Best Self-Help Books
A Short List of the Most Recommended
Self-Help Books by David Yarian, Ph.D.
I'm often asked to recommend self-help books; so much so that I have created this website with over 900 recommended books in 46 different categories.
Below are the books I find myself recommending most for specific issues. This is not an exhaustive list. Please consult The Directory of Self Help Books for more options.
This self-help book offers a focused way to deal with the agonizing decision about staying in, or getting out of a troubled relationship -- one critical issue at a time. The book is sympathetic and filled with anecdotes that show how other people have responded to similar problems. 1997, Plume Books
If you're always walking on eggshells around your partner, Stosny is writing for you. The CompassionPower founder and relationship expert draws examples and exercises from his experience working with couples as he discusses core values, anger management, resentment, power struggles, and reconstruction. 2008, Da CapoPress
An excellent and practical self-help book for people in the process of healing from addiction. It is in workbook form and provides structured exercises to help recovering people integrate the twelve steps into their lives. 1994, Hazelden
This guide, an alternative to abstinence-only programs, offers solace, support, information, and the skills you need to understand harm reduction and use it to make positive changes in your life. 2003, The Guilford Press
The ever-escalating costs of anger are well documented: sabotaging careers, alienating friends and family, triggering illness, causing bodily harm. Written bytwo well-regarded experts in the field, The Anger Control Workbook introduces a new and radically simplified approachto anger control. Step-by-step exercises will aid the reader in identifying, understanding, responding to and ultimately coping with their hostile feelings. 2000, New Harbinger
This major update of the best-selling self-help classic on anger management teaches readers to understand and manage episodes of uncontrolled anger. The book gives clear and concrete direction for things a person can do to begin to bring anger under control. 2005, New Harbinger Publications; 2nd edition
Bourne teaches specific self-help skills for overcoming problems with panic, anxiety and phobias. There is information on the appropriateuse of medications and herbal supplements. This is a practical and highly regarded self-help resource on thetreatment of anxiety. 2011, NewHarbinger
This book was a Pick of the Month Self-Help Book! Read David's full Book Review.
This compassionate self-help book teaches the principle of mindfulness to relieve a wide range of stress-related conditions. Mindfulness is receptive, non-judgmental, present- moment awareness, a state of focusing attention only on the here and now. The book teaches skills for calming and relaxing the mind and body. 2007, New Harbinger
This best-selling self-help workbook provides interactive exercises that help readers take responsibility for their own wellness. It teaches essential coping skills, such as tracking and controlling moods, building a support system, increasing self-confidence and self-esteem, avoiding conditions that can exacerbate mood swings, and using relaxation, diet and exercise to stabilize moods. Included is a step-by-step process to help readers develop their own plan for managing symptoms and staying well. 2002, New Harbinger
This is a ground-breaking self-help book for couples who want to prevent manic-depressive disorder from hijacking their relationship. Once medication has been prescribed, the key is studying the specific ways your partner is affected. This allows couples to develop proactive strategies for treating and stabilizing mood swings and symptoms, before they develop into full-blown crises. This book is an oasis of relief and hope. 2004, New Harbinger
The authors write, “a life shaken by depression is also a life open to the possibility of deep transformation.” This self-help book recommends a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and meditation. CBT teaches you to track your thoughts, observe behaviors, and notice how these affect depression. By changing thoughts and behaviors you learn how to change your emotions and mood. Meditation trains you to observe your life and thoughts. Both approaches help you identify and then change core beliefs that influence depression, thereby resulting in new core beliefs based on your values. 2004, New Harbinger
In this self-help book psychotherapist Richard O’Connor shows us how to “undo” depression, by replacing depressive patterns of thinking, relating, and behaving with a new and more effective set of skills. His approach is truly holistic, synthesizing the best of the many schools of thought about this painful disease. 2010, Little, Brown and Company
Millions of adults grew up with immature, self-absorbed parents who made their children responsible for their physical and emotional well-being, expected admiration and constant attention, and reacted with criticism and blame when their slightest need went unmet. In this accessible self-help book, Brown helps grown children come to terms with the results of such an upbringing, including tendencies to overcomply to others needs,withdraw when someone needs nurturing and lack self-esteem. 2008, New Harbinger
Hotchkiss explains how to cope with controlling and egotistical people who are incapable of the fundamental give and take that sustains healthy relationships. She shows how to recognize the hallmarks of unhealthy narcissism: shamelessness, magical thinking, arrogance, envy, entitlement, exploitation and bad boundaries. 2003, The Free Press
This self-help book presents a simple and effective four-step method for overcoming OCD. This method does not rely on medication but has been proven by brain imaging tests to actually alter the brain’s chemistry. Cognitive self-therapy and behavior modification are used to develop new patterns of response to obsessions. 1997, Regan Books
More than fifty percent of OCD sufferers experience agressive, religious, or sexual obsessive thoughts. This self-help book offers safe and effective exposure exercises readers can use to limit the effect that obsessive thoughts have on their lives. 2005, New Harbinger
This self-help workbook offers the most effective tools and strategies to help readers conquer trauma-related symptoms such as flashbacks, recurring memories, nightmares, frightening thoughts, emotional numbness, sleep disturbances, poor concentration, depression, anxiety, and irritability or outbursts of anger. Assessment tools help readers determine the type of trauma they experienced, identify their symptoms, and learn the most effective techniques and interventions they can use to overcome them. 2002, New Harbinger
This self-help book takes readers through a series of guided writing exercises that help them explore their feelings about difficult experiences. The approach is based upon the field of expressive emotions therapy (EET), developed by the author. The book stresses thoughout the healing power that lies in story-telling, whether through fiction, dance, or art. The reader is left with a strong sense of their value in the world. 2004, New Harbinger
The Courage to Heal
This self-help book is a classic resource for women who were sexually abused as children. Clearly written and filled with writing exercises and self-assessments, it is a reliable guide to the healing process from childhood sexual abuse. Many survivors’ stories are woven into the text. 2008, Harper Paperbacks, 20th Anniversary Edition
The Courage to Heal Workbook: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse
This is an inspiring self-help book for all women healing from the effects of child sexual abuse. It is in a workbook format, and includes checklists, writing and art projects, open-ended questions and activities which serve to guide the survivor through the healing process. 1990, Perennial Currents
The Drama of the Gifted Child: the Search for the True Self
This well-known and classic self-help book demonstrates how narcissistic parents unwittingly use their children to meet their own needs, thus negatively affecting the children’s development. By gifted, Miller means sensitive and alert to the needs of others; she believes that the sensitivity and empathy of gifted children predispose them to be used by people with narcissistic needs. This timely book has helped many people reclaim their lost childhoods. 1981, Basic Books
This book was a Pick of the Month Self-Help Book! Read David's full Book Review.
Author Elaine Aron says that highly sensitive persons make up 15-20% of the population. Because society rewards the out-going personality and treats shyness and sensitivity as problems to be overcome, sensitive people often struggle with self-esteem and self-confidence. This self-help book helps the sensitive person to recognize his or her strengths and to learn strategies for coping with social discomfort. 1999, Replica Books
Social anxiety disorder is the fear of situations that involve interaction with other people, ranging from anxiety before a scheduled public appearance to shyness that leads to withdrawal from contact at a casual social event. This self-help workbook is designed to help the reader overcome these paralyzing social phobias and provides skill-building exercises for improvement of communication, public speaking, and general anxiety. 2008, New Harbinger