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7 Best Mental Health Books For Therapists, According to Therapists 

6 min.

These are the best recently-published mental health books that mental health professionals think others in their industry should read.

By: Sarah Fielding

Clinically Reviewed By: Don Gasparini

July 20, 2023

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There is nothing simple about working in mental healthcare. It’s a complex and ever-evolving field filled with increasingly diverse perspectives and valuable reflections. Mental Health professionals spend years of their lives studying different aspects of the mind and, in the case of clinicians, learn and hone therapeutic techniques. 

As a mental health clinician, there are so many interesting ways to learn more about care techniques and the mental health field. Your schooling is an incredibly useful aspect of this education process. As with any work, learning on the job is another critical component, as it takes the experience out of the theoretical and exposes you to a myriad of people and situations. Then there’s the wonderful world of books. 

Reading books about mental health can open your eyes to new perspectives outside those you’ve encountered in the classroom or your practice. As mental health becomes increasingly discussed, so, it appears, does the number of books covering its every nook and cranny. An engaging mental health book might focus on anything from an individual’s personal journey living with a disorder to an explainer about niche aspects of the field. 

Fellow mental health clinicians are an incredible resource to consult about which of the plethora of mental health books you should first immerse yourself in. With that in mind, we asked clinicians to recommend their favorite mental health books to their peers. Here are seven of the best recently-published mental health books (plus one upcoming release) that other clinicians suggest you check out next. 

Best mental health book about complex trauma

What My Bones Know: A Memoir of Healing from Complex Trauma

By Stefanie Foo | Paperback release: February 21, 2023

Recommended by Saba Harouni Lurie, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and founder of Take Root Therapy.

What My Bones Know tells author Stefanie Foo’s story of facing panic attacks for years until eventually receiving a complex post-traumatic stress diagnosis. She explores how her parents’ abandonment impacted her long-term, immigrant trauma in her Californian hometown, and innovative therapies. “This is an incredible memoir about healing from complex trauma,” says Lurie. “[Foo’s] account is honest and vulnerable and can help others who have experienced complex trauma to normalize their struggles and evoke self-compassion.” Foo further adds to the story through interviews with psychologists and scientists. To make matters better, the more affordable paperback version of the book, which was initially published in 2022, hit bookshelves earlier this year. 

Best mental health book about family systems

Drama Free: A Guide To Managing Unhealthy Family Relationships 

By Nedra Glover Tawwab | Hardcover release: February 28, 2023

Recommended by Kristal DeSantis, CCTP, CSTIP, a licensed marriage and family therapist, psychotherapist, and author of STRONG: A Relationship Field Guide for the Modern Man.

Drama Free is an insightful book from Nedra Glover Tawwab, a licensed therapist and New York Times best-selling author of Set Boundaries, Find Piece. “It can be a helpful resource for clinicians who work with family systems,” says DeSantis. “The book offers insights, strategies, and practical exercises that can assist clinicians in supporting their clients as they identify patterns of dysfunction, navigate challenging family dynamics, and work towards establishing healthier relationships, setting new boundaries, and breaking generational cycles.” 

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Best mental health book about intimate relationships

You Are The One You’ve Been Waiting For: Applying Internal Family Systems to Intimate Relationships

By Richard C. Schwartz | Paperback release: May 9, 2023

Recommended by Michelle Gibson, a psychotherapist, registered social worker, and founder of Gibson & Associates. 

You Are The One You’ve Been Waiting For comes from Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy founder Richard C. Schwartz. It applies the lessons of IFS therapy to close relationships, “offering an encouragement that a relationship with yourself is the foundation for intimacy and courageous love,” says Gibson. It explores many facets of guilt and isolation in relationships that can hold people back from experiencing the healthy relationships they seek. 

Best mental health book about somatic practices

Embodied Self-Awakening: Somatic Practices for Trauma Healing and Spiritual Evolution 

By Nityda Gessel | Paperback release: September 12, 2023 

Recommended by DeSantis. 

Embodied Self-Awakening comes into the world right at the close of summer as many people turn the page into a new routine and mindset. It explores the growing world of somatic practices, discussing topics like Buddhist psychology and yogic teachings. “Somatic practices emphasize the integration of the mind and body in healing and personal growth. This approach can be especially beneficial for individuals who tend to intellectualize their struggles or have difficulty connecting with their emotions on a deeper level,” says DeSantis. “By incorporating somatic approaches into therapy, clinicians can help clients develop a deeper awareness of their bodily sensations, emotions, and physical experiences.” 

Best mental health book about parenting

Good Inside: A Guide to Becoming the Parent You Want to Be

By Becky Kennedy | Hardcover release: September 13, 2022

Recommended by DeSantis.

Good Inside is a compelling guide about parenthood and can be really beneficial for clinicians who regularly work with parents of young children or kids themselves. “The book’s content can serve as a framework for discussions on the importance of emotional well-being, building secure attachments, and providing a supportive environment for children to grow and thrive,” says DeSantis. “It offers clinicians tools and strategies to help them navigate discussions with parents around emotional connection and expression. It provides examples, scripts, and mantras that can be shared with parents to help them foster an emotional connection with their children.” If this is an area you focus on or want to move into, this is the book for you. 

Female therapist sitting on a couch with a blanket and coffee mug. She is reading a book another therapist recommended for her.

Best book about structural mental health issues

The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a Toxic Culture

By Gabor Mate | Hardcover release: September 13, 2022

Recommended by Lurie. 

The Myth of Normal refuses the idea that each person is responsible for their mental health, instead discussing the external factors contributing to a person’s overall well-being. “Gabor Mate’s most recent book considers the impact of society on our mental health and offers that if we are struggling due to society’s dysfunction, perhaps our society’s norms are the problem,” says Lurie. This book expands readers’ view of all the components that require care and attention to improve mental health as a whole. 

Best mental health book about feeling seen 

You Are Not Alone: The NAMI Guide to Navigating Mental Health

By Ken Duckworth | Hardcover release: September 20, 2022

Recommended by Dr. Jay Serle, a licensed marriage and family therapist and the clinical director of The Ohana Luxury Alcohol Rehab.

You Are Not Alone is the first book from the National Alliance of Mental Illness and authored by psychiatrist Ken Duckworth. It includes the experiences of more than 125 people across the United States. Serle is especially attracted to the book’s inclusion of advice from families and real people having these experiences. 

Mental healthcare at Charlie Health

At Charlie Health, we offer virtual mental healthcare for teenagers, young adults, and families struggling with mental health challenges. Our virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) combines individual and family therapy with supported groups to offer a higher level of support than once-weekly outpatient therapy. 

Charlie Health’s experienced team of mental health providers can help teens and young adults manage various challenging mental health conditions and each individual’s IOP is personalized for their needs. This evidence-based, personalized approach to treatment works—According to a peer-reviewed study, from intake to discharge, Charlie Health clients experienced significantly reduced self-harm, depression, and suicidal ideation. Read more about our clinical outcomes here.

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