I’ve previously avoided self-help books. Nothing against them, I just didn’t actively seek them when I browsed. Everything changed when I started therapy. In the last three years, my counselor has suggested two books that have quickly become invaluable to me.
The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook
My counselor suggested this one early on in our sessions. I remember she pulled it off her shelf, flipped to a page, and began to read a passage about Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It was exactly what I needed to hear. She handed The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook to me and gave me an assignment for the week: to complete one of the sections in one of the chapters. I reluctantly accepted the book because what good would it do? Turns out a lot! I returned her copy our next session and began searching for my own.
This workbook covers a range of topics for people with anxieties and phobias in a way that’s easy to read and not at all pushy. The sections about the types of anxiety and panic attacks helped me identify what was going on and how to best cope. This book helped me identify patterns in my negative self-talk so that I could address them with my counselor. There’s even sections on healthy coping mechnanisms, therapy, medication, and alternative treatments. I own the fourth edition, but I believe it’s up to the sixth or seventh edition now. The newest editions include crucial updates and more topics such as health anxiety.
The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD…
After we identified that I had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, my counselor brought up mindfulness. I found it easier than CBT, but still struggled to make it work. That’s when another self-help book came up in our conversations.
The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD: A Guide to Overcoming Obsessions and Compulsions Using Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Yes, the name is long, but the book is the most useful resource I’ve had (next to my counselor) for coping with my OCD.
As the name suggests, Hershfield and Corboy provide CBT and Mindfulness methods to help. It also offers so much more. This workbook helped me identify my forms of OCD and the best ways to manage the thoughts. It covers common obsessions and compulsions along with problems your OCD may cause and ways to challenge the thoughts. What I found most helpful was the in-depth discussion of the types of OCD. I also liked the action and assessment tools and the section about stressors.
Self-help books may not be worth it to everyone. However, I hope that by mentioning these two resources that someone else will find them as helpful as I did.