Self-Help Resources for Anxiety and Depression

You’ve decided it’s time to focus on your mental health. If you know me, you’ve heard my stance that it is so important to actually attend therapy, rather than trying to “do it yourself.” Even if you have all the knowledge you need, it’s hard to treat yourself. I get it, however, that you may not have the time or money to attend therapy right now.


This is a guide for adults seeking help themselves or as parents of youth struggling with their mental health. I will focus on treatment of anxiety, OCD, and depression. Many of these resources were created by the psychologists who pioneered the research and use these principles in their clinical practice. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of resources, but these are the best books and online programs that I have come across.


Self-Help Workbooks for Adults – Anxiety, OCD, and Depression


The Unified Protocol for Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders by Barlow and colleagues is designed to help adults experiencing anxiety and depression. It focuses on key treatment area identified by research. The workbook can be found here: https://www.oxfordclinicalpsych.com/view/10.1093/med-psych/9780190686017.001.0001/med-9780190686017


Mastery of Your Anxiety and Worry by Craske and Barlow is designed for adults looking to better manage their anxiety. It is based on cognitive-behavioral treatment of anxiety. The workbook can be found here: https://www.oxfordclinicalpsych.com/view/10.1093/med:psych/9780195300017.001.0001/med-9780195300017


Mastery of Your Anxiety and Panic by Barlow and Crake is designed for those seeking help for panic attacks. It can be found here: https://www.oxfordclinicalpsych.com/view/10.1093/med:psych/9780195311358.001.0001/med-9780195311358


Getting Over OCD by Jonathan Abramowitz assists adults in working through Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) from a cognitive-behavioral perspective. It can be found here: https://www.guilford.com/books/Getting-Over-OCD/Jonathan-Abramowitz/9781462529704


Freedom From Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder by Jonathan Grayson is another helpful book for OCD: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/291405/freedom-from-obsessive-compulsive-disorder-by-jonathan-grayson/


Say Good Night to Insomnia by Jacobs teaches a research-backed program for retraining your brain to sleep through the night. Anxiety and depression can have a major impact on sleep quality. The book can be found here: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9780805089585


Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life by Steven Hayes takes an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) perspective. This book can help with learning to avoid the avoidance that may be contributing to distress: https://www.newharbinger.com/9781572244252/get-out-of-your-mind-and-into-your-life/


Stop Avoiding Stuff by Boone, Gregg, and Coyne is a great pocket-sized book of tips from an ACT perspective: https://www.newharbinger.com/9781684036073/stop-avoiding-stuff/


Books for Parents of Anxious Kids and Teens


Breaking Free of Child Anxiety and OCD by Eli Lebowitz teaches the Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions (SPACE) model to parents. SPACE helps parents learn to prevent parental accommodation of anxiety (e.g., letting your child sleep in your bed, if not culturally appropriate) in order to support their child learning to face their fears. The book can be found here: https://www.oxfordclinicalpsych.com/view/10.1093/med-psych/9780190883522.001.0001/med-9780190883522


Both Freeing Your Child from Anxiety and Freeing Your Child from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder by Tamar Chansky teach parents skills to support their child’s anxiety treatment: https://tamarchansky.com/books/freeing-your-child-from-obsessive-compulsive-disorder/


Books for Kids and Teens with Anxiety and OCD


Outsmarting Worry by Dawn Huebner is a workbook that helps kids face their fears. It can be found here: https://www.dawnhuebnerphd.com/outsmarting-worry-managing-anxiety/


It’s Only a False Alarm by Piacentini, Langley, and Roblek helps kids learn how to tackle their OCD: https://www.oxfordclinicalpsych.com/view/10.1093/med:psych/9780195310528.001.0001/med-9780195310528


The ACT Workbook for Teens with OCD by Patricia Zurita Ona helps teens learn to manage their intrusive thoughts from an ACT perspective: https://us.jkp.com/collections/author-patricia-zurita-ona-psy-d-pid-214486/products/the-act-workbook-for-teens-with-ocd


Online Programs for Adults

Mindtrails is a free, online program that offers interpretation bias training. The program trains your brain to behave more flexibly. This program is appropriate as an intervention for anxiety. It can be found here: https://mindtrails.virginia.edu


Online Programs for Parents

Project EMPOWER is a free, one session program for parents of anxious youth. This Is offered by the Schleider Lab, which provides easy-to-access evidence-based interventions. Project EMPOWER teaches parents skills to assist their kids with anxiety. It can be accessed here: http://www.schleiderlab.org/empower.html


Online Programs for Teens

Project YES is a free, short-term program for teens to learn skills to manage their distress. It is another offering of the Schleider Lab. It can be accessed here: http://www.schleiderlab.org/yes.html


Track to Treat is free opportunity to engage in a research study, another offering of the Schleider Lab. This program is designed for teens with depression. It can be accessed here: http://www.schleiderlab.org/ongoingstudies.html

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