5 Self-Help Books for Depression

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Depression is a very real mental health disorder that can rob you of your joy, sense of worth, and purpose. As a therapist, I work with clients from all different walks of life who experience depression. Contrary to popular belief, even individuals who appear to “have it all” and are quite successful by society’s standards, aren’t necessarily immune to depression.

I provide guidance to help my clients get to the root of their depression, challenge negative belief systems, while learning strategies that improve how they cope with stress, sadness, and disappointment. As a result of our work together, my clients are able to lead healthier, happier lives where they feel more grounded and at ease. 

While therapy is wonderfully effective, I understand that many people don’t have access to the necessary treatment, and even for some who do, they may not be willing to take that step to seek help. 

The choice to seek professional help is just that, a choice, and a highly personal one at that.

If you’re not quite ready to speak to a professional regarding depression, you don’t need to suffer in silence. Believe it or not, reading can be a powerful tool in combating depression: The right books can not only help you learn coping techniques, but they can also help normalize your experience, helping to alleviate mental stress or pain. In fact, bibliotherapy, or the practice of using books as treatment for mental health concerns, has been implemented by doctors.

Below find 5 of my top books on combating depression (along with other struggles):

1.  Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David Burns

Feeling Good is written by David D. Burns, M.D., a psychiatrist with decades of clinical experience. The book has sold more than 4 million copies and holds the title of the “most prescribed self-help book” for people struggling with depression.

 

prolonged grief disorder
The choice to seek professional help is just that, a choice, and a highly personal one at that.

2. The Mindful Way Through Depression – Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness

By Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn

The Mindful Way Through Depression is a testament to mindfulness as a legitimate and effective treatment approach to mental disorders. Medication is an option, but learning to be in the moment is a powerful and often overlooked method of coping with life difficulties and reducing mental tension.

If you’re not quite ready to speak to a professional regarding depression, you don’t need to suffer in silence.
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3. The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time  

By Alex Korb, Ph.D.

Korb’s scientific approach to self-help empowers readers by arming them with concrete knowledge of how their brains work. He explains that depressed people are not broken—their brains are simply wired differently—and with the tools to reprogram our thinking we can make real change toward happiness, with or without medication.

spring cleaning stretch
Learning to be in the moment is a powerful and often overlooked method of coping with life difficulties and reducing mental tension.

4.  I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression

By Terrance Real

With dozens of case studies on men and depression, this self-help book delves into the difference between male and female depression. Traditionally, men have been emotionally stifled by societal expectations of gender roles. Real’s book opens the floor for a deeper discussion on male mental health.

The right books can not only help you learn coping techniques, but they can also help normalize your experience, therefore alleviating mental stress or pain.
self help books for depression

any5.  A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives.

By Kelly Brogan, M.D., and Kristin Loberg

Brogan and Loberg take a feminist approach, arguing that women are often over-prescribed antidepressants. They recommend holistic efforts and a 30-day approach to healing issues such as depression, panic, grief, and more.

 

Additional Resources for Depression

Check out an additional reading list for more books that shine a light on depression here. Please keep in mind that these resources are not intended to serve as a replacement for treatment with a trained professional. If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis or suicidal thoughts, please contact 911 immediately or reach out to a crisis hotline that’s available 24/7. 

If you’re interested in exploring what therapy might look like with a psychotherapist who specializes in depression, fill out our Therapist Matching Questionnaire. Share your preferences and you’ll receive personalized therapist matches based on your desired criteria directly to your inbox within 72 hours. All of our therapists provide complimentary phone consultations. This gives you the chance to speak with the therapist, ask any questions, and see if it feels like a good fit before making a decision to start therapy. 

 

Your Turn: Did we miss a book? Let us know in the comments below if you have any recommendations to share. 

 

Dr. Logan Jones

Dr. Logan Jones is a Psychologist and Founder of Clarity Therapy. Sign up for his free 30 Days of Gratitude email series and follow him on Instagram at @drloganjones.

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