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Bibliotherapy is the use of books and other reading materials to help people learn how to cope with emotional and mental health problems. There is very good evidence that books can help people to feel better and all the books listed here have been chosen because they have been proven to be beneficial.

The bibliotherapy approach was successfully pioneered in Cardiff and is now being spread across the country. Most of the books are based on a stuctured Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) approach and offer step-by-step treatment programmes for problems ranging from managing anger to overcoming low self-esteem. For more information about CBT click on the link below.



Of course, as with all self-help methods, you will get out what you put in so you do need to be prepared to make some effort. Not all books are useful for everybody but, on the whole, if you make an effort to follow the advice and guidance that the book offers you will make changes to the way you feel.

The Books on Prescription Scheme
Librarians and clinicians in Northamptonshire have joined forces to introduce bibliotherapy as an innovative way of treating common mental health problems. Alongside traditional treatments for problems such as anxiety and depression, clinicians in Northamptonshire will now be able to prescribe self-help books. You can then take your prescription to any library in the county and exchange it for the book. This service is confidential and the library staff will not share information about you or the books you borrow.

If you feel that any of the books listed below may help they are available at your local library. To find out details of where your nearest library is please contact the Northamptonshire Libraries and Information Service on 01604 462049 or go to the libraries website listed below. If you feel that a book may help but you are unsure which one would be most beneficial to you please speak to your doctor, nurse or a librarian and they will be able to advise you about which book to take out.


Anger Management
Overcoming Anger and Irritability - Will Davies
Managing Anger - Gael Lindenfield
Anorexia Nervosa
Breaking Free from Anorexia Nervosa - Janet Treasure
Overcoming Anorexia Nervosa - Christopher Freeman 
Overcoming Anxiety - Helen Kennerley
Assertiveness (women)
Woman in your own Right - Anne Dickson
Binge Eating and Anorexia Nervosa
Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating - Peter Cooper
Overcoming Binge Eating - Christopher Fairburn
Getting Better Bit(e) by Bit(e) - Ulrike Schmidt
Overcoming Depression - Paul Gilbert
Mind Over Mood - Dennis Greenburger
The Feeling Good Handbook - David Burns
Overcoming Compulsive Gambling - Alex Blaszcynski
Head Injuries
Head Injury: A Practical Guide - Trevor Powell
Health Anxiety
Stop Worrying about your Health! - George Zgourides
Manic Depression
Overcoming Mood Swings - Jan Scott
Obsessions and Compulsions
Understanding Obsessions and Compulsions - Frank Tallis
Overcoming Panic - Derrick Silove
Panic Attacks - Christopher Ingham
Overcoming Traumatic Stress - Claudia Herbert
Overcoming Low Self-Esteem - Melanie Fennel
Self-Esteem for Women - Lynda Field
Self-Esteem - Gael Lindenfield
Child Sexual Abuse (adult survivors)
Breaking Free - Carolyn Ainscough
The Courage to Heal - Ellen Bass
Social Anxiety/Social Phobia
Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness - Gillian Butler
Managing Stress; Teach Yourself - Terry Looker
How to Stop Worrying - Frank Tallis

We are currently putting together a list of fiction, poetry, biographies, films and music that help improve wellbeing. These may be things that are inspirational, tell a story that has resonance with the way you are feeling or simply make you laugh. If you have any ideas for a piece of literature, film or music to be included on the link please email:




Changing Minds, Mobile X3 Park Campus, University of Northampton, Boughton Green Road, Northampton, NN2 6AL