Top Recommendations

Attachment in Psychotherapy, by David Wallin, is technical book that describes the core of all relational psychotherapies. I periodically reread particular passages from this excellent book to inspire my work with clients.

Between Therapist and Client, by Michael Kahn, is an accessible primer for psychotherapists about the nature of psychodynamic therapy and the therapeutic relationship.

Integrative Multitheoretical Psychotherapy, by Jeff Brooks-Harris, provides the best descriptions of the interventions within each of the major psychotherapies. There are many books that attempt to describe the “how to” of therapy, but this one is by far the best. If you’re confused about how the theories apply to actual practice, get this book.

Interpersonal Process in Therapy (6th edition), by Teyber and McClure, provides a granular and highly technical description of interpersonal and relational psychodynamic therapy. Each time I read passages from this book, it inspires me to be a better therapist.

Other Recommendations

Systems Therapy In Action, by Shelly Smith-Acuna, is by far the best book on systems theory, which is a difficult theory to describe and grasp. It’s short and easy-to-understand. I’ve been looking for decades for a book like this.

Psychoanalytic Diagnosis, by Nancy McWilliams, provides of the easiest to grasp descriptions of personality assessment. McWilliams is probably my favorite psychodynamic author. If you buy one book on psychodynamic theory, buy this one. I frequently reference it.

Psychotherapy Relationships That Work, edited by John Norcross, provides a strong empirical argument for all therapists to focus on the relationship: empathy, positive regard, self-disclosure, etc.

Developing Helping Skills (2nd edition), by Chang et al., is a comprehensive and technical book that provides guidance for novice therapists from everything from empathy to professionalism.

Couples, Gender, and Power: Creating Change in Intimate Relationships, edited by Knudson-Martin and Mahoney, is a compendium of helpful chapters on couples therapy and sexism.

Countertransference and the Therapist’s Inner Experience, by Gelso and Hayes, is a short, but comprehensive review of the history and research regarding countertransference. Should be required reading for all novice therapists.

Counseling Theory and Practice, by Edward Neukrug, is a graduate text book that describes each of the major psychotherapies. There are many similar books, but this is one is my current favorite.

Contexts and Connections, by David Shaddock, is an easy-to-understand, technical description of his integration of intersubjective and systemic psychotherapy. This book describes one of the main foundations of my approach to clients.

Handbook of Counseling and Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Clients, edited by Perez et al., provides guidance for psychotherapists regarding their LGBTQIA clients.

Family Therapy: Concepts and Methods (10th edition), by Michael Nichols, provides novice therapists with descriptions of each of the major family therapies. There are many other books like this, but this one is my current favorite.

Psychoanalytic Terms and Concepts, edited by Moore and Fine, is an encyclopedia-style compendium that provides technical definitions of major and minor psychoanalytic concepts.

Psychoanalysis: The Major Concepts, edited by Moore and Fine, provides detailed histories and explanations of the major concepts in psychoanalysis.

On Being a Therapist, by Jeffrey Kottler, is a book often assigned to new grad students. Kottler provides kind guidance for novice therapists. I remember enjoying this book when I started out.

Love’s Executioner,  by Irvin Yalom, is a book often assigned to new grad students. Yalom provides an inside look to what it is like to be a therapist.

On Becoming a Person, by Carl Rogers, is perhaps the foundational work of humanistic psychotherapy and therapy in general. It’s not only for clinicians, but lay people can also benefit from this book.

Handbook of Structured Techniques in Marriage and Family Therapy, by Sherman and Fredman, provides 59 in-session activities for therapists. Even if you never use these interventions, it’s helpful to read about their creative ideas.

The Gift of Therapy, by Irvin Yalom, is standard reading for novice therapists. He describes the struggle to help his clients. Lay people might also enjoy it as a look inside therapy and as a self-help guide.

Separation, by John Bowlby, is a foundational work in psychotherapy and psychological research. I thought this book would be simple, but it’s not. I often reference this book. It’s one of the foundations of my approach to clients.

Re-Visioning Family Therapy: Race, Culture, and Gender in Clinical Practice, edited by Monica McGoldrick, is a must-read for clinicians. This is the official multicultural book for my training program.

A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America, by Ronald Takaki, provides riveting stories of the true history of America, not the white-centric propaganda. This book changed my life in grad school.

An Invitation to Social Construction, by Kenneth Gergen. Although confusing at times, this is a short, but convincing, description of social constructionism. It is crucial that everyone, namely therapists, understand and apply this theory.

Basic Freud, by Michael Kahn, is an easy-to-understand explanation of a hard-to-understand theory. It’s a fun, informative read.

Constructing the Self, Constructing America: A Cultural History of Psychotherapy, by Philip Cushman. My mentor wrote this book and it reminds me of listening to him as he deconstructed history, psychotherapy, and the self.

Extraordinary Relationships, by Roberta Gilbert, is an accessible, short book about Bowenian theory.

Ethics in Counseling and Psychotherapy (5th edition), by Elizabeth Welfel, is the first book I turn to when it comes to ethical considerations. It’s comprehensive and clear.

Doing Family Therapy (2nd edition), by Robert Taibbi, is an easy-to-understand primer for novice family therapists.

Multirole Clinical Supervision, by Kirk Honda, provides evidence-based best practices for the 19 crucial roles in clinical supervision, along with personal stories of Kirk's own experiences as a supervisor and supervisee.

Borderline Resources

Countertransference and Psychotherapeutic Technique, by James Masterson

Countertransference in Couples Therapy, edited by Siegel and Solomon

Interpersonal Diagnosis of Treatment of Personality Disorders (2nd edition), by Lorna Smith Benjamin

Becoming a Constant Object in Psychotherapy with the Borderline Patient, by Charles Cohen