self help books as good as therapy

Are self-help books as good as therapy?

If you are struggling with problems in your life, you might turn to self-help books to begin working on yourself. You might also consider therapy. However, there may be several reasons you initially stray away from the idea of therapy. Whatever those reasons may be, self-help books could be the resource you turn to. Are self-help books as good as therapy?

In most cases, therapy is going to be a better option than self-help books. Still, self-help books can benefit you in many ways. While therapy has more advantages than self-help books, there are plenty of self-help books out there to boost your progress.

Read on to learn more about whether self-help books are as good as therapy. Therapy is typically a better choice individually, but adding to your progress by reading self-help books can work wonders in your personal life. You will also learn 7 great self-help books almost as good as therapy.

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Good Therapy Is Hard To Replace, Even With A Great Book

If you have the option of and means by which you can afford therapy, a good therapist can be exactly what you need. The opportunity to at least release the weight off of your shoulders can be helpful enough, but also working with a trained professional to sort out, process, and think through your problems can be life-changing.

If you can find a therapist that you mesh well with, chances are that you are going to value the relationship, albeit a professional encounter. A therapist who shows that they truly care about their field and their patients or clients is worth keeping in touch with.

At the end of the day, therapy is better than self-help books nine out of ten times. Unless you have the misfortune of meeting with a sub-par therapist, therapy is proven to promote progress among individuals. As you will see below, however, self-help books have their advantages.

Are Self-Help Books As Good As Therapy?

While good therapy is hard to replace, self-help books are not useless. Overall, no, self-help books may not be as good as therapy. However, some studies show that the treatment outcomes of those in therapy versus those who read self-help books are similar.

Self-help books can be wonderful. When delving into the science behind how people react to therapy versus self-help books, the line on which is better may be blurred. However, there are more concrete aspects that influence the majority opinion that therapy is better than self-help books.

There is a huge difference between reading a professional’s book and speaking with a professional face-to-face regularly. Sure, a self-help book can teach you certain practices and reassure you, but a therapist can analyze and help you work through your problems as an individual. Self-help books can appeal to individual problems, but there is certainly more generalization in writing than there is in a developed relationship with a therapist.

It is also worth noting that therapy is not a better option 100% of the time. For instance, if you do not feel that you and the therapist are a good fit. Sometimes, things simply may not work out. In this case, you might look into seeing a new therapist or trying out self-help books for a change.

7 Great Self-Help Books Almost As Good As Therapy

Because self-help books can be such great resources for guiding you through your struggles in life, you are probably interested in which books to turn to. Depending on your individual problems, stresses, and daily routine, different self-help books may appeal to you more or less. Below are 7 great self-help books that are almost as good as therapy.

You Are A Badass

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life is a bestseller self-help book. Jen Sincero combines funny stories with influential lessons to assure readers that it is never too late to get a fresh start. By recognizing ideas and behaviors that hold you back, you can work past your bad habits and intrusive thoughts.

Atomic Habits

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break bad Ones is one of the most highly-rated self-help books you can find. James Clear discusses the scientific processes that surround good and bad habits, teaching you to change your routine. You may have the most willing mindset to better yourself, but nothing can be done until you change your daily habits.

Self-Love Workbook for Women

Megan Logan’s Self-Love Workbook for Women: Release Self-Doubt, Build Self-Compassion, and Embrace Who You Are dives into discovering yourself through self-love. She implements techniques that will teach you to appreciate yourself more and value the relationships with people around you.

Let That Sh*t Go

In Monica Sweeney’s Let That Sh*t Go: A Journal for Leaving Your Bullsh*t Behind and Creating a Happy Life, you will learn to relieve yourself of stress through therapeutic journaling. Sweeney details the idea that spending time holding grudges and worrying about the past is a waste of time and energy. Instead, you should “let that sh*t go.”

The Alchemist

Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist is another bestseller but is much different from other self-help books. This fiction work tells the story of Santiago who finds himself on a quest for something he had not previously sought. The Alchemist contains themes that involve capitalizing on triumphs in one’s life to attain an ultimate goal.

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horseis a heartwarming self-help book about honesty and discovery. Charlie Mackesy’s illustrations and words reveal struggles and fears as well as short, inspiring conversations containing life lessons. This book teaches that it is okay to be scared, but attitude is everything.

Make Your Bed

Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life… And Maybe The World is an excellent read. Admiral William H. McRaven’s viral commencement speech at the University of Texas at Austin influenced him to create this self-help book. Within the pages, you will read stories of his experience as a Navy Seal that provide wisdom surrounding the keys to encouragement, motivation, and achievement.


Therapy is typically a better option than only reading self-help books, but combining the two can work wonders in your life. If you find the right self-help books that suit your fancy, you will learn that problems you are dealing with in your life can be manageable, and you can take away immense information from the accounts you read.