Recommended books on treating shame and self-criticism and increasing self-compassion

Books on the treatment of shame:

Shame in the Therapy Hour - The first handbook ever published on the treatment of shame. It contains chapters on how to work with shame in therapy from a variety of theoretical perspectives. This is a must-have if you do a lot of work with people with shame and low self-esteem.

Compassion-Focused Therapy - A key reference source for learning compassion-focused therapy. It's concise, filled with clinical wisdom, and a handy reference for thinking through how to work with shame and self-criticism.

CFT Made Simple - An excellent and very readable introduction to compassion-focused therapy, with a fantastic chapter showing how to use chair-work with highly self-critical clients.

The Body Keeps the Score - An excellent book on how trauma and shame affect our minds and bodies.

Adaptive Disclosure for Moral InjuryA New Treatment that Uses Exposure and Perspective Taking to Address Problematic Social Emotions such as Shame. One of the best researched treatments for moral injury is something called Adaptive Disclosure. In addition to teaching people how to do the intervention, the book also outlines the basics of military culture so that these factors can be taken into account during treatment. Read our review of the book here.

Books on compassion:

The ACT Practitioner's Guide to the Science of Compassion - This is the first book on the market to provide an in-depth discussion of compassion in the context of ACT and other behavioral sciences. It offers case conceptualization, assessments, and direct clinical applications that integrate ACT, functional analytic psychotherapy, and compassion focused therapy to enhance your clinical practice.

There are many information readings on self-compassion by Kristin Neff. Read our post about some of our favorites.  

Books on Belonging:

For anyone who is a fan of, Tribe is an extremely relevant book that will help you better understand your client’s needs for belonging and how disruptions in belonging are linked to traumatic reactions and relationship difficulties Read our review of the book here.

To learn more about how to use the two-chair technique for self-conflict:

Learning Emotion-Focused Therapy- This book has a great chapter on how to use the two chair for self conflict, in the style of emotion-focused therapy. It's also a great introduction to emotion-focused therapy in general.

Facilitating emotional change - This is a classic book with detailed instructions for how to do the two chair task for self conflict from emotion-focused therapy. 

At the present time, these are my key resources that I reference when I'm trying to think through a tough case. They all have excellent information to offer. Hope you enjoy them.

P.S. Some of these links are affiliate links. What that means is that will get a small commission if you purchase a book through the link. It doesn't cost you any more, but does help me support the cost of running this website. Thank you if you decide to purchase through one of these links!

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