top of page
  • Writer's pictureDominic Schmuck, Ph.D.

The Best Self Help Books for Depression

Updated: Apr 25

Are you struggling to find a self-help book that truly addresses your depression? With countless titles claiming to hold the key to overcoming depression, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Many authors in the mental health space lack the expertise needed to provide effective guidance; they may offer well-intentioned advice but lack research-based knowledge and clinical experience.

Reading self help book

As a psychologist who has published and presented my own research in the field and now runs a thriving private practice, I want to help you cut through the noise and identify the best self help books for depression. I've curated a list of the top 5 self-help books tailored specifically for depression. Each book on this list is written by authors with extensive research and clinical backgrounds, and a deep understanding of evidence-based practices proven to make a difference in the lives of those struggling with depression

Every book recommended here is one that I have personally endorsed to my clients, family, and friends. Without further ado, explore the list below, presented in no particular order, and take the first step towards reclaiming your well-being.

1. The Depression Cure

The depression cure book cover

Dr. Stephen Ilardi, an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Kansas, brings his expertise in depression and mood disorders to light in "The Depression Cure." This engaging book adopts a holistic approach to tackling depression, offering actionable strategies for change.

Best for: People seeking a comprehensive treatment approach. "The Depression Cure" addresses nutrition, sleep, activities, thought processes, social connections, & more. It's a compelling resource for a holistic way of managing depression effectively.

2. Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn't Teach You and Medication Can't Give You

Undoing Depression Book Cover

While depression stems from various factors like genetics, biochemistry, and environment, "Undoing Depression" delves into how your habits impact your symptoms and offers strategies to reverse them. The author, Dr. Richard O'Conner, served as the executive director of the Northwest Center for Family Service and Mental Health and has published five books.

Best for: Those seeking to cultivate compassion towards their depression, overcome feelings of guilt and shame associated with their diagnosis, and wanting to take control of their recovery.

3. The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living

The happiness trap book cover

The happiness trap is authored by Dr. Russ Harris, one of the leading experts of Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT). It is also on my list of the best self help books for anxiety because it is that good! The book really helps you reevaluate your life, learn practical coping strategies, and develop a rich and meaningful life.

Best for: Individuals seeking a comprehensive guide to managing depression and enhancing overall mental well-being. It offers insights to help you shift your perspective, cultivate self-compassion, and embrace life more fully.

4. The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression

The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression Book Cover

Dr. William Knaus, a licensed psychologist and prominent practitioner of  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), authored this book. The foreword was written by Dr. Albert Ellis, a pioneer in CBT, is a significant testament to the book's credibility and trustworthiness, in my opinion.

Best for: Individuals seeking to address depression by challenging their current thought patterns and beliefs. This book offers strategies to enact meaningful changes in life, reducing susceptibility to depressive episodes.

5. Retrain Your Brain: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in 7 Weeks

Retrain your brain book cover

"Retrain Your Brain: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in 7 Weeks" by Dr. Seth Gillihan offers a structured approach to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The book is authored by a former faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania who now runs his own private practice. This workbook introduces you to CBT principles and leads you through exercises aimed at enhancing your well-being.

Best for: Those wanting a practical workbook to tackle both depression and anxiety. Given the frequent co-occurrence of depression and anxiety, this book is essential on this list.

I Need More Than a Self Help Book for Depression, What Can I Do?

If you've explored self-help books or other resources for managing depression and are seeking more personalized support, consider reaching out to a therapist.

As the owner of TruU Psychology and someone who can work with clients in over 40 PSYPACT participating states, I have extensive experience supporting individuals through challenges such as depression, irritability, emotional distress, anxiety, and more. My expertise often involves working with driven professionals, supporting individuals through life transitions, addressing relationship trauma, and assisting with religious trauma and faith crises.

Feel free to explore my website to learn more about me and my therapeutic approach. You can also explore my services.

Contact me by calling/texting (385) 200-0204 or emailing You can also schedule a free 15-minute consult here to see if you would like to work with me. If no timeslot appears through the link, then I likely have a waitlist. Call/text/email instead.


Start your healing journey with evidence based therapy by TruU Psychology

Get Started on Your

Healing Journey

bottom of page