Book: Psychotherapy: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

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This book is only a brief overview of the main types of psychotherapy and counselling. There are literally countless books on the subject at all levels of complexity. Here we present a very limited list of books that we have either found stimulating and informative, or which give an accessible background to the issues raised.
Pat Barker, Regeneration, Penguin, 1991.
The first novel in her Regeneration Trilogy, describing the emotional trauma and psychotherapeutic treatment of shell-shocked soldiers in WW1. The central figures are the poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, as well as fictional characters.
Eric Berne, Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships, Penguin, 1964.
A short, engaging, and best-selling introduction to transactional analysis by its originator. Still fresh, and with vivid descriptions of many of the patterns we get stuck in.
Tom Burns, Psychiatry: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2006.
An overview of psychiatry which helps place the development of psychotherapy in its professional context.
Gillian Butler and Tony Hope, Manage Your Mind: The Mental Fitness Guide, Oxford University Press, 2007.
An easy and practical guide to self-help using the whole range of psychotherapy skills, with an emphasis on those used in CBT.
Gillian Butler and Freda McManus, Psychology: A Very Short Introduction, 2nd edition, Oxford University Press, 2014.
An authoritative introduction to psychology as a science and a profession.
Mick Cooper, Essential Research Findings in Counselling and Psychotherapy: The Facts are Friendly, Sage, 2008.
A comprehensive and accessible summary of research findings and their implications for psychotherapy practice.
Colin Feltham, What’s the Good of Counselling and Psychotherapy? Sage, 2002.
A series of perspectives on all aspects of psychotherapy, from target problems and ethics through to its broader achievements.
Sue Gerhardt, Why Love Matters, How Affection Shapes a Baby’s Brain, Brunner-Routledge, 2004.
An accessible, if detailed, interpretation of relevant recent findings in neuroscience and psychology. Probably for the more committed reader.
Stephen Grosz, The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves, Chatto and Windus, 2013.
Tales drawn from the day-to-day practice of an experienced psychoanalyst, which capture the essence of the analytic experience and the stories people need to tell.
Jeremy Holmes, John Bowlby and Attachment Theory, Routledge, 1993.
An in-depth yet readable presentation of John Bowlby and his theories, brought to life through vivid clinical vignettes by this prolific commentator on psychotherapy.
Adam Phillips, Winnicott, Fontana Modern Masters, Fontana Press, 1988.
An introduction to the life and work of Donald Winnicott by a well-known psychotherapist and essayist. Readers would benefit from prior background understanding of analytic concepts.
Anthony Roth and Peter Fonagy, What Works for Whom? A Critical Review of Psychotherapy Research, Guildford Press, 1996.
A most comprehensive compilation of research evidence for psychotherapies. Very authoritative but mainly for professionals.
Robin Skynner and John Cleese, Families and How to Survive Them, Mandarin, 1984.
A best-selling self-help book co-authored by a psychotherapist and a comedian. It takes the form of dialogues between the two and is both educational and amusing.
Anthony Storr, The Art of Psychotherapy, 2nd edition, Butterworth Heinemann, 1990.
A humane and profound account of the process of psychotherapy, mainly aimed at those in training or in related fields.
Anthony Storr, Freud: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, 1989.
A comprehensive and readable account of the man and his developing theories. It offers a nuanced critique rather than simply a chronological outline.
Elizabeth Wilde McCormick, Change for the Better: Self-Help Through Practical Psychotherapy, Sage, 2012.
A self-help book using easy conversational language, arranged around the ideas of CAT. Relevant for anyone interested in how we become who we are and how to improve things for our troubled selves.
Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn, The Mindful Way Through Depression, Guilford Press, 2007.
A resource for learning about mindfulness drawing on meditative traditions and cognitive therapy, complete with a CD of guided meditations.
Irvin D. Yalom, The Gift of Therapy: Reflections on Being a Therapist, Piatkus, 2001.
An honest and engaging account of various aspects of the psychotherapeutic process, reflecting Yalom’s respectful stance to his patients and his work.
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