The Power of Therapy Book Club for Personal Growth 

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Counseling, New therapists, Online Therapy, Teen therapy

The Power of Therapy Book Club for Personal Growth 

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Therapy book club: a game changer for personal growth. The therapy book club is not your ordinary book club–it’s a collaborative space in which you and your clients can explore the complexities of mental health, share stories, and learn new tactics to improve their wellness. Keep reading to learn more! 

What is a Therapy Book Club and Why is it Helpful? 

A therapy book club can be whatever you make of it—its structure and process is all up to you and your fellow members. For most, though, it is a community of people hoping to learn about and improve their mental health, joining together to gather and explore the teachings of mental health and therapy-related books. Though it involves reading, the purpose is more than just speaking about each chapter. It is more about fostering a shared space to reflect on the perspectives and new ideas that your book of choice brings up. Most importantly, it allows clients to continue learning outside of their therapy sessions, and have material to look back on when it comes time to reflect or practice therapy techniques. 

Therapy, at times, can be a bit isolating. Clients may find themselves engrossed in their journeys. This is precisely where the therapy book club steps in as a valuable support system. If you choose to create group book club sessions, it can act as a new support system for clients, helping them learn from and connect to others going through similar journeys. If the book club is just you and your client, it can help you both connect outside of formal therapy and discover new strategies you may not have covered in sessions.


My Therapy Book Club Favorites (so far)

Below, you can find some of my favorite books to assign and discuss in the therapy book club!

The Gaslight Effect: How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulation Others Use to Control Your Life by Robin Stern

This book contains an exploration of the ways manipulation can impact one’s self and reality. It sheds light on the phenomenon of gaslighting, offering readers insight into recognizing when they may be experiencing it, and navigating how to escape this hidden form of control. For clients reading this in book club, this book provides a roadmap for understanding manipulative behaviors they may have previously missed, and empowering them to reclaim their sense of autonomy and power in the situation. It may be a wake-up call for many to get out of a toxic relationship and leaves a lot of room for reflection. 

The Better Boundaries Workbook: A CBT-Based Program to Help You Set Limits, Express Your Needs, and Create Healthy Relationships by Sharon Martin MSW LCSW

This workbook is a guide grounded in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, principles. It empowers clients to maintain healthy boundaries in both their personal and professional lives. This book contains interactive activities and strategies that help increase self-awareness, communication skills, and overall well-being. Clients can discuss the activities they worked on together, and share what worked/didn’t work for them, and why. 

The Self-Love Workbook: A Life-Changing Guide to Boost Self-Esteem, Recognize Your Worth and Find Genuine Happiness by Dr. Shainna Ali

This workbook is a guide that allows clients to explore the journey towards self-love and building a healthy relationship with themselves. Reflective exercises and prompts are provided to enhance one’s self-esteem and recognize their worth. Clients can take on a new practice or strategy each meeting, and share how it has affected their wellness journey. 

The ACT Workbook for Perfectionism: Build Your Best (Imperfect) Life Using Powerful Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Self-Compassion Skills by Jennifer Kemp MPsych

This workbook is a valuable tool for therapy clients looking to improve their relationship with perfectionism. It combines the principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or ACT, with self-compassion skills, providing tools for resisting perfectionistic tendencies. This can help clients learn how to embrace imperfection and increase their sense of resilience and positive self-talk, which they can speak about in book club.


How I Do It

I find it effective to assign a single chapter at a time for each session of therapy book club, as this ensures a focused exploration of the material. This pacing allows clients to engage deeper with the content through reflection and understanding and makes the book club feel less like homework. As they delve into the assigned chapter, I encourage clients to take notes on key themes, passages that resonate with them, and personal reflections. They can take these notes in a separate notebook, or even just highlight important passages in the book to bring to the next session to reference. During our scheduled meetings, we dedicate time to speaking on what we learned and uncovered in the reading. This method not only creates meaningful exploration of the book’s themes but also promotes a collaborative environment. 

Why I Love It

I love the idea of a therapy book club for many reasons. First, it contributes to my growth and effectiveness as a therapist. I am always learning from my clients, and I love expanding my understanding of therapeutic concepts and gaining fresh insight. A book club acts as a powerful tool for revisiting past materials, sort of like a refresher on foundational principles and a reminder of the insights that may have slipped through the cracks over time. 

Additionally, the therapy book club creates a built-in system of accountability. As I engage in discussions with clients about the chapters, there is a mutual commitment to keep the learning process continuous—for both of us! If we ever find ourselves feeling stuck, the book club provides flexibility to introduce other materials or talk about what is not working. The selected materials often bring up memories or insights that clients may have forgotten about or overlooked if the book hadn’t been brought up. Therapy book club facilitates learning and creates a space for ongoing growth, which is an idea I greatly value. It’s great for both of us to see the memories and stories that come up just from reading an example or prompt on a page. 

To increase the sense of community my clients have in the mental health space, I am considering creating a group therapy book club in which we can virtually share brunch and discuss various books together. Stay tuned for this!

To discuss how therapy could help you during this season of your life, please contact me or schedule your free 15 minute consultation.

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