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Best CBT Books for Anxiety: Top Recommendations by Therapists

Best CBT Books for Anxiety: Top Recommendations by Therapists

Anxiety is a common mental health issue that affects 4% of the global population according to the World Health Association (WHO). With a variety of treatments available including medication, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has become a popular way to treat anxiety by identifying and changing negative thought patterns that lead to more positive outcomes. While therapy with a mental health professional is recommended, not everyone has access to these services. Therefore, many people opt for CBT books for anxiety. 

CBT books are a cost-effective and convenient way to learn about CBT techniques and how to apply them to everyday life. They have become a go-to resource for individuals seeking for self-help or as a supplement to therapy. The best CBT books for anxiety offer evidence-based strategies, easy-to-understand language and relatable examples to manage anxiety symptoms and improve overall mental health. 

Anxiety is not a quick fix, making it critical to choose the right CBT books to treat your symptoms. Look for books that are written by licensed mental health professionals who are well-versed with the condition. The book should also align with the reader’s specific needs and goals. Some books may focus on a specific anxiety disorder such as social anxiety, while others may provide a general overview of CBT techniques. 

To help you make the right choice, we have gathered the best CBT books for anxiety recommended by mental health professionals. You can use these comprehensive guides to help you find the right tools to manage your anxiety symptoms.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common type of talk therapy (psychotherapy) that effectively treats a range of mental health issues including anxiety disorders, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, among others. It focuses on negative thought patterns or behaviors in an effort to recognize and restructure them. Once an individual can identify the root to their problems, it can help them respond to them positively and learn new ways to cope. 

CBT is a short-term therapy, which lasts around 12 to 10 sessions, but can alleviate symptoms on a long-term basis. It can be a helpful tool, whether it is used alone or in combination with other therapies. There have been several studies that demonstrate CBT to be a more effective treatment than other forms of psychological therapy or psychiatric medications. 

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Anxiety 

“Anxiety and nervousness are rooted in survival, so feeling anxious or fearful is part of the human experience,” according to Ciara Jenkins, a therapist and licensed clinical social worker at Life On Purpose Counseling & Coaching Services. She goes on to say how “Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time at varying degrees. Many times, intense anxiety fear or panic is caused by how we think about a certain situation and not necessarily the situation itself” 

Jenkins explains that it’s important to create a space between a situation and an individual’s thoughts, feels and actions. It’s necessary to let go of any unhealthy thoughts in order to make room for healthier alternatives. Otherwise, negative thoughts and feelings can affect behavior and eventually become repeating patterns. 

With the use of CBT, you can learn how to pay attention to those thought patterns and actively work to make better changes. “CBT helps individuals identify the links in the chain that lead to worse anxiety and depression: the thoughts, feelings, behaviors and physical sensations that are intimately connected to one another,” according to Steven Lucero, PhD, MBA and clinical psychologist with Brightside. He emphasizes that you can take action to disrupt the spiral of avoiding the situation that causes anxiety. 

Best CBT Books For Anxiety

Best CBT Books For Anxiety

CBT emerged in the 1960’s and originated by psychiatrist Aaron Beck, who noted that certain types of thinking contributed to emotional problems. He labeled these as “automatic negative thoughts” and later developed the process of cognitive therapy. If you’re someone who struggles with negative thoughts and feelings that contribute to anxiety, then we’ve compiled a list of the best CBT books for anxiety based on expert recommendations. 

Whether you’re seeking self-help tools or a resource to supplement therapy sessions, these books can offer you valuable insights and practical strategies for managing your anxiety symptoms. 

Retrain Your Brain: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in 7 Weeks

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Retrain Your Brain: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in 7 Weeks: A Workbook for Managing Depression and Anxiety
  • Gillihan PhD, Seth J. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 236 Pages - 10/18/2016 (Publication Date) - Althea Press (Publisher)

“Retrain Your Brain: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in 7 Weeks” by Seth J. Gillihan is a must-have book for anyone struggling with anxiety and depression. The 7-week plan is designed to help readers manage their symptoms by building on the previous week’s work, making it easy to apply the techniques into their daily lives. 

The relatable and real-life examples make the information and activities accessible to those who are new to CBT. While this book should not be a substitute for professional therapy, Dr. Gillihan’s guidance has made this book a valuable tool to manage symptoms and improve mental health. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Simple Techniques to Instantly Be Happier, Find Inner Peace, and Improve Your Life

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Simple Techniques to Instantly Be Happier, Find Inner Peace, and Improve Your Life
  • Telford, Olivia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 164 Pages - 04/27/2020 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

If you’re looking for a concise and straightforward guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, then “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Simple Techniques to Instantly Be Happier, Find Inner Peace, and Improve Your Life” by Olivia Telford is a great choice for you. It offers an introduction to CBT to newcomers, explaining its techniques in a clear and concise manner. It also provides practical tools that challenge negative thought and mindfulness to overcome anxiety and depression. While the book may be relatively short, it offers a lot of valuable information that can be especially useful for those who are on the go. 

Anxiety Relief for Teens

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Anxiety Relief for Teens: Essential CBT Skills and Mindfulness Practices to Overcome Anxiety and Stress
  • Galanti PhD, Regine (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 192 Pages - 03/31/2020 (Publication Date) - Zeitgeist Young Adult (Publisher)

“Anxiety Relief for Teens” by Regine Galanti is a great resource for anyone struggling with anxiety, especially teenagers. It provides a variety of CBT-based skills and mindfulness techniques that can help manage anxiety and stress. Dr. Regine Galanti is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy. Her goal is to provide a well-structured therapeutic guide to address the complexity of young lives. 

The guide features quizzes and self-assessments to help readers better understand their anxiety and emotions, and discover their respective triggers. It also has over 30 mindfulness practices to cope with anxiety in the present moment through visualizations, breathing, meditation and other exercises.

The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety: A Step-By-Step Program

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The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety: A Step-By-Step Program
  • Knaus EdD, William J. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 280 Pages - 11/01/2014 (Publication Date) - New Harbinger Publications (Publisher)

Are you ready to overcome your anxiety and take control of your life? “The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety” by William J. Knaus is a therapist recommended workbook that emphasizes the links between anxiety and common co-occuring conditions. The step-by-step program is easy to follow and offers practical techniques from rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

This workbook shows how to combat anxiety cognitions, build emotional tolerance, use imagery for relaxation, engage in problem-solving behaviors and apply tested techniques for solving more than one emotional problem simultaneously. The new techniques such as behavioral activation and values-based action are particularly helpful in addressing perfectionism and anxiety in order to restore your well-being. 

CBT Workbook for Kids

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CBT Workbook for Kids: 40+ Fun Exercises and Activities to Help Children Overcome Anxiety & Face Their Fears at Home, at School, and Out in the World (Health and Wellness Workbooks for Kids)
  • Heather Davidson Psy.D BCN (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 138 Pages - 09/17/2019 (Publication Date) - Althea Press (Publisher)

Whether you are a parent or a caregiver who is looking to help their children cope with anxiety and fears at home, school and in the world, then we have got a great tool for you. The “CBT Workbook for Kids” by Heather Davidson contains over 40 fun exercises and activities specifically designed to help kids ages 6 to 11 understand why they feel anxious or upset. It also contains effective CBT techniques they can apply to their daily lives in order to cope with their feelings. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple: 10 Strategies for Managing Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Panic, and Worry

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple: 10 Strategies for Managing Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Panic, and Worry
5,272 Reviews
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple: 10 Strategies for Managing Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Panic, and Worry
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Seth J. Gillihan PhD (Author) - Stephen Hoye (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)

“Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple” by Seth J. Gilligan is a comprehensive CBT book to help manage anxiety, depression, anger, panic and worry. If you are new to CBT, this is a great introduction to learn about its benefits and how you can apply it to your everyday life. The book is informative and contains strategies that are effective in managing your thoughts and emotions. However, readers should keep in mind that professional help may be required in some cases. 

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook

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The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook
2,669 Reviews
The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook
  • Bourne PhD, Edmund J. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 528 Pages - 05/01/2020 (Publication Date) - New Harbinger Publications (Publisher)

“The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook” by Edmund J. Bourne is a comprehensive self-help guide that provides readers with the latest treatment solutions for overcoming anxiety and phobias. Written by a leading expert in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), this evidence-based workbook contains powerful, step-by-step treatment strategies for panic disorders, agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), worry and fear.

The book is well-organized and easy to read, with clear explanations of CBT techniques and practical exercises that readers can complete on their own or with the help of a therapist. Whether you suffer from anxiety and phobias yourself or are a professional working with individuals struggling from these mental health conditions, this book provides the latest treatment solutions for overcoming the fears that stand in the way of living a meaningful and happy life.

Healing Your Wounded Inner Child: A CBT Workbook to Overcome Past Trauma, Face Abandonment and Regain Emotional Stability

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Healing Your Wounded Inner Child: A CBT Workbook to Overcome Past Trauma, Face Abandonment and Regain Emotional Stability. (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)
354 Reviews
Healing Your Wounded Inner Child: A CBT Workbook to Overcome Past Trauma, Face Abandonment and Regain Emotional Stability. (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)
  • Clarke, Maria (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 125 Pages - 12/15/2022 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

“Healing Your Wounded Inner Child: A CBT Workbook to Overcome Past Trauma, Face Abandonment and Regain Emotional Stability” by Maria Clarke is a comprehensive workbook that can help you heal your inner child. The workbook explains how children learn up to the age of 5 and how this can impact how they view the world, develop, interact with other people and develop relationships.

This book has become an excellent source for anyone who is looking to overcome past trauma, face abandonment and regain their emotional stability. Its exercises and activities can help you understand your thoughts and feelings. It provides mechanisms to manage your emotions, including Socratic questioning. The methods to dissolve negative thoughts and beliefs are practical and realistic. 

The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook

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The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, ... (A New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)
9,299 Reviews
The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, ... (A New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)
  • McKay PhD, Matthew (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 296 Pages - 10/01/2019 (Publication Date) - New Harbinger Publications (Publisher)

Are you struggling to manage your emotions? With “The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook” by Matthew McKay, Jeffrey C. Wood and Jeffrey Brantley, you will be able to enhance your emotional well-being and learn effective ways to take control over your thoughts and feelings. This workbook offers step-by-step exercises for learning evidence-based DBT skills, including distress tolerance, mindfulness, emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I find a CBT professional?

Finding a good therapist can be challenging. While it may be overwhelming to look for one, you can start by looking for a therapist in an office setting. However, there are more therapists who are offering online therapy. You may find yourself more comfortable having face-to-face sessions or in the comfort of your own home. Some companies such as Better Help offer virtual sessions. 

Can you recommend any CBT books that are available for free download?

There are several CBT books that are available for free download. Some of these include “Managing Social Anxiety: A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Approach” by Debra A. Hope, Richard G. Heimberg, and Cynthia L. Turk, “Overcoming Depression and Low Mood: A Five Areas Approach” by Chris Williams and “The CBT Toolbox: A Workbook for Clients and Clinicians” by Jeff Riggenbach.

What are the best CBT books for therapists focusing on anxiety treatment?

The best CBT books for therapists focusing on anxiety treatment include “Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Dummies” by Rhena Branch and Rob Willson, “Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: A Practical Guide to CBT for Overcoming Anxiety, Depression, Addictions and Other Psychological Conditions” by Dr. Elaine Iljon Foreman and Clair Pollard and “The Oxford Handbook of Anxiety and Related Disorders” edited by Martin M. Antony and Murray B. Stein.

Are there any Cognitive Behavioral Therapy books that the NHS recommends?

Yes, the NHS recommends several Cognitive Behavioral Therapy books for anxiety treatment. A few of them are “Overcoming Anxiety: A Self-Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioral Techniques” by Helen Kennerley, “Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think” by Dennis Greenberger and Christine A. Padesky and “Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: Your Route Out of Perfectionism, Self-Sabotage and Other Everyday Habits” by Avy Joseph.

Is self-administered Cognitive Behavioral Therapy effective for treating anxiety?

Yes, self-administered Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be effective for treating anxiety. However, it is important to note that it may not be as effective as therapy with a trained professional. Some popular self-administered CBT programs for anxiety include “MoodGYM” and “This Way Up”. It is recommended to consult with a mental health professional before starting any self-administered CBT program.

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