Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) teaches us to control our thoughts and it’s considered the gold standard of treatment for most mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and eating disorders[*].
Are you looking to learn more about CBT? I’ve created this list of cognitive behavioral therapy books that will serve as helpful resources. These CBT books contain terminology, science-based techniques, and sample scenarios that will help you understand and apply them in your own life or therapy sessions.
20 Best Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Books in 2024
Note that these books on CBT therapy are not arranged in any specific order. However, I’ve added Judith S. Beck (the daughter of Aaron Beck, father of CBT) as the first author on the list.
1. Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Basics and Beyond — Judith S. Beck
This book is being used by hundreds of thousands of clinicians and graduate students. Written by Judith S. Beck, a master clinician, researcher, and daughter of Aaron Beck, it guides professionals on how to properly structure their therapy sessions and incorporate CBT techniques. Be sure to choose the third edition of this CBT book since it has new chapters on the therapeutic relationship and integrating mindfulness.
2. Retrain Your Brain: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in 7 Weeks — Seth J. Gillihan PhD
One of the best books on CBT available on Amazon, “Retrain Your Brain” is for anyone who needs help managing anxiety and depression through CBT. This resource is unique because it features a 7-week plan based on the author’s real-life strategy with his clients. It also includes real-life scenarios that readers can relate to. If you’re someone struggling with these mental health issues but you’re not seeing a therapist yet, consider getting this book.
3. Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts: A CBT-Based Guide to Getting Over Frightening, Obsessive, or Disturbing Thoughts — Sally M. Winston PsyD and Martin N. Seif PhD
Intrusive thoughts cannot be completely avoided, but they can be controlled with the help of CBT. In this therapist-recommended book, readers discover how intrusive thoughts work, why your previous strategies were not effective, and how you can finally overcome these thoughts for good. You’ll love that the information and exercises here are presented in a simple and understandable way.
4. CBT For Anxiety Disorders: A Practitioner Book — Gregoris Simos and Stefan G. Hofmann
This is the best cognitive behavioral therapy book for those who are currently practicing as therapists or planning to become one. There are plenty of research data and treatment strategies in this book that you can use for obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders, generalized anxiety disorder, specific phobias, and more.
5. Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think — Dennis Greenberger and Christine A. Padesky
According to the authors, “Mind Over Mood” has helped over 1.2 million readers use CBT for conditions like low self-esteem, guilt, shame, and panic attacks. Aaron Beck also recommends this book as “an effective tool that puts cognitive therapy in the hands of the reader.” It includes action plans and multiple worksheets that you can photocopy and reproduce for your personal or professional use in your therapy practice.
6. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Your route out of perfectionism, self-sabotage and other everyday habits — Avy Joseph
This is a newly revised version written by a CBT practitioner and counselor. It acknowledges the fact that change can be difficult, but by changing your views, you can move forward with your life and even reach your goals. As a beginner-friendly resource, it starts by providing a background of CBT and discusses healthy and unhealthy beliefs. Plus, it includes insights on staying mentally healthy in a post-pandemic world.
7. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Beginners: How To Use CBT To Overcome Anxieties, Phobias, Addictions, Depression, Negative Thoughts, And Other Problematic Disorders — Madison Taylor
Whether you’re struggling with anxiety, addiction, or negative thoughts, this book provides a good introduction to CBT. It’s not as detailed and comprehensive as the other books listed here, but if you need something to help you decide if CBT is right for you, this may help and leave you wanting to learn more.
8. Culturally Responsive Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Practice and Supervision — Gayle Iwamasa and Pamela Hays
It’s essential for clinicians to understand the relationship between a client’s background and the tools that are used during a session. Culturally Responsive Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a great book for understanding CBT as it applies to people of various ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds. It also introduces strategies for working with clients with different identities, such as individuals who are members of the LGBTQ+ community or differently abled.
9. Deliberate Practice in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy — James Boswell and Michael Constantino
Clinicians looking to enhance their skills and effectiveness in implementing CBT can benefit from “Deliberate Practice in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy” as a resource. This book explains how to deliberately practice the technique.
This book also includes many real-world examples anchored on research to empower clinicians to refine their CBT competencies for a more purposeful and focused approach to their practice. Professionals can expect to gain better client outcomes and achieve excellence in their field with this valuable text.
10. Learning Cognitive-Behavior Therapy: An Illustrated Guide — Jesse Wright, Gregory Brown, Michael Thase, and Monica Basco
Learning more about CBT is important for both patients and professionals alike. A more interactive approach is especially useful when learning about CBT, and “Learning Cognitive Behavior Therapy: An Illustrated Guide” provides just that. This book contains figures, charts, worksheets, and tables that make understanding CBT concepts a lot easier.
You can expect to learn about the fundamental principles of CBT in this book, including case conceptualization, assessment, and treatment planning. The many visual aids can enhance and facilitate the learning process. Whether you’re a practitioner or student, this illustrated guide is a great tool for mastering CBT.
11. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy — David Burns
This book introduces CBT to readers and provides practical techniques. If you are a reader looking for actionable strategies that can help you challenge negative thought patterns, manage emotions, and improve overall well-being, then this book is perfect for you.
At its core, “Feeling Good” is about how our thoughts play a crucial role in our emotional experiences. Dr. Burns focuses on cognitive distortions, which are habitual thinking patterns that contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety, and guides readers through practical techniques to challenge these distorted thoughts. This book is written in an engaging, reader-friendly style and empowers people to take an active role in their mental health journey.
12. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy – Michelle G. Craske
Having a systematic and clear approach to understanding CBT techniques is essential to executing them effectively. Michelle Craske does this by covering a wide range of topics in her book, including assessment, case conceptualization, and the application of CBT for various disorders.
This book is suitable for both students and experienced professionals with its easy-to-understand yet sophisticated writing. There is also a lot of recent research and developments in the field in Craske’s work as well as various case examples.
13. Handbook of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Overview and Approaches – Amy Wenzel PhD
This handbook comes in a two-set volume that brings together the contributions of experts in the field, which gives practitioners a wide range of perspectives and insights to draw upon. The first volume focuses on the foundations of CBT, including its history, theoretical underpinnings, core principles, and fundamental techniques. The second volume shows how CBT is applied to specialized areas and populations as well as different clinical contexts. This book is excellent for professionals who want to further extend their knowledge and apply CBT concepts in practice.
Price: $162.75 on Amazon
14. The CBT Toolbox: 185 Tools to Manage Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Behaviors & Stress — Jeff Riggenbach
Finding effective tools to manage mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, stress, anger, and other behaviors is crucial. “The CBT Toolbox” includes a collection of evidence-based CBT techniques that are designed to help individuals overcome their mental health challenges and live more empowered and fulfilling lives. It is a user-friendly book, making it perfect for both people who are new to CBT and those who are more familiar with it. “The CBT Toolbox” helps readers gain more self-awareness, develop better coping mechanisms, and take control of their mental well-being.
15. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Simple Techniques to Instantly Be Happier, Find Inner Peace, and Improve Your Life — Olivia Telford
We live in a modern world with fast-paced lives, resulting in the pursuit of happiness and inner peace as the aspiration of many individuals. This book by Olivia Telford gives readers a practical and accessible guide to achieving those aspirations through CBT. Techniques introduced in the book are designed to enhance well-being, foster personal growth, and promote emotional balance. Readers will also learn about the transformative power of CBT and how it can improve their thought patterns, help manage stress, and cultivate a more fulfilling life.
16. Trauma-Focused CBT for Children and Adolescents: Treatment Applications — Judith Cohen, Anthony Mannarino, and Esther Deblinger
Childhood and adolescence are both crucial phases of development, periods that can significantly shape a person’s future well-being. Unfortunately, these critical years can also be negatively impacted by traumatic experiences. This is where tools such as “Trauma-Focused CBT for Children and Adolescents: Treatment Applications” come in. This clinical guide allows clinicians to build upon trauma-focused CBT (TF-CBT) to treat PTSD and other related symptoms. Therapists working with children and adolescents, especially those who have experienced trauma, can take advantage of the book’s practical, step-by-step strategies to contribute to the healing of their clients.
17. Show Your Anxiety Who’s Boss: A 3-Step CBT Program to Help You Reduce Anxious Thoughts and Worry – Joel Minden
Anxiety can paralyze us and make it seemingly impossible to take action. This book by Joel Minden introduces a three-step program to help individuals overcome their anxious thoughts, empowering them to move forward despite uncertainty and giving them the power to face their fears. This book is perfect for professionals who are working with clients with anxiety as well as individuals who constantly deal with anxious thoughts.
18. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple: 10 Strategies for Managing Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Panic, and Worry — Seth Gillihan
We are faced with mental health challenges every single day, whether that’s dealing with negative thought patterns or managing a condition like depression or anxiety. When it comes to psychotherapy treatments, CBT is usually the first line of defense for managing common issues. Seth Gillihan makes this book easy to read by replacing technical language with quick and accessible techniques that can be used as needed. This resource is excellent at promoting personal growth as individuals overcome their challenges and improve their well-being.
19. Change Your Thinking: Overcome Stress, Combat Anxiety and Improve Your Life with CBT — Sarah Edelman
Sometimes our thoughts and emotions can be more complicated than we can manage. “Change Your Thinking” draws on the principles of CBT and offers practical suggestions for more effective communication strategies and ways to find happiness. Readers will learn how to use CBT to develop more realistic thought patterns and respond better to upsetting emotions. You can also learn how to deal with feelings of anger, depression, anxiety, and frustration in a more rational way. This book is best for people who are looking to change their thinking and their lives for the better.
20. Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder — Marsha Linehan
Certain mental health conditions can especially benefit from CBT. Borderline personality disorder is one such condition that is treated primarily using a branch of CBT called dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). This book provides a comprehensive approach to treating emotional dysregulation, not only for borderline personality disorder but also for other disorders. Clinicians can use this book as a guide for treating complex cases, while its companion volumes provide additional resources for teaching mindfulness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance skills.
More Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Resources
Change the way you think or help your patients improve their thinking by reading at least one of these cognitive behavioral therapy books this year. Before getting one for yourself, make sure to research the topics covered in each book and what customers are saying.
For more CBT resources, check out our CBT worksheets. Our worksheets provide visual and written engagement to support different modalities of learning, which can enhance traditional talk or play therapy.
- Leichsenring F & Steinert C. Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy the Gold Standard for Psychotherapy? The Need for Plurality in Treatment and Research. 10 October 2017.
As a parent of a child with autism, I’ve found cognitive behavioral therapy books to be invaluable resources. They have helped me and my son’s support worker for autism (https://theadventureteam.com.au/) understand and apply CBT strategies in our daily lives, improving my child’s anxiety and behaviors. These books empower parents to support their children’s mental health journey effectively.