapist’s forms, making it a comprehensive guide to treating anxiety using a CBT approach.

#3. The Anxiety, Worry, and Depression Workbook by Jennifer L. Abel

This interactive workbook is backed by over 25 years of clinical experience by the author and can be used by laypeople or clinicians. 

It includes strategies for worry, anxiety, depression, procrastination, perfectionism, and more, and the Therapist Guide can help your clients go deeper into their healing.

#4. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Worksheets by Lawrence Shapiro

This workbook contains over 65 CBT worksheets that you can use with your clients. 

Dr. Shapiro specializes in child psychology and has created over one hundred therapeutic games, so therapists working with younger patients may find this book helpful.

#5. Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD by Patricia A. Resick, Candice M. Monson, and Kathleen M. Chard

Aimed at clinicians working with PTSD patients, this book is the culmination of more than 25 years of research and clinical work.

Cognitive processing therapy — or CPT — is a specific type of CBT for dealing with trauma and was developed by the book’s authors.

#6. The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety by William J. Knaus

This book offers a practical, step-by-step program that you can use to treat clients with anxiety.

It combines evidence-based CBT treatment methods with rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) techniques based on cutting-edge research.

9 Best CBT Self-Help Books

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#1. The Anxiety and Worry Workbook by Dr. David A. Clark and Dr. Aaron Beck

This book received the title “Self-help Book of Merit” from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) and is based on over 25 years of clinical research.

The worksheets and exercises teach you how to overcome anxiety using CBT techniques and can be done alone or with a therapist.

#2. Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts: A CBT-Based Guide to Getting Over Frightening, Obsessive, or Disturbing Thoughts by Sally M. Winston and Martin N. Seif

This CBT self-help book is written by two anxiety experts and aims to help you overcome anxiety by addressing the thoughts that cause it.

It was selected as an Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Self-Help Book Recommendation for its consistency with CBT principles and incorporation of scientifically-tested strategies.

#3. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple by Seth J. Gillihan

This Amazon number one best seller makes a great complimentary guide for anyone undertaking cognitive therapy with the help of a therapist. 

It condenses cognitive behavioral theory into practical CBT techniques that can improve your mental health.

#4. Heart, Breath, Mind by Dr. Leah Lagos

This CBT self-help book provides an evidence-based 10-week program focusing on the link between body and mind. 

Dr. Lagos combines exercises and breathing techniques for relieving the physical symptoms of stress in the body with cognitive behavioral therapy exercises.

#5. The Generalized Anxiety Disorder Workbook by Melisa Robichaud and Michel J. Dugas

This comprehensive workbook contains CBT exercises for people suffering from generalized anxiety disorder that aim to help relieve symptoms such as fatigue and lack of concentration.

#6. Good Morning, Monster by Catherine Gildiner

In this book, therapist Catherine Gildiner shares the stories of what she calls her five most heroic and memorable patients.

It offers a behind-the-scenes look inside the therapist’s office and shows us that, with the help of therapy, even the deepest wounds can be healed.

#7. The Pain Management Workbook by Rachel Zoffness

If you’re suffering from chronic pain, this is the CBT book for you.

This groundbreaking workbook takes a scientifically-backed biopsychosocial approach to pain that will help you reduce your reliance on medication and break the pain cycle.

#8. Couples Therapy Workbook By David Filipe

This book for couples takes a CBT-based approach to couples therapy. It’s aimed at anyone who wants to save their relationship or has a good relationship but feels it could be better.

It helps you get to the underlying issues that are difficult to address on your own and will improve communication and understanding between you and your partner.

#9. Cognitive Behavioral 2nd Edition by Harry James

This book is helpful for people suffering from anxiety, addiction, or anger issues, as well as those struggling with their weight. 

Author Harry James will help you reexamine your past, overcome current obstacles, and set goals for the future.

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5 Best CBT Books for Children and Teens

#1. CBT Toolbox for Children and Adolescents by Lisa Phifer

This book contains hundreds of exercises, activities, and worksheets to help children and adolescents deal with problems such as: 

  • ADHD
  • Trauma
  • Conduct disorders
  • Autism
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Written by clinicians and teachers, it shows you how to adapt CBT best practices to young people.

#2. The CBT Workbook for Kids by Dr. Heather Davidson

This workbook contains over 40 exercises for children so they can stop worrying and start enjoying themselves again.

It teaches kids helpful skills, such as expressing feelings and dealing with anger and relaxation strategies, as well as stories from other children about how they deal with issues such as anxiety.

#3. Feeling Better: the CBT Workbook for Teens

Help teens deal with the stresses of growing up with this workbook, whether you’re a parent or clinician working with adolescents.

It contains interactive exercises that will teach them how to overcome obstacles at school, home, work, or with friends. 

#4. CBT Toolbox for Depressed, Anxious, and Suicidal Children and Adolescents by David Pratt

Dr. Pratt has developed the exercises in this book, which contains over 220 worksheets and therapist’s tips, during the course of his 40-year career.

It’s a great resource for clinicians and parents that can help children and younger teens overcome anxiety and depression, improve their social skills, and make the most of life.

#5. Starving the Anxiety Gremlin by Kate Collins-Donnelly

This book is designed to help children understand what anxiety is, what causes it, and how they can overcome it. 

The author personifies anxiety as a gremlin, which they learn to stop feeding using proven cognitive therapy techniques.

2 Other CBT Tools

#1. The CBT Deck by Seth J. Gillihan

This deck consists of 101 cards, each of which presents a concept and accompanying exercise from Dr. Gillihan’s “Think, Act, Be” model.

Patients undergoing CBT may find it useful to pull a random card each day or look for a specific theme or topic to work on.

#2. CBT Counseling and Coaching Card Deck by Jeff Riggenbach

CBT coaches and clinicians love using these cards to inspire thoughtful conversations with their clients. 

They contain five categories: Breaking the Blues, Anecdotes for Anxiety, Relationship Remedies, Personal Growth, and Motivational Message.

I hope you enjoyed this list of the 31 best CBT books and resources.

Whether you’re a clinician wanting to enhance your CBT skills or an ordinary person looking for ways to cope with the challenges of life, hopefully, you found something that works for you.

And if you read one of these books, please leave your review in the comments!

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