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The Expert Bookshelf: Best Books for Future Therapists - The Therapist's Bookshelf
The Expert Bookshelf: Best Books for Future Therapists

The Expert Bookshelf: Best Books for Future Therapists

Have you ever wondered what books the top people in our field are reading? In this series we ask some of our favorite authors and psychology heroes to share their top picks with us.

Dr. Debra Mollen a psychologist and tenured professor at Texas Woman’s University. She has been training the next generation of counselors and psychologists at Texas Woman’s University since 2005 and recently co-authored the 8th edition of the classic text, The Internship, Practicum, and Field Placement Handbook.

You can get your own copy of any book listed by clicking on the title or photo. Most links are affiliate links which means we make a small commission without costing you anything extra. You can learn more here.

The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients by Irvin Yalom

With his incisive understanding of the power of long-term therapy and his unflappable approach to treatment, Dr. Yalom brings his unique approach to the field to life in this palpably digestible book.

Letters to a Young Therapist by Mary Pipher

With the wisdom of a trusted advisor, Dr. Pipher embraces a practical approach to therapy in this collection of gems directed toward a young therapist under her supervision.

Creatures of a Day: And Other Tales of Psychotherapy by Irvin D. Yalom

Dr. Yalom shares tales from his multi-decades-long journey into the most intimate alcoves of his clients’ lives, demonstrating with compassion the power of therapy to impact the one who helps and the one who is helped.

I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough” by Brené Brown

In her uniquely accessible style, informed by years of her groundbreaking research, Dr. Brown incisively deconstructs the elements of the shame web and offers antidotes to the disconnection that undermines our well-being.

Fear and Other Uninvited Guests: Tackling the Anxiety, Fear, and Shame That Keep Us from Optimal Living and Loving by Harriet Lerner

In this outstanding work on emotion, Dr. Lerner helps us understand the affective experiences that tend to bring the most discomfort. Filled with examples from her own clinical practice, this book provides useful counsel to anyone committed to working with affect in therapy and beyond.

The Internship, Practicum, and Field Placement Handbook (8th edition) by Brian N. Baird and Debra Mollen

The Internship, Practicum, and Field Placement Handbook is a practical guide for interns in the helping professions with real-world knowledge of the skills students need through every phase of their practicum, field placement, or internship. This text guides students through the essential skills needed for beginning work in the field of mental health and outlines skills that will serve students throughout their academic and professional careers. Skills discussed include how to make a great first impression, understanding the process and content of clinical writing, recordkeeping, working with peers and supervisors, understanding diversity, cultivating self-care, and promoting safety. The authors discuss the phases of the internship chronologically: from finding and preparing for placements to concluding relationships with clients and supervisors. Following an evidence and competency-based approach, the latest research findings are reviewed from the fields of psychology, social work, and counseling. The Internship, Practicum, and Field Placement Handbook is a resource for students, faculty, and supervisors engaged in the exciting, challenging experience of transitioning from academia into clinical training in the field. Free online resources available here.


Debra Mollen is Professor in Counseling Psychology and Affiliate Faculty in the Department of Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies at Texas Woman’s University in Denton. She is also a licensed psychologist. Debra earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology with a minor in Gender Studies from Indiana University. At TWU, she teaches mainly graduate coursework including Psychology of Human Sexuality, Psychology of Gender, and Multicultural Psychology. Debra has published widely in the areas of women’s sexuality, childfree women, reproductive justice, multiculturalism, and professional development. She serves on the Editorial Boards of Psychology of Women Quarterly and Journal of Counseling Psychology. She has been recognized for her work by her university with several honors, including the Pioneer for Diversity Award, the Mary Mason Lyon Award, and as the 2016 Distinguished Faculty Member by the Graduate Student Council. From 2014-2016, Debra served as the Chairperson of the American Psychological Association Division 17 Section for the Advancement of Women. She is a Co-Chairperson for the American Psychological Association’s Revisions for the Guidelines for Practice with Girls and Women. Debra was awarded Fellow status in Division 17 for the American Psychological Association in 2019.

If you know of another book we need to review, let us know here or tell us about it in the comments. Make sure you’re also following The Therapist’s Bookshelf on Facebook and Instagram.

Many therapists enjoy recommending books to their clients to supplement the work they are doing together. We also use books to help ourselves grow as people and practitioners. Remember though that books are never a replacement for real human connection or for therapy when it’s needed. If you find yourself needing a therapist, a great place to start is Psychology Today. If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

Le Shepard

Le Shepard, LPC earned her MA in Counseling Psychology from Texas Woman's University in Denton, TX. She sees clients face to face at Wise County Christian Counseling and works with individuals or couples through her online-only private practice. 1000 Hills Counseling & Consulting. Le loves to read, adventure, and play with her corgi or kids.

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