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Relationships & Friendships

Self-help books on Relationships & Friendship


There are so many popular psychology texts in the shops that it can be difficult to know where to begin. This set of book-lists was compiled by staff of the University Counselling Service to respond to those students who have asked us what they might read on this topic.

Our selection is not intended to be the 'final word' - we are sure that there are many other good and helpful books out there; in any case we recognise that what is helpful is very subjective and depends on personal circumstances.

Books are listed in alphabetical order by author. Copies of some of these books are available to borrow on a weekly basis from the University Counselling Service.


The descriptions given are intended to provide a summary of the contents but should not be taken to imply that the Counselling Service endorses the opinions expressed.

Relationships & Friendship

Date of information: Jan 2006, updated Oct 2012

Games People Play
Eric Berne, Penguin, 2010

An analysis of the psychological games we play in order to live with one another.

Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness
Gillian Butler, Constable Robinson, 2009

Sets out techniques intended to overcome conditions such as panic attacks, depression, anxiety and addictions.

After the Affair: How to build trust and love again
Julia Cole, Vermillion, 2000

Examines the reasons why people embark on affairs and the effects on the person who has been betrayed.

The Relate Guide to Loving Yourself Loving Another
Julia Cole, Vermillion, 2001

A self-help guide explaining various aspects of self-esteem in relationships

Overcoming Relationship Problems: A Self-Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioral Techniques
Michael Crowe, Robinson, 2005

A CBT self-help book to help you deal with the difficulties that arise in close relationships.

How to Start a Conversation and Make Friends
Don Gabor, Simon & Schuster, 2001

Suggests ways to improve anybody's ability to communicate in business and social situations.

Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus
John Gray, Harper Collins, 2002

A guide aimed at improving communication and getting what you want in your relationships.

I'm OK, You're OK
Thomas Harris, Arrow Books, 2012

Seeks to explain how to gain to control of yourself, your relationships and your future - no matter what has happened in the past.

The Dance of Intimacy: A woman's guide to courageous acts of change in key relationships
Harriet Lerner, Harper Perennial, 2003

A guide intended to foster intimacy in all relationships.

The Relate Guide to Better Relationships: Practical ways to make your love last
Sarah Litvinoff, Vermillion, 2001

The experience of Relate counsellors intended to help relationships to be sustained through honest communication and joint problem-solving.

The Relate Guide to starting Again: How to learn from the past for a better future
Sarah Litvinoff, Vermillion, 2001

Examines the lessons that might be learnt from a relationship that has ended. Includes self-assessment questionnaires, tasks, and discussion points intended to help reach a greater understanding of yourself and your relationship.

The Relate Guide to Staying Together

Susan Quilliam, Vermillon, 2001

Helps to decide whether your relationship is worth saving, understand why things have gone wrong, build an action plan to turn your relationship around, decide whether or not you need counselling support and build on the love that drew you together in the first place.

Intimate Partners: Patterns in Love and Marriage
Maggie Scarf, Ballantine, 2008

Seeks to examine how relationships work, how the past may influence them, the underlying causes of marital tension, the predictable stages of a relationship, and the role of sex as marital relationships evolve.

Is it Love or is it Addiction?
Brenda Schaeffer, Hazelden Publishing & Educational Services, 3rd edition May 2009

Overcoming Relationship Problems: A Self-Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques
Michael Crowe, Robinson Publishing, 2005

Based on proven CBT methods, the book will help you understand why conflict arises and show you how to negotiate a happier, more positive outcome. The reader will learn how to: sustain a long-term relationship; develop more effective communications skills; deal with sexual problems; cope with jealousy; and, develop negotiation skills.