What’s In My Therapy Library: Adults Only Self-Help Books Edition
Warning! These self-help books books are full of curse words and other mature content. Might be NSFW or to read around children. That said, I think potty-mouthed self-help books are super fun.
Self-help can sometimes be gimmicky, and it can sometimes be so full of psychobabble that your average person can’t wrap their head around it. The books on this list are chock full of actual helpful information, brought down to a level that someone who doesn’t have a Ph.D. in psych can understand.
Just so you know, I’m having a little trouble getting my links to look like links. Problems that come with creating your own website! The big, bold titles of the books are actually the links to Amazon even though they look like plain ol’ words.
**Affiliate Disclaimer: I may receive a small commission from either Amazon or Bookshop.org if you make a purchase from this page. This is at no extra cost to you, and I would only recommend books that I have personally read and truly endorse!
Related: Master List of Book Posts
Potty-Mouthed Self-Help Books
By Robert Duff
I begin with these because Dr. Duff’s self-help books are an absolute perfect example of what I’m talking about– I believe that, in marketing his Hardcore Self-Help books, he actually uses the term psychobabble as well! Turns out, many people feel the same way about how super smart psychologists talk.
Dr. Duff is an intensely empathetic therapist, and F*ck Depression exemplifies that. He’s very good at relating to his readers and making them feel understood. And in this volume on depression, he not only teaches you about what your body is going through, but makes you feel normal and validated.
By Robert Duff
Obviously very similar to F*ck Depression, F*ck Anxiety is psychology brought down to your level. You’ll feel both understood and motivated to tackle your anxiety by the end.
If you’re interested, Dr. Duff also has a cool Youtube channel called Duff The Psych where he talks about lots of different topics under the psychology umbrella. He has also done a TED Talk which explains the deeper reasoning behind Hardcore Self-Help.
By Emma Koenig
This book will not be for everyone. It is a collection of essays on the female orgasm. That said, I think it’s an invaluable resource for women who are afraid to ask men for what they want in bed. I think it’s awesome for men who want to make sure they’re pleasing their sexual partners. Truly, I think it’s great for anyone out there who considers themselves a feminist.
This book got started as a Tumblr blog. Emma Koenig was frustrated by a sexual experience in which the guy thought she’d orgasmed and she hadn’t. She knew other women out there must have had this experience before, so she gave them this space to talk openly about it. Not surprisingly, it gained over a MILLION page views in ONE MONTH. Moan is a collection of the best essays the website received.
By Gary John Bishop
This book is all about the power of language, and the way we talk and think about ourselves. In fact, in the beginning he teaches us how to use the healthier language he suggests, and then names each chapter after affirmations in that language. For example, the chapter titled “I am Wired to Win” discusses the idea that we are winning at the life we have chosen for ourselves. If that’s not the life you want, he says we need to make changes so we’re winning at that one instead.
While each chapter in this book can be read on its own, which I think is cool, there is something Bishop wants us to know in the very beginning. First, blame must be completely eradicated before you can even begin to use the stuff in this book. Blame of circumstances, blame of others, even self-blame. Just take responsibility. Even though circumstances and other people’s actions are out of our control, we are in complete control of our reaction to them. See the chapter titled “I am Willing”
By Mark Manson
Manson’s book is basically a giant bottle of tough-to-swallow pills. He asserts that life is “not about making lemonade out of lemons, but learning how to stomach lemons better.”
The main idea is that you’re never going to have a life without problems, no matter how hard you work toward “being happy.” The goal of life, he says, is to work toward the set of problems that invigorates you and challenges you in a good way rather than dragging you down. When our goal is to be happy all the time, we just end up disappointed and searching for highs that make us feel happy. A high can be anything from an actual substance to posting shitty reviews on the internet. Whatever makes us feel less responsible for our own internal turmoil. That’s another main idea– we may not be responsible for everything that happens to us, but we are responsible for what we do with it.
I had to read this book slowly. If I read it quickly and without intention, I would have easily become irritated by what he was saying, because it puts a lot of responsibility on the reader. But when I slowed down and really thought deeply about his words, I had to admit most of them were true.
By Sarah Knight
Get Your Sh*t Together is great because it’s actionable, and the voice is just awesome. This is the second book by Sarah Knight. The first is The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving F*ck, which covered how to set boundaries with people so you feel less overwhelmed by their shit. The second of her many self-help books is a more general strategy for tackling life’s many problems.
She breaks people down into either Theodores, Alvins, or Simons, based on what shit they do not have together. Theodores are very outwardly struggling. They’re chronically late, always losing things, etc. etc. Alvins are full of motivation and promise but have a hard time sticking to goals and plans. Simons take care of everything on the surface and look like they have their shit together, but in reality, they’re dying internally. Which one are you?
Knight also has a strategy she shares with her readers that involves your metaphorical phone, wallet and keys. Without giving too much away, I’ll share that your phone stands for your ability to focus, your wallet stands for commitment, and your keys are the strategy that “unlocks” your next steps. Like your real phone, wallet, and keys, there’s no excuse to be without those things.
You can also buy a journal with this book! It has space to write to-do lists, goals, and milestones you accomplish on the road to getting your shit together.
By Andrea Owen
Much like UnF*ck Yourself, 52 Ways to Live a Kickass Life comes in individual chunks you can digest individually or together. If you’re following the advice given in Get Your Sh*t Together, you’d likely choose manageable chunks!
There is nothing truly groundbreaking in this book for me, but Owen’s go-get-it attitude is really motivational. And I love that you can just pick a chapter that has to do with what’s going on for you, and find three or four pages of great reminders on how to deal with that situation. For example, after a breakup, I can flip to page 49 and find eight reminders on how to manage it. That, paired with her spunky attitude can really light a spark!
P.S.- I did not purchase the audio book, but some of the Amazon reviews say they find Owen’s voice super irritating! I can’t imagine how bad it could be, but for our sound-sensitive friends out there, it came up enough times that I wanted to mention it.
by Sean Whalen
I literally skimmed through this book in about an hour. It’s about 50 pages (if that), and the font size is about 30. Paragraphs are 5-6 lines at most. It’s self-help for those who hate self-help books. I’d also recommend it for men, because of the following:
Sean Whalen’s a long-bearded, gun-toting, cigar-smoking guy who made millions of dollars, lost it all along with his marriage, stuck his 9mm in his mouth, and then changed his mind. He asked for help, and learned that, though it feels “girly,” men can heal through sharing feelings and being vulnerable.
The bulk of this book teaches Whalen’s message of CORE 4. The CORE 4 is your body, relationships, mind, and business. Everything that Whalen does each day fits inside one of those categories, and it helps him achieve a healthier work-life balance. It’s very actionable and not cerebral, which is a big draw for those who don’t usually care for self-help.
By Jen Sincero
I have a lot of feelings about this book. Personally, I found myself generally more motivated after reading it, and I did enjoy Sincero’s edgy humor. That said, I do not suffer from a real mental illness, and I actually take issue with this book as it relates to people with actual mental illness. I see the Amazon reviews take a similar stance.
Sincero’s angle is that of spiritual growth and adjusting your mindset. That’s why it works for the general population, who sometimes just need an extra shot of determination to get through everyday bad things like a job loss or divorce. However, the language she uses, while refreshing and colloquial, is sometimes too coarse and polarizing. For example, “if you’re depressed, just act like someone who isn’t depressed.” I can’t believe that line made it through the editing process.
I understand she is using a clinical term “depressed” in a colloquial way, referring to people who are sad because of life events. She’s not a mental health professional; we can’t expect her to talk like one. Although, that’s the exact problem with this book- her not being a professional means that she doesn’t always understand the consequences of her words. They are very triggering to those who suffer from clinical depression, where the chemicals in their brain really don’t regulate themselves properly. It would be impossible for those people to “act like someone who isn’t depressed.”
So, TL;DR– You Are a Bad*ss is NOT for those who suffer with real mental illness. It is for people who need a jolt of motivation to get through difficult but typical life stuff.
Adult Self-Help Books Wishlist
There are SO MANY badass self-help books out there. This is one LONG wishlist! Though I haven’t read the books in this section of the list, I certainly plan to! I have included affiliate links in case you’re interested as well. As I finish them, I’ll move them over to the previous section and add a review. If you’ve read any of them, feel free to add a comment with your own review!
The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight
Calm The F*ck Down by Sarah Knight
F*ck Love by Michael and Sarah Bennet
F*ck Feelings by Michael and Sarah Bennet
How to Stop Feeling Like Shit by Andrea Owen
Unf*ck Your Adulting by Faith Harper, PhD
Unf*ck Your Brain by Faith Harper, PhD
Badass Ways to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks by Geert Verschaeve
Not Another F*cking Motivation Book by Joanna Jast
Sh*t Your Ego Says by James McCrae
F*ck It: Be at Peace with Life, Just As It Is by John C. Parkin
Tongue Tied by Stella Harris
A Dirty Word by Steph Auteri
How to Get Sh*t Done by Erin Falconer
Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski, PhD
101 Nights of Great Sex by Laura Corn
She Comes First by Ian Kerner
Orgasms by Lou Paget