Self-help books are resources that provide guidance for personal growth and overcoming obstacles. They cover a variety of topics, such as relationships, productivity, mindfulness and success. Through practical advice and inspiring stories, these books aim to empower readers to improve their lives and reach their full potential.

I began reading self-help books in high school due to my own personal struggles and want of becoming better. While not every book is right for me, I found looking at recommendations from therapists and other psychologists beneficial. Sometimes it’s nice to get help from an expert.

Daniel Tomasulo, a counseling psychologist and the academic director at Teachers College, Columbia University, said to The New York Times, “Almost every therapist I know has a whole list of self-help books to recommend.”

Here is a list of 10 self-help books therapists read and recommend.

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1. ‘Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones’

By James Clear.

Suggested by Wondermind, “Atomic Habits” provides a proven framework for daily improvement, offering practical strategies for forming good habits, breaking bad ones and mastering small behaviors that lead to remarkable results.

Author James Clear, a leading expert on habit formation, reveals how to make positive changes by focusing on your system rather than your goals. Drawing on insights from biology, psychology and neuroscience, Clear presents an easy-to-understand guide for creating inevitable good habits and eliminating bad ones. From winning championships to quitting smoking or reducing stress, “Atomic Habits” reshapes thinking about progress and success, according to the book’s description.

2. ‘Homecoming: Healing Trauma to Reclaim Your Authentic Self’

By Thema Bryant.

As suggested by The New York Times, the author, Thema Bryant, a trauma therapist, minister and professor, offers a unique perspective on health, hope and healing trauma. Drawing on her clinical expertise, spirituality and personal journey of recovery, Bryant helps individuals believe in their ability to heal while avoiding the superficial language often found in self-help books.

Feeling disconnected from yourself can show up in various ways, such as trying to please others, feeling sad or worried and holding onto anger. Healing begins by understanding and expressing your feelings honestly and reconnecting with neglected parts of yourself. “Homecoming” helps you do this and shows you how to connect with your community, even if you face challenges like racism, sexism, heartbreak, grief or trauma, per the book’s description.

3. ‘Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion’

By Gregory Boyle.

The New York Times found “Tattoos on the Heart” comprises genuine, unfiltered stories about individuals the author, Gregory Boyle, encountered in his work, offering valuable lessons from their journeys. Boyle is a Jesuit priest who established Homeboy Industries, a program aiding former gang members’ rehabilitation and reintegration.

The book, which includes multiple essays organized by theme, helps individuals discover how their lives can be enriched by finding joy in loving and being loved without conditions. Each chapter shares Boyle’s insightful wisdom about universal connection and redemption, emphasizing the significance of unconditional love and combating despair. “Tattoos on the Heart” is a beautiful reminder that every life is precious, according to the book’s description.

4. ‘The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity’

By Julia Cameron.

The New York Times shares another therapist-recommended book: “The Artist’s Way.” Julia Cameron offers a 12-week journey to rediscover your innate creativity, though dealing with depression and addiction. The book’s program has an enduring impact for everyone, not just artists or writers, as creativity serves as healing.

The program starts with two important tools for creative recovery: the Morning Pages, where you write three pages of thoughts each day, and the Artist Date, a special time for your inner artist. Cameron provides many exercises, activities and prompts to explore each chapter fully. She also suggests forming a “Creative Cluster” of fellow artists to support each other, per the book’s description.

5. ‘The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World’

By the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and Douglas Abrams.

Suggested by The New York Times, the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu delved into their own life experiences to explore how we can can find joy in the midst of personal and collective suffering.

The authors delve into the “Nature of True Joy” and confront obstacles like fear, stress and grief. They offer the “Eight Pillars of Joy” for lasting happiness, sharing stories, wisdom and science. They also provide their daily “Joy Practices” for emotional and spiritual well-being, according to the book’s description.

6. ‘The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science’

By Norman Doidge.

As suggested by Wondermind, “The Brain That Changes Itself” is easy to understand and filled with thought-provoking tales about the brain.

Norman Doidge introduces us to scientists and individuals whose lives were transformed by neuroplasticity, which challenges the idea that the brain is fixed. From stroke patients regaining speech to a woman born with half a brain adapting fully, the book changes how we see our brains and human potential, per the book’s description.

7. ‘The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us From Violence’

By Gavin de Becker.

Syracuse University, sharing this next therapist-recommended book, finds threats lurk everywhere. However, the author, Gavin de Becker, believes we can all feel safer by tuning into our sixth sense about danger.

De Becker, a renowned expert in predicting violence, draws from his experience protecting celebrities and using advanced risk assessment systems. He offers advice on dealing with street crime, domestic abuse and workplace violence. Through real-life examples, he emphasizes the importance of trusting our instincts for self-protection. This book is a must-read for anyone concerned about their safety, according to the book’s description.

8. ‘The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living’

By Russ Harris.

As suggested by The New York Times, “The Happiness Trap” introduces Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, a method that encourages embracing negative thoughts and feelings instead of fighting against them.

Through this book, you can discover how to clarify your values, cultivate self-compassion and achieve genuine satisfaction to manage stress and anxiety, break harmful patterns, conquer self-doubt and nurture healthier relationships. “The Happiness Trap” is a resource for all individuals, per the book’s description.

9. ‘The Power of Character Strengths: Appreciate and Ignite Your Positive Personality’

By Ryan M. Niemiec and Robert E. McGrath.

The New York Times also suggests “The Power of Character Strengths.” The guide helps people learn to identify, appreciate and nurture their best qualities by developing character strengths. It encourages shifting focus from what’s negative to what’s positive and strong.

In this book, you’ll explore your 24 strengths with leading experts and authors to discover how activating your positive traits can boost resilience, reduce stress and enhance well-being, per the book’s description.

10. ‘The Worry Cure: Seven Steps to Stop Worry From Stopping You’

By Robert Leahy.

The final therapist-recommended book in this list is suggested by Wondermind. Author Robert Leahy guides readers to identify worry patterns and shift them, regain control of their time and embrace uncertainty.

Whether you’re a chronic or occasional worrier, “The Worry Cure” addresses general and specific worries in areas like relationships, health, money, work and approval-seeking. The book helps you achieve a healthier, more fulfilling life, according to the book’s description.

Physical copies can be found online for purchase or at a local library. Audio versions are also available in similar locations.