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What is Bibliotherapy?

Updated: Nov 3

Can I use books to treat my anxiety, depression or trauma?

Anyone who knows me professionally or personally knows that I have a passion for reading. During my time as a therapist, I have enjoyed sharing my passion with the individuals I am working with. I find it fulfilling to incorporate books, worksheets, and articles as a part of the therapeutic process. I love the transformation that happens when a person is introduced to a new perspective or gains a new insight from reading. The process of using books and other forms of literature during the treatment process is called bibliotherapy. I created this post with the hope of helping you feel more educated about utilizing literature in the therapeutic process. I would also like to provide you with a list of literary resources that will be helpful during your therapeutic journey.

Have you ever read something and been moved by it emotionally? I often have patients share quotes from the internet that really resonated with them. Has this ever happened to you? If your answer is yes, then you have experienced the power of words. You may also understand why bibliotherapy is a powerful therapeutic tool. Recommended books can encompass any genre or theme including, memoirs, poetry, self-help, nonfiction, articles, worksheets, etc. Mediums can include audio books, e-books, magazines, medical journals, the internet, blogs, etc. Reading literature allows you to gain perspectives that are different than your own, allows you to gain clarity of a difficult past, helps you to learn to better manage current/past symptoms, increases feelings of hope, increases clarity, increases contentment, and improves understanding.

Bibliotherapy can be useful in treating depression, anxiety, trauma, grief, self-esteem, self-worth, career issues, chronic pain, divorce, relational issues, communication problems, etc. It is used with children, families, and adults. In my practice, I always use bibliotherapy in combination with CBT but it can be used simultaneously or alone.

Lets talk book recommendations

Below you will find a brief list of book recommendations that can be read independently, while journaling or during the therapeutic process.


  1. Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents by Lindsay C. Gibson

  2. Trauma Survivors' Strategies for Healing: A Workbook to Help You Grow, Rebuild, and Take Back Your Life

  3. Overcoming Trauma and PTSD: A Workbook Integrating Skills from ACT, DBT, and CBT by Sheela Raja (Author), Susan M. Orsillo (by Elena Welsh (Author)

  4. The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk

  5. What My Bones Know: A Memoir of Healing from Complex Trauma by by Stephanie Foo

Self Esteem

  1. Self-Love Workbook for Women: Release Self-Doubt, Build Self-Compassion, and Embrace Who You Are Kindle Edition by Megan Logan MSW LCSW

Navigating the world as a Person of Color

  1. The Pain We Carry: Healing from Complex PTSD for People of Color (The Social Justice Handbook Series) by Natalie Y. Gutiérrez LMFT

  2. So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Self Worth

  1. Self-Worth Essentials: A Workbook to Understand Yourself, Accept Yourself, Like Yourself, Respect Yourself, Be Confident, Enjoy Yourself, and Love Yourself Kindle Edition by Liisa Kyle

  2. True To Your Core: Uncovering the Subconscious Beliefs That Wreak Havoc on Your Life Kindle Edition by Bonnie Kelly (Author)


  1. The Anxiety and Depression Workbook for Teens: Simple CBT Skills to Help You Deal with Anxiety, Worry, and Sadness Paperback – November 1, 2022, by Michael A. Tompkins PhD ABPP

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and transgender

  1. Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out (Non-fiction) by Loraine Hutchins and Lani Kaahumanu

  2. The Journey Out: A Guide For and About Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Teens (Non-fiction) by Rachel Pollack and Cheryl Schwartz

  3. The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World by Alan Downs Ph. D. PhD


  1. Stop Anxiety Now: Step-by-Step Strategies to Manage Anxiety and Panic Attacks, Control Your Mind, Eliminate Negative Thinking, Master Your Thoughts and Emotions by David Redmore

  2. The Perfectionism Workbook: Proven Strategies to End Procrastination, Accept Yourself, and Achieve Your Goals Kindle Edition by Taylor Newendorp MA LCPC

I would love it if you would share your book recommendations in the comments section below!

How do I get started with Therapy?

Do you want to learn more about bibliotherapy? Are you struggling with managing your mental health symptoms? Contact us at Discovering Balance to schedule your appointment with a therapist. I wish you a week filled with balance and joy.

Discovering Balance




Books that take you on a journey
Can books take you on a journey to treat your mental health?

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