Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) has gained more attention in the past few years thanks to social media. Therapists are diving deeper into the practice, but they are not alone; parents, teens, and even friends of individuals with mental health conditions are learning more about DBT. While social media is a great medium to learn more about this type of therapy, DBT books provide a more comprehensive view. Here are 10 of the best DBT books in 2023 that professionals, patients, and family members can read.
The Best Dialectical Behavior Therapy Books
1. Best Book for Professionals: DBT Skills Training Manual - Marsha M. Linehan, Ph.D.
If there’s any DBT book that professionals can learn plenty from, it’s the DBT Skills Training Manual, written by none other than Dr. Marsha M. Linehan. This book provides essential resources for putting DBT skills into practice. It has lecture notes, handouts, and worksheets that can be used in therapy. This book has also gone under constant revisions to reflect any clinical developments and significant research. DBT Skills Training Manual also has comprehensive directions for introducing clients to DBT.
2. Best Book for Highly Sensitive Persons: The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You - Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D.
While most people can feel overstimulated every once in a while, for some individuals, it’s a way of life. Highly sensitive persons can benefit from DBT, and Dr. Elaine N. Aron’s book The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You is a perfect guide. This book will show you how to identify if you are a highly sensitive person and how to make the most of it in everyday situations.
3. Best Book for Couples: The High Conflict Couple: A Dialectical Behavior Therapy Guide to Finding Peace, Intimacy, and Validation - Alan E. Fruzzetti, Ph.D.
All relationships go through difficulties, but it is possible to harness the techniques of DBT to help resolve conflicts that may arise. The High Conflict Couple allows couples to tame emotions that flare up in their relationship through relationship management skills such as negotiation. DBT in this context can help couples find true acceptance and closeness with one another.
4. Best Book for Clients with Eating Disorders: The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook For Bulimia - Ellen Astrachan-Fletcher, Ph.D. and Michael Maslar, Psy.D.
The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for Bulimia is an excellent book that provides refreshing and healthy approaches. These can can help individuals overcome the upsetting emotions and self-perceptions that come with the cycle of eating disorders. There are exercises and worksheets that help with emotional control and breaking one’s bulimia dependency. This was exceptional enough to earn The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Self-Help Seal of Merit, which is given to DBT self-help books that adhere to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and provide excellent methods for resolving mental health issues.
5. Best Book for Adult Clients: DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets - Marsha M. Linehan
If the DBT Skills Training Manual is best for professionals, then its counterpart, DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, is an excellent tool for adult clients. DBT has been shown to be effective in treating various conditions, whether it’s borderline personality disorder or other psychological and emotional issues [*]. It features more than 200 user-friendly worksheets and handouts that clients can use to get access to tools for their particular needs.
6. Best Book for Parents: Parenting A Child Who Has Intense Emotions: Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills To Help Your Child Regulate Emotional Outbursts And Aggressive Behaviors - Pat Harvey LCSW-C
Parenting a child or a teen with strong emotions can be quite challenging. This is one of the DBT books for parents that is especially helpful as it provides tools to help teens in managing their emotions. Parents will learn how to control their own emotions in order to get through the trying times of supporting their child’s development. They will also learn how to help teens make informed decisions about dealing with intense emotions and assist them in becoming more aware of their feelings. Being able to teach teens the proper coping mechanisms will have a positive and long-lasting effect on their future. For any parent reading, this is a must!
7. Best Book for Clients with Bipolar Disorder: The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for Bipolar Disorder: Using DBT to Regain Control of Your Emotions & Your Life - Sheri Van Dijk, MSW
Living with bipolar disorder can be especially challenging. You may have developed your own coping mechanisms to deal with recurring depressive and manic episodes. If you feel like you’ve been at the mercy of your emotions, then this book is the one for you. The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for Bipolar Disorder can help you use your coping skills with an effective type of therapy (DBT). It will help you live well, even with bipolar disorder.
8. Best Book for Clients with BPD: The Borderline Personality Disorder Workbook - Daniel J. Fox, Ph.D.
Receiving a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder can be painful to accept. People who find out they have BPD may often feel sadness, shame, and even shock. Rather than turning to online resources to look up more information about your diagnosis, you may find more accurate and useful information in the best DBT books. The Borderline Personality Disorder Workbook gives an integrated approach to treating BPD. It uses evidence-based DBT, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and interpersonal therapy. Since there is no one-size-fits-all solution to borderline personality disorder, this workbook is a valuable resource that meets you where you are.
9. Best Book for Teens: The Self-Esteem Workbook for Teens: Activities to Help You Build Confidence and Achieve Your Goals - Lisa M. Schab LCSW
Teen years are a challenging time. It’s easy to be self-conscious and worried about what others may think of you, which can then affect your self-esteem. The Self-Esteem Workbook for Teens will teach you how to have a healthier and more realistic view of yourself. Teens will learn how to assess their strengths and weaknesses while respecting themselves. The book also covers the very important difference between self-esteem and being self-centered or selfish. It also teaches teens how to develop the quiet and peaceful inner acceptance and humility of true self-esteem.
10. Best Book for Family Members: The Burden of Sympathy: How Families Cope With Mental Illness - David A. Karp
Often, our family wants nothing more than to understand us in our most difficult moments. This book can help family members deal with individuals who have mental health conditions. David Karp emphasizes the importance of drawing what he calls “boundaries of sympathy” to ensure that family members are not overwhelmed by the day-to-day difficulties of a loved one with a mental illness. It can help family members strike a balance between helping their loved one and drawing healthy boundaries.
More Dialectical Behavior Therapy Resources
These DBT books for therapists, clients, and family members are valuable resources that allow for a more thorough understanding of DBT.
Aside from books, there are other ways to learn more about DBT, such as with DBT worksheets. These can be used during therapy or outside of sessions to learn more about DBT and practice its concepts.
- Tan M, McConnell B, Barlas J. Application of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy in treating common psychiatric disorders: study protocol for a scoping review. 26 September 2022.