Updated: Sep 7
Find the right resources for learning and teaching cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT.
You may have heard that cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is the be-all end-all of treating mental health issues. While I don’t think it’s necessarily right for every situation, I can’t argue too much with that sentiment.
In my experience, people who are dealing with particular issues like anxiety or post-traumatic stress (PTSD) respond well to CBT strategies. This is especially true if they work with a therapist who is trained and stays on track.
Other conditions, such as depression or other mood disorders, may be a bit trickier to treat with talk therapy. However, certain elements of CBT such as behavioral experiments (testing out assumptions) or activation (pushing yourself to do something different) can work well with these challenges too.
Here are 10 CBT books with that in mind. They range from self-help books to those meant just for clinicians, to a combination of both.
You can use these recommendations to get started and find the right tools for you. I’ve also included links to our related resources that can support the use of CBT.
4. Exploring Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Basics and Beyond 5. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Simple Techniques to Instantly Be Happier, Find Inner Peace, and Improve Your Life 6. When Harley Has Anxiety: A Fun CBT Skills Activity Book to Help Manage Worries and Fears 7. Trauma-Focused CBT for Children and Adolescents: Treatment Applications 8. Anxiety Relief for Teens: Essential CBT Skills and Self-Care Practices to Overcome Anxiety and Stress 9. The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety: A Step-By-Step Program 10. Retrain Your Brain: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in 7 Weeks: A Workbook for Managing Depression and Anxiety
1. Finding Peace from PTSD: The New Science of Healing Trauma Symptoms
If you don’t mind, I’ll start with my own book. I wrote it following years of frustration when meeting clients who had been told there was nothing they could really do about their PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). They had been taught that at best they could learn to manage symptoms, but would have to live with them for life.
Through my own training, research, and experience, I found that in the majority of cases, that just isn’t true. I wanted to share both my professional experiences and technical expertise after relating to using CBT to address PTSD and related symptoms.
It focuses on using CBT for trauma and PTSD, covering the most popular techniques used by experts around the world. Topics include mindfulness, managing anxiety, identifying negative thinking patterns, addressing guilt and shame around trauma, and moving towards a more fulfilling, peaceful, and meaningful life.
There are a handful of CBT therapies that focus on trauma, and most of them use this equation to treat PTSD. I get into more details about that in the book, while also providing case examples and specific techniques to begin to challenge symptoms that are interfering with a happy life.
How CBT effective treats PTSD
Managing daily anxiety
Identifying your symptoms
Expressing and managing emotions
Addressing self-defeating thought patterns
Facing safe fears
Writing you story
Redefining your past
Moving forward with purpose
Finding Peace from PTSD is unique in that it combines realistic case studies with the science and specific steps that CBT trauma therapists use.
It’s a helpful book for those suffering from symptoms to understand how they can get better, and for clinicians interested in using CBT concepts in therapy. It’s great for beginners or seasoned clinicians. There are also accompanying worksheets available.
2. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
Depression is a complex and challenging condition that affects millions of people worldwide. CBT is one powerful tool in the fight against depression.
It’s a proven approach that helps individuals reframe their thoughts and develop healthier emotional responses. In his book Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, Dr. David D. Burns introduces readers to CBT and provides practical techniques.
Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy is a staple in the field of mental health. It offers actionable strategies to challenge negative thought patterns, manage emotions, and improve overall well-being.
Written in an engaging and reader-friendly style, the book empowers individuals to take an active role in their mental health journey.
At the heart of "Feeling Good" is the idea that our thoughts play a pivotal role in our emotional experiences. Dr. Burns focuses on the concept of cognitive distortions—habitual patterns of thinking that contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety.
He explains how these distortions can lead to a cycle of negative emotions and behaviors.
The book then guides readers through practical techniques to identify and challenge these distorted thoughts. Dr. Burns introduces the "Three Column Technique," a method that involves writing down a negative thought, categorizing the cognitive distortion, and creating a balanced response.
This exercise helps individuals gain perspective and reframe their thoughts in a more rational and compassionate manner.
Understanding Cognitive Distortions
Specific distortions, such as catastrophizing
Challenging Negative Thoughts
The three-column technique
Thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and their connection
Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy is a timeless resource for anyone seeking to overcome depression and improve their emotional well-being. You can find the book on Amazon.
3. The CBT Toolbox: 185 Tools to Manage Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Behaviors & Stress
In a world where mental health struggles are becoming increasingly prevalent, finding effective tools to manage conditions such as anxiety, depression, anger, behaviors, and stress is crucial.
The CBT Toolbox, Second Edition: 185 Tools to Manage Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Behaviors & Stress, authored by expert Jeff Riggenbach includes a collection of CBT techniques designed to empower individuals to overcome their mental health challenges and lead more fulfilling lives.
It focuses on using evidence-based techniques from CBT. The book is structured to provide readers with accessible tools and strategies to manage their conditions and build resilience.
Its user-friendly approach makes it suitable for both those new to CBT and individuals already familiar with it. By engaging with the book's 185 tools, readers can gain greater self-awareness, develop coping mechanisms, and take control of their mental well-being.
Connection between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
Anxiety Management Tools
Mindfulness and Grounding Techniques
The CBT Toolbox is a valuable resource with practical tools for anxiety, depression, anger, behaviors, and stress.
By incorporating many of the 185 evidence-based techniques rooted in CBT, readers can gain insights into their thought patterns, develop coping mechanisms, and take charge of their mental health journey.
Whether you're new to CBT or looking to deepen your understanding, this book provides a roadmap for fostering emotional well-being and building a more fulfilling life. You can shop it on Amazon.
4. Exploring Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Basics and Beyond
Another notable resource in the field is Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Second Edition: Basics and Beyond authored by Judith S. Beck, an CBT guru. This book is widely recognized for its comprehensive insights into the principles and application of CBT.
The book offers a detailed exploration of the foundations and practical techniques of CBT. It serves as a resource for both mental health practitioners and individuals interested in understanding CBT. It provides strategies, case studies, and relatable examples to facilitate a deeper understanding of CBT's potential for therapeutic change.
You may recognize the name Beck and assume the author is related to Aaron Beck, the father of CBT. If you did so, you’d be right. His daughter Judith has ushered CBT into modern times, embracing the next wave of talk therapy. Shop the book on Amazon.
5. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Simple Techniques to Instantly Be Happier, Find Inner Peace, and Improve Your Life
In our modern, fast-paced lives, the pursuit of happiness and inner peace is a universal aspiration. The book Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Simple Techniques to Instantly Be Happier, Find Inner Peace, and Improve Your Life by Olivia Telford offers a practical and accessible guide to achieving these goals through CBT.
It presents many straightforward techniques designed to enhance well-being, promote emotional balance, and foster personal growth.
As a concise yet impactful manual, it introduces readers to the transformative potential of CBT. Through clear explanations and step-by-step instructions, readers can learn about their thought patterns, managing stress, and cultivating a more fulfilling life.
Introduction to CBT
Identifying Cognitive Distortions
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Simple Techniques to Instantly Be Happier, Find Inner Peace, and Improve Your Life can help readers find more happiness, inner peace, and personal growth. Shop the book on Amazon.
6. When Harley Has Anxiety: A Fun CBT Skills Activity Book to Help Manage Worries and Fears
The world of children's literature has a unique ability to address and ease complex emotional issues in ways that resonate with kids. When Harley Has Anxiety: A Fun CBT Skills Activity Book to Help Manage Worries and Fears is written by Regine Galanti and illustrated by Vicky Lommatzsh.
It’s designed to introduce children to CBT techniques through relatable characters and engaging activities.
When Harley Has Anxiety blends storytelling and interactive activities to provide young readers with essential tools to manage worries and fears. Through the experiences of the relatable character Harley, children can learn valuable skills to cope with anxiety, setting the stage for a foundation of emotional well-being.
Understanding Anxiety for Children
Cognitive Restructuring for Kids
Facing Fears Gradually
Mindfulness and Grounding
When Harley Has Anxiety: A Fun CBT Skills Activity Book to Help Manage Worries and Fears is a potentially powerful resource for supporting kids with anxiety. Through the experiences of Harley, children learn valuable skills to manage anxiety and fears, creating lifelong coping skills.
This book serves as a helpful companion for parents, educators, and caregivers looking to provide young minds with the tools they need to navigate life now and in the future. Shop the book on Amazon.
7. Trauma-Focused CBT for Children and Adolescents: Treatment Applications
Childhood and adolescence are critical phases of development, often shaping a person's future well-being. Unfortunately, these important years can be disrupted by traumatic experiences. How kids are supported in their healing makes all the difference.
Trauma-Focused CBT for Children and Adolescents: Treatment Applications is a clinical guide about the leading approach to help children and adolescents heal from trauma. It’s used by instructors and clinicians as they learn and build upon TF-CBT to treat PTSD and related symptoms.
Trauma-Focused CBT for Children and Adolescents: Treatment Applications is edited by Judith Cohen and other experts within the field.
Through case studies, practical strategies, and step-by-step guidance, the book empowers therapists to provide effective trauma-informed care that promotes healing and resilience in children and adolescents.
Understanding Childhood Trauma
Basics of TF-CBT
Coping Skills Development
Parent and Caregiver Involvement
Safety and Stabilization
Assessment and Monitoring
The authors have also developed workbooks Your Very Own TF-CBT Workbook for Kids, and the workbook Dealing with Trauma: A TF-CBT Workbook for Teens.
All of the books are meant to be used within the context of TF-CBT training and supervision. You can learn more about training here, or purchase the ebook or audio version of the parent book on treatment applications on Amazon.
8. Anxiety Relief for Teens: Essential CBT Skills and Self-Care Practices to Overcome Anxiety and Stress
The teen years can be both exhilarating and horrifying, with challenges around identity, relationships, and responsibilities. Excessive anxiety and stress can cast shadows on even the most positive experiences.
Anxiety Relief for Teens: Essential CBT Skills and Self-Care Practices to Overcome Anxiety and Stress by Regine Galanti offers teens helpful tools to manage and overcome these emotional hurdles.
The book on teens and anxiety helps readers and their loved ones with essential skills from CBT. It’s a well-crafted blend of psychoeducation, practical exercises, and self-care practices.
Mindfulness and Relaxation
Exposure and Response Prevention
Social Skills and Communication
Goal Setting and Problem Solving
Anxiety Relief for Teens: Essential CBT Skills and Self-Care Practices to Overcome Anxiety and Stress empowers teens. Through its comprehensive approach, teens are not only supported in managing anxiety, but in living a happier, more peaceful life overall. You can purchase the book on Amazon.
9. The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety: A Step-By-Step Program
With the right tools and techniques, it's possible to overcome anxiety’s grip and lead a more fulfilling life.
The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety: A Step-By-Step Program by William J. Knaus offers readers a structured and comprehensive approach to managing anxiety through CBT.
The popular book presents a detailed and accessible program rooted in CBT principles, guiding readers through managing and overcoming anxiety.
It has a structured framework, practical exercises, and real-world examples to help develop a deeper understanding of their anxiety and how to deal with it.
Overview of CBT
Exposure and Response Prevention
Mindfulness and Relaxation
Self-Care and Lifestyle Changes
Building a Support Network
By blending CBT principles with practical exercises, this workbook empowers readers to take control of their mental well-being and rewrite their relationship with anxiety. Shop it on Amazon.
10. Retrain Your Brain: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in 7 Weeks
Depression and anxiety are two of the most prevalent mental health challenges today. Retrain Your Brain: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in 7 Weeks: A Workbook for Managing Depression and Anxiety by Seth J. Gillihan offers readers a structured approach to overcoming these challenges.
This is informative workbook designed to help people manage anxiety and depression with CBT techniques. As you might imagine, it includes a seven-week program where readers are introduced to a range of tools and exercises focused on recognizing and challenging beliefs.
Progressive muscle relaxation
Gratitude and Positive Reinforcement
Retrain Your Brain: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in 7 Weeks: A Workbook for Managing Depression and Anxiety provides a focused and organized approach to CBT.
Whether you're facing these challenges for the first time or seeking effective strategies to enhance your mental health you can reclaim control over your thoughts, feelings, and life. Find it on Amazon.
Looking for More Resources?
Are you a professional looking for tools for CBT and related topics? Perhaps you’re struggling to find the right activities or resources for your clients.
Check out our Giant Store Bundle, full of our many therapy games, activities, and more. You’ll find CBT worksheets, activities for adults and kids, printable board games, guides, and more.