View Full Version : Book recommendation on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

07-20-2010, 04:41 PM
I am currently writing a sequel to a previous book about an ex soldier with post traumatic stress disorder [PTSD]. I am up to speed on PTSD itself but not its treatment, and my sequel is largely about his treatment for PTSD. I'm not a 'psychologist' or therapist of any sort, although I have a degree in rats-in-boxes type psych. and am au fait with the general literature. Unless someone can convince me of the error of my ways, I want to address my character's PTSD through Cognitive Behaviour Therapy [CBT]. Problem; I know next to nothing about CBT.

Question: Can you recommend a good book [or website] on CBT? i.e. a book you personally have read! I already have the Dummies CBT and their CBT Workbook. There must be something better!

'Good book' obviously begs a number of other questions but what I mean is a book written by a practitioner or professional rather than a wannabe or amateur; of a predominantly practical nature rather than mere theorising; and one that includes case studies.

If you know of a good/useful website I would be very grateful for the URL. I have visited the following;


Apologies if this is in the wrong place! but this one sounded like it might fit the bill. Please advise if I should move it elsewhere. Many thanks for any help/advice.

07-21-2010, 01:42 AM
"Mind Over Mood" by Greenberger and Padesky (it had been recommended to me several years ago). The authors are clinical psychologists and professors.

I confess that I read only part of the book (which includes exercises and worksheets), but it speaks in plain language, is persuasive and deals with nuts and bolts issues.

M.R.J. Le Blanc
07-21-2010, 05:17 AM
I've been through CBT, if you think what I went through might help let me know. It wasn't for PTSD, but I'm sure there shouldn't be too much of a difference.

07-21-2010, 05:57 PM
Thanks Phyllo, I'll have a look at 'Mind Over Mood'.
And thanks Le Blanc. Might take you up on the offer if you think you can cope with spending 2-3 weeks stuffed in my rucksack! as that's what I'm after by way of a bit of holiday reading.

07-30-2010, 07:16 AM
Hi e-quill --

I'm a psychologist who used CBT heavily while I was practicing (I teach now, mostly); I also worked with PTSD -- trauma is an interest of mine.

I'm going to recommend a couple of books to you.

The first is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Complete Treatment Guide by Aphrodite Matsakis. It is, bar none, the best book on treating PTSD out there. It IS a clinician's book and breaks the whole treatment down with worksheets, session tips, and so on. It also discusses CBT and other approaches like flooding/in vivo exposure (also a behavioral therapy).

Link to Matsakis' book (http://tinyurl.com/29mylxj)

If you want a true clinician's handbook on CBT, you cannot do better than Judith Beck's Cognitive Therapy: Basics and Beyond.

Link to Cognitive Therapy book (http://tinyurl.com/2dsacav)

CBT was created by Aaron Beck (cognitive therapy) and Albert Ellis (Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy) -- Judith is Aaron's daughter. This is one of the books I was trained with, and I can't recommend it highly enough. Mind Over Mood is good, but it is more of a layperson's book than a professional reference.

One thing about PTSD is that there is some emphasis on exposure therapies, which is more behavioral than cognitive. Matsakis's book will introduce you to those. More and more research is showing that VR (virtual reality) approaches can be very helpful. There are VR environments that have been created especially for certain populations, e.g. people who have been on the frontlines in Afghanistan.

You may also want to consider EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), a somewhat controversial but -- for some people -- life-altering therapy. If you want more information on that or anything else above, feel free to contact me. I'm not always good at checking my AW messages, but I'm easy to reach through my psychology-for-writers site at http://archetypewriting.com/qa/qaform.htm. You have to forgive the form -- it's a way to circumvent spam. If you use it, I'll email you back and we can talk that way.

Finally, I have to throw in a little plug for my upcoming book, since it's relevant and includes information on all of the above, including how CBT really looks in practice, PTSD, EMDR, and so forth: The Writer's Guide to Psychology: How to Write Accurately About Psychological Disorders, Clinical Treatment and Human Behavior. The book will hit shelves on December 1st, but it's available for pre-order (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1884995683?ie=UTF8&tag=archetyppsych-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1884995683) at your favorite online retailer!

Link to The Writer's Guide to Psychology (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1884995683?ie=UTF8&tag=archetyppsych-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1884995683)

07-30-2010, 11:39 AM
Excellent post archetypewriting! I will certainly look out for your suggestions, and your own book, The Writer's Guide to Psychology, looks like a must as well. I literally have my foot in the stirrup to leave for a couple of days research. [I only checked my emails to get the address of where the hell we are staying!] My main character's treatment is at the hands of a therapist based in Dorchester [UK]. I must check that the clock in the main street strikes the hours etc. I am particularly interested in what you say about VR as 'my' therapist contrives aspects of re-enactment that may well, by accident, match best practice. On the other hand they may not, but no patter; he is unorthodox. But I am keen to avoid making unwitting howlers.

Many thanks for the help.

In case anyone else treads the same path, since my original posting, I have found 'The Stress of Combat' by Roy Brook [1999] of interest on the background to PTSD among servicemen, 'Overcoming Traumatic Stress' by Claudia Herbert and Ann Wetmore [1999] of considerable use, and am just reading 'Overcoming Sexual Problems' by Vicki Ford which, along with the previous, is one of a number of books in the 'Overcoming' series published by Robinson being "self-help guides using CBT".

As further background on PTSD among servicemen I will try and get hold of the following:

Ahrenfelt, R. H.: Psychiatry in the Brit Army in the 2nd W.W [1958]
Dyke, Capt. David Hart RN: article in ‘King George’s Fund for Sailors Review’ [April and July 1991]
Fergusson, Bernard: Beyond the Chindwin [1957]
Herbert, A.P.: ‘The Secret Battle’ Based on death of Sub-Lieut Edwin Dyett executed for cowardice Christmas 1916.
Hughes, Steven: Inside Madness British Med. Journal. [Vol 301 Dec 1990]
McLaughlan, Redmond: The Royal Army Medical Corps [1971]
McManners, Hugh: The Scars of War [Gulf War]
Moore, William: ‘The Thin Yellow Line’ 1974
O’Brien, L.S. and Hughes, S.J.: ‘Symptoms of PTSD in Falklands Veterans Five Years After Conflict’. B.J.P. [vol 159 1991
Sargent, William: The Battle for the Mind [1957]
Stewart, Lt-Col Bob: Broken Lives [Balkans]
Whitely, J.S., and Gordon, John: Group Approaches in Psychiatry 1979.
Southborough Enquiry
‘Handbook of Army Health 1950’ War Office Code No. 5691-1
Report of the War Office Committee of Enquiry into Shell Shock HMSO 1922