This page includes:
• Book recommendations for parents
• Book recommendations adults seeking help for themselves
• Book recommendations about skepticism and pseudoscience
• List of well-established psychosocial interventions for youth
• Website recommendations
A note of caution: Even when self-help books are derived from evidence-based interventions, there is rarely research examining whether or not the book itself is an effective way of dealing with the issue that it targets. Although, this website is recommending only books that are based on research, most of these books have not been studied. If you are dealing with a moderate or serious issue, it may be best to see a psychologist. Also, successful use of these books is partly based on the correct identification of the problem, which often requires a mental health professional.
Here is a good resource for finding a therapist in your area: http://www.abctcentral.org/xFAT/
To read more about the problem of self-help books, you may want to check out a chapter called “Self-Help Therapy: Recent Developments in the Science and Business of Giving Psychology Away” by Gerald M. Rosen, Russel E. Glasgow, Timothy E. Moore, & Manuel Barrera Jr. in a book titled Science and Pseudoscience in Clinical Psychology (edited by Scott O. Lilienfeld, Steven Jay Lynn, & Jeffrey M. Lohr).
Book Recommendations for Parents
Anxiety: Fears & Phobias in Children
• Helping Your Anxious Child: A Step-by-Step Guide for Parents – Second Edition (2008) by Drs. Ronald Rapee , Ann Wignall, Susan Spence, Vanessa, Cobham, & Heidi Lyneham. This book is based on an evidence-based intervention conducted by these researcher/clinicians. The approach is based on cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
Anxiety: Fears & Phobias in Adolescents
• If Your Adolescent Has an Anxiety Disorder: An Essential Resource for Parents (2006) by Dr. Edna B. Foa & Linda Wasmer Andrews. This book describes cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) which is an evidence-based treatment for anxiety.
Anxiety: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
• Talking Back to OCD: The Program That Helps Kids and Teens Say “No Way” — and Parents Say “Way to Go” (2007) by Dr. John S. March Dr. March was the first author on the study that helped identify cognitive-behavioral therapy (including exposure with response prevention) as an evidence-based treatment for OCD.
Anxiety: Selective Mutism
• Helping Your Child With Selective Mutism: Steps to Overcome a Fear of Speaking (2005)
by Dr. Angela E. McHolm (Author), Dr. Charles E. Cunningham, & Dr. Melanie K.
Vanier This book describes behavioral treatment which has good research support for
Anxiety: Separation Anxiety & School Refusal
• Helping Your Child Overcome Separation Anxiety or School Refusal: A Step-by-Step Guide For Parents (2006) by Drs. Andrew Eisen & Linda Engler. This approach is based on cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) which has been supported by research for anxiety.
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
• Taking Charge of ADHD, Third Edition: The Complete, Authoritative Guide for Parents by Barkley (2000). This book covers recommendations based on well-established evidence-based treatments for ADHD such behavioral parent training, behavioral classroom management, and medication.
Autism Spectrum Disorder: Asperger’s & High Functioning Autism
• A Parent’s Guide to Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism: How to Meet the Challenges and Help Your Child Thrive (2002) by Dr. Sally Ozonoff, Dr. Geraldine Dawson, & James McPartland. Although the latest DSM does not include Asperger’s as a separate diagnosis from autism, the information in the book is still helpful for youth with this pattern of functioning.
Autism Spectrum Disorder: Autism in Young Children
• Right from the Start: Behavioral Intervention for Young Children with Autism (Second Edition – 2007). By Drs. Sandra L. Harris & Mary Jane Weiss. This book describes “early intensive behavioral intervention” for children with autism (ages 1 ½ – 5 years-old), and it is based on Applied Behavior Analysis which is a well-established evidence-based approach.
Behavior Problems: Children ages 2-6 years-old
• Parenting the Strong-Willed Child (2002) by Dr. Rex Forehand & Dr. Nicholas Long The approach by these researchers/clinicians has been identified as an evidence-based treatment based on years of research. This book is based on their research on the Helping the Noncompliant Child program, a form of behavioral parent training.
Behavior Problems: Children ages 7-12 years-old
• The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child: With No Pills, No Therapy, No Contest of Wills (2008) by Dr. Alan Kazdin. The approach by this researcher/clinician (and former president of the American Psychological Association) has been identified as an evidence-based treatment. This book is largely based on Dr. Kazdin’s research on Parent Management Training and Problem-Solving Skills Training.
Behavior Problems: Adolescents
• Parents and Adolescents Living Together: Parts 1 & 2 (The Basics & Family Problem Solving) (2005) by Dr. Gerald R. Patterson & Dr. Marion S. Forgatch. These groundbreaking researchers/clinicians developed this program based on a well-established intervention (Oregon Model of Parent Management Training).
• The Optimistic Child: A Proven Program to Safeguard Children Against Depression and Build Lifelong Resilience (2007) by Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, Karen Reivich, Dr. Lisa Jaycox, & Dr. Jane Gillham. The general approach (cognitive-behavioral therapy) described by these researchers/clinicians has been identified as a well-established evidence-based treatment. This book is based on their research on the Penn Prevention Program, a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy; however, research on the specific Penn Prevention Program is somewhat mixed. Still, it is a useful book.
• The Truth About Children and Divorce: Dealing with the Emotions So You and Your Children Can Thrive (2006) by Dr. Robert Emery This book is based on years of research and clinical experience by Dr. Emery.
Eating Disorders: Anorexia, Bulimia, & Binge-Eating
• Help Your Teenager Beat an Eating Disorder (2005) by Dr. James Lock & Dr. Daniel le Grange. This book is based on the Maudsley Model of Family Therapy which has been identified as a well-established research for Anorexia.
Intellectual Disability (formerly called Mental Retardation)
• Achieving Best Behavior for Children with Developmental Disabilities: A Step-by-Step Workbook for Parents and Carers (2006) by Dr. Pamela Faith Lewis. This book covers behavioral treatment which has research support for intellectual disabilities.
• Sleeping Through the Night: How Infants, Toddlers, and Their Parents Can Get a Good Night’s Sleep (Revised Edition) (2005) by Jodi Mindell. This approach of this researcher/clinician is supported by research.
• The American Academy of Pediatrics Guide to Toilet Training (2003) by American Academy Of Pediatrics Techniques discussed in this book are based on research.
Trichotillomania (Hair Pulling)
• Help for Hair Pullers: Understanding and Coping With Trichotillomania (2001) by Dr. Nancy J. Keuthen, Dr. Dan J. Stein, & Dr. Gary A. Christensen. The approach by these researchers/clinicians is supported by research on Habit Reversal.
Book Recommendations Adults Seeking Help for Themselves
Anxiety: Panic Disorder
• Coping With Panic: A Drug-Free Approach to Dealing With Anxiety Attacks (1989) by Dr. George A. Clum. Although this book is a fairly dated, it is one of the few self-help books that has ever been shown to be effective in more than one randomized controlled study (the citations for the studies are: Febraro, 2005; Gould et al., 1993).
Anxiety: Social Anxiety Disorder
• A Guide to Rational Living, Third Edition (1997) by Dr. Albert Ellis. While there are other more recent and specific titles, the first edition of this book (1961) itself has shown to work for social anxiety in a randomized controlled study (Schelver & Gutsch, 1983), making it the first self-help book to have research support.
Anxiety: Specific Phobias
• The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook, Fourth Edition (2005) by Dr. Edmund J. Bourne. This book describes exposure therapy, a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which has been identified as a well-established treatment for specific phobias.
• Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy (2000) by Dr. David D. Burns. This self-help book was the easiest one for us to recommend. This book (1980) has been shown to be effective in at least 7 randomized controlled studies (e.g., Floyd et al., 2004) and may be the most widely recommended self-help book of all time. It is based on cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for depression which is a well-established intervention.
Eating Disorders: Anorexia
• The Anorexia Workbook: How to Accept Yourself, Heal Your Suffering, and Reclaim Your Life (2004) by Michelle Heffner, & Dr. Georg H. Eifert. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based treatment for anorexia. This book describes Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) which is a type of CBT.
Eating Disorders: Binge Eating
• Overcoming Binge Eating (1995) by Dr. Christopher Fairburn. This book itself has actually been shown to be an effective treatment in a randomized controlled study (the citation for the study is: Carter & Fairburn, 1998).
Eating Disorders: Bulimia
• Overcoming Bulimia: Your Comprehensive, Step-By-Step Guide to Recovery (2004) by Dr. Randi E. McCabe, Dr. Traci L. McFarlane, & Dr. Marion P. Olmstead. This book is derived from cognitive-behavioral therapy which is a well-established intervention for bulimia.
• Coping with Chronic Fatigue (2003) by Dr. Trudie Chalder.This book itself has actually been shown to be an effective treatment in a randomized controlled study (the citation for the study is: Chadler et al. 1997).
Book Recommendations about Skepticism and Pseudoscience
Great Myths in Psychology Series (edited by Scott Lilienfeld & Steven Jay Lynn)
• 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology, 2nd Edition (Lilienfeld et al., forthcoming)
• Great Myths of Aging (Erber & Szuchman, 2014)
• Great Myths of the Brain (Jarrett, 2014)
• Great Myths of Child Development (Hupp & Jewell, 2015)
• Great Myths of Education and Learning (Holmes & Richmond, forthcoming)
• Great Myths of Intimate Relationships (Johnson, forthcoming)
• Great Myths of Personality (Donnellan & Lucas, forthcoming)
Other Great Books
• Alternative Psychotherapies: Evaluating Unconventional Mental Health Treatments (Mercer, 2014)
• Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks (Goldacre, 2010)
• Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience (Satel & Lilienfeld, 2013)
• Child Development: Myths and Misunderstandings (Mercer, 2013)
• Flim-Flam! Psychics, ESP, Unicorns and other Delusions (The Amazing Randi, 1982)
• How We Know What Isn’t So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life (Gilovich, 1991)
• Science and Pseudoscience in Clinical Psychology (Lilienfeld, Lynn, & Lohr, 2015)
• Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time (Shermer, 2002)
List of Well-Established Psychosocial Interventions for Youth
This list of “well-established” treatments is based on several articles published in the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. You can learn more about these treatments (and “probably efficacious” treatments) at www.effectivechildtherapies.com.
Anorexia & Bulimia (Keel & Haedt, 2008)
• Maudsley model of family therapy (anorexia)
• Cognitive-behavioral therapy (bulimia; for adults that are 18+ years-old)
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (Evans, Owens, & Bunford, 2014)
• Behavioral parent training
• Behavioral classroom management
• Behavioral peer interventions in recreational settings
• Organization training
Autism (Rogers & Vismara, 2008)
• Applied behavior analysis
Depression (David-Ferdon & Kaslow, 2008)
• Cognitive-behavioral therapy (children & adolescents)
• Interpersonal psychotherapy (adolescents)
Disruptive Behavior (Eyberg, Nelson, & Boggs, 2008)
• Parent management training
Sexual abuse (Silverman et al., 2008)
• Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy
Substance Abuse (Waldron & Turner, 2008)
• Multidimensional family therapy
• Functional family therapy
• Cognitive-behavioral therapy
www.twitter.com/stephenhupp (Stephen Hupp’s Twitter page)
www.abct.org (Association for Behavioral & Cognitive Therapies)
www.effectivechildtherapy.com (Society for Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology)
www.div12.org/psychological-treatments/ (Society of Clinical Psychology)
http://www.csicop.org/ (Committee for Skeptical Inquiry)
http://web.randi.org/ (James Randi Education Foundation)