Socratic Questioning for Therapists and Counselors: Learn How to Think and Intervene Like a Cognitive Behavior Therapist

(36 customer reviews)

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This book presents a framework for the use of Socratic strategies in psychotherapy and counseling.
The framework has been fine-tuned in multiple large-scale cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) training initiatives and is presented and demonstrated with applied case examples. The text is rich with case examples, tips, tricks, strategies, and methods for dealing with the most entrenched of beliefs. The authors draw from diverse therapies and theoretical orientation to present a framework that is flexible and broadly applicable. The book also contains extensive guidance on troubleshooting the Socratic process. Readers will learn how to apply this framework to specialty populations such as patients with borderline personality disorder who are receiving dialectical behavior therapy. Additional chapters contain explicit guidance on how to layer intervention to bring about change in core belief and schema.
This book is a must read for therapists in training, early career professionals, supervisors, trainers, and any clinician looking to refine and enhance their ability to use Socratic strategies to bring about lasting change.

36 reviews for Socratic Questioning for Therapists and Counselors: Learn How to Think and Intervene Like a Cognitive Behavior Therapist

  1. Dr. Gaona

    Excellent for beginners and seasoned clinicians!!

    I highly recommend this book. I am a professor who teaches master level clinical courses at a University. I purchased the book hoping I would be able to use it for my own practice and be able to share it to my students. What I love most about the book is that each chapter provides dialogues that I can use in class with my students which will both 1. help them understand the concepts, 2. provide them an opportunity to put themselves in the shoes of the client or therapist and 3. will serve as modeling for the whole class. Given my courses are currently remote (due to COVID), these dialogues will serve as excellent tools- as it has felt like pulling teeth to ask my grad students to volunteer to role play or engage in behavioral rehearsal on a remote online platform having little experience with clinical practice, cognitive behavior therapy or socratic questioning. Personally, as a seasoned clinician and certified cognitive behavior therapist, who has also practiced dialectical behavior therapy for 13 years- I highly favor the Socratic Dialectical Method’s chapter. The Socractic Dialectical Method Thought Record is worth purchasing the book in itself! Highly recommend, easy to read and super practical!

    Helpful? 8 0
  2. JFB

    A brilliant essential guide to learning and doing CBT!

    As a seasoned CBT therapist with over 20 years of experience using this approach, I was most eager to dive into this book, thinking it would be a nice review. I was floored by how much additional knowledge I gained from reading it! Socratic Questioning For Therapists and Counselors is a brilliant, essential guide for providers of cognitive-behavioral therapy; it is a nuanced, deeper dive into what CBT is and how it works, including pitfalls to look out for. Abundantly clear, this book is full of diagrams, case examples, scripts of dialogue between clinicians and clients, bullet points and a four-part approach to the Socratic technique. I was most impressed by the way Dr. Waltman and his colleagues illustrate that Socratic questioning is present across numerous evidence-based treatments, including REBT, DBT, schema therapy and ACT. The author pulls from research into cognitive science to explain what every experienced EBT therapist knows – that the best approach to therapy is to do what works, often integrating different modalities, with Socratic questioning the thread that ties it all together. This book is excellent for novices and even better for seasoned clinicians looking to improve their skills. I have read many guides to CBT, and this is by far one of the best out there. As a clinical supervisor who teaches psychology doctoral students and psychiatry residents, I will be enthusiastically recommending this book to all of my trainees! -Terri Bacow, Ph.D.

    Helpful? 4 0
  3. inlori Customer

    Up Your Game as a Psychotherapist

    If you want to up your game in psychotherapy practice, this book is for you. Written by expert Cognitive Behavioral Therapy trainers, it is full of helpful modern analogies and clinical examples. The book centers on the use of Socratic questioning through a framework that can be used in each session. A few steps beyond focusing on challenging thoughts, use of the Socratic method will inspire the therapist to more thoughtful, sophisticated practice. Most importantly, clients change more readily and at deeper levels when Socratic methods are used to understand and change core beliefs. The method can enhance CBT practice and is also applicable to third wave therapies such as ACT and DBT.What drew me initially to psychotherapy was the infinite complexity of the process and the wonder of choosing one path versus another to explore. The content of this book reminds me of that complexity and the importance of collaborative, intentional work. This book was a gift to me. I have read it more slowly than other books, devouring the content as I consider how to apply its content. It is a definite must-read for novice and experienced clinicians.

    Helpful? 3 0
  4. Kay Watt

    Excellent, accessible, enjoyable read and resource for new and experienced clinicians.

    Excellent, accessible, enjoyable read and resource. As a clinician and a supervisor this book will become a go to in helping clinicians develop their skills. The authors do a masterful job of laying groundwork step by step with great clarity. Handouts are well designed and very user friendly.

    Helpful? 3 0
  5. John L

    Excellent guide to a both Socratic Questioning and CBT in general

    This is a great addition to the available CBT resources out there,. The clarity of the writing, the organization of material and the usefulness of the strategies which are clearly outlined with actual illustrative therapy dialogue make this an invaluable guidebook. Socratic questioning and guided discovery are often challenging for newer and, also sometimes, for more seasoned CBT therapists but this book illustrates not just why this is such an important component of effective CBT practice but also provides a roadmap to developing competency in these skills. Importantly, it also looks at how Socratic questioning can be sued in ACT and DBT, not a topic much written about. Indeed there are few resources even in CBT for learning this skill in a comprehensive way and this book fills that gap excellently.. The title may not convey the breath of this book and, in my opinion, this is an excellent CBT primer describing structuring sessions, conceptualizing cases and many more aspects of doing CBT.As such it will have a great appeal to CBT novices while the in depth analysis of a specific CBT skill, namely Socratic Questioning will be invaluable to more experienced CBT therapists.

    Helpful? 2 0
  6. Lisa A. Benson

    If you want to practice CBT in a truly curious and client-centered way, read this book.

    I have been using Socratic questioning for over a decade as a therapist in community mental health and private practice settings, but I learned so much from this book that I used in my sessions the very next day. Every chapter has clear, pragmatic suggestions for how to implement each strategy, as well as handouts that are different from any you’ve seen before but clear and easy to use.

    For me, a particularly novel and interesting part of this book was the chapters on how Socratic questioning applies to ACT, DBT, and prescribing medications. You won’t usually hear much about Socratic questioning in ACT or DBT trainings, but the authors make strong arguments that it’s not just applicable – it will elevate your practice. Highly recommended!

    Helpful? 2 0
  7. Jessica D.

    Clear and concise

    Socratic questioning is essential when working with the population that I work with and is an awesome intervention. I appreciate the examples and the clarity that I received and it is definitely a permanent fixture in my library of books. I’ve also had the pleasure of having weekly CBT consultations with Scott Waltman who is a wealth of valuable knowledge and super personable. If you are looking for something that will help further your studies or learn how to effectively use socratic questioning, then you must check this book out!

    Helpful? 0 0
  8. Silvia Chitgian

    Incredible guide for novel and seasoned clinicians.

    An excellent, evidenced-based overview of Socratic questioning. This book is highly helpful to first conceptualize client cases and then to challenge yourself as a clinician. To be a skillful clinician we must not tell our clients what to think but how to think. This book will guide you to learn how to develop and grow this skill set. This is a humble price point for so much information and guidance. I bought one extra and gifted to a clinician friend.

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  9. Meri G

    Great book for clinicians!

    I have very much enjoyed reading this book. I have learned realistic and practical tools that I can use with clients, and I was able to do so after reading even the first few chapters. Thought and care is taken with each step in explaining things in a useful way. I very much have learned how CBT can be applied in sessions and how different nuances relate to different situations. As a clinician who uses CBT, this book has been definitely enhanced my practice and has made a difference in how clients are able to grasp certain CBT concepts. Definitely recommend!

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  10. Christina Valentine’s

    Great resource for supervision

    This is a fantastic book, great direction for application. Building a good resource library as a supervisor and am extremely thankful to include this book!

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  11. Jenna D.

    Easy, engaging read!

    Socratic Questioning for Therapists and Counselors is a must read and must add to your clinical library, whatever stage of your practice you are in. Not only is the book engaging, well-written, and easy to understand, it also offers tangible, clear explanations, examples, and tips for using socractic questioning in session. Plus, there are terrific clinical examples and helpful tables and worksheets to help the reader truly understand the concepts explored! As clinicians, educators, and supervisors, we strongly recommend this book. The skill break-down is terrific and includes all sorts of resources, including role plays (which we loved). As stated, this is a must add to your library!

    Helpful? 0 0
  12. Elizabeth Sanchez

    A must read for all new clinicians

    This book is a must read for all new and seasoned clinicians. It has a wealth of strategies to provide effective interventions and provides clear guidance on how to implement questioning effectively. It has helped me grow and feel more confident in my practice!

    Helpful? 0 0
  13. Ali Morris PsyD

    Hidden Gem!

    When sessions are becoming stale, this book is a hidden gem for clinicians who are feeling stuck. It’s an easy read, which is helpful for early career therapists who are just getting their feet wet in CBT, but also, a great refresher for seasoned professionals who are in need of some new ideas for evidence-based strategies. I’m recommending to all my grad students.

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  14. Erin

    I wish I’d had this book in grad school

    As a PTSD psychologist within the VA, it can be very difficult to hear clients voice heart-breaking beliefs about themselves, their experiences, and others. The temptation to convince, argue, or move past a belief quickly pops up even amongst the best of us. This book is a practical guide to sitting collaboratively and with curiosity with our clients. I cannot recommend it more highly.

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  15. Alexandra Ballard

    Excellent resource for therapists

    This book is an incredibly thorough and thoughtful look into the practical implementation of CBT during therapy. The sections that I found the most helpful were the therapist-to-client role plays detailing how to translate each CBT resource from a theoretical, high-level technique into a realistic session conversation. Scott leaves no stone unturned, and I definitely plan on incorporating some of his resources into my sessions. Highly recommend for therapists, regardless of niche!

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  16. TB

    Socratic Method in a digestible + applicable format

    If you want to know more about how to utilize Socratic questioning in sessions, this book is the go-to! This book is thorough and easy to understand and comes with figures, tables and worksheets which my analytic brain LOVES! Even if you don’t plan to utilize this method exclusively, including it in with my clients and patients has been extremely helpful – especially on some cases that I would want to explore more about core beliefs from a non-psychoanalytic way.

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  17. inlori Customer

    “What Should I Say Next?”

    Many therapists remember when they started sitting with patients, asking themselves internally, “What do I say next?” This book is an excellent place to start if you ask yourself that same question. Whether you are a recent graduate, a seasoned practitioner, or an individual on a journey of continued self-reflection, this book, along with Dr. Yalom’s “The Gift of Therapy,” is a fabulous resource in reminding clinicians that the patient already has the answers inside of them. It assists practitioners in asking appropriate questions so clients feel as though they are in the driver’s seat of their lives, versus triggering the infamous Righting Reflex. And most importantly, it teaches readers how to think like a clinician—observing patterns of behavior and thoughts impacting your life along with providing handouts and visual aids for practitioners to use in their practice. Happy reading!

    Helpful? 0 0
  18. Jenicka H.

    Easy to Digest and Practical Application

    A really good read for those who want to delve further into CBT! Easy to read and digest, with straightforward techniques and lines of questioning you can incorporate practically into your therapy work. Highly recommend for those interested in evidence-based practice!

    Helpful? 0 0
  19. Joel Kouame


    This book is incredibly informative! What I have been enjoying as I go through this book, is not only does it provide a wealth of knowledge about how to use socratic questioning effectively (which honestly in itself is valuable), but it breaks down the stages of learning it which is very meta.

    The intervention is quite powerful, because it draws on the strength of the patient with thought provoking questions. As a therapist I always appreciate strategies that force clinicians to sit in the passenger seat and allow people to do the driving. This is a MUST READ!

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  20. Jon R

    What are the facts?

    The facts: This book serves as an excellent guide to learn how to best utilize socratic dialogue in psychotherapy. Whether you are a seasoned therapist or new to CBT, this book has a lot to offer. It allows the reader to further their understanding of socratic questions and dialogue, and provides practical tools and approaches. Best yet, This book lends to direct translation from theory to practice. If you are a clinician who wants to learn more about socratic dialogue and cognitive restructuring- look no further than this book. If you read it today, you will be a better therapist tomorrow.

    Helpful? 0 0
  21. Joshua Harris

    A book that even seasoned CBT therapists will benefit greatly from!

    I’ve been practicing CBT for over 20 years now, finished a fellowship training specifically in CBT and found this book extremely useful in sharpening my socratic questioning skills. Socratic questioning is something that many of us learn about in grad school and training, but in my opinion, it is one of the more difficult skills to really get good at doing. The authors are true experts in this field and clearly spent a lot of time and effort into writing this awesome guide. If you know a little – or a lot- about socratic questioning and want to really think more about how effectively you use it in your practice, then this is your book.

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  22. John

    Great Read! Must need for mental health professionals

    This book is amazing and a great read for mental health professionals. It is very well detailed and provides many visual aids and charts along with case examples. I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to colleagues.

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  23. Andrea Evgeniou

    Wonderful therapist companion

    This book is easy to read, very informative and helpful to my therapy practice.

    Helpful? 0 0
  24. T. Creed

    An essential text about one of the hardest CBT skills to learn

    Socratic questioning is at the heart of CBT done well, but research (including some by these authors) has shown that it’s one of the hardest skills for clinicians to learn. In typical CBT training programs, clinicians may learn about what Socratic Questioning is, but it’s rarely taught in a way that leads to a nuanced understanding of how to really use this skill in a way that’s flexible, engaging, responsive to a client’s needs, and leads to shifts in perspective. Socratic Questioning for Therapists and Counselors picks up where the typical training workshop leaves off, helping clinicians to build this essential skill set. In turn, clinicians become more able to support their clients in engaging with their thoughts and beliefs from a place of curiosity, leading to authentic shifts in thinking – and by extension, long-term change in how they feel and behave. If you’re looking to move beyond CBT basics to really support clients in reaching their goals, this is an excellent resource, written by a team of authors with combined decades of clinician wisdom, training expertise, and leadership in clinical research.

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  25. JMT

    Super helpful for therapists

    What I loved about this book is how it gave helpful case examples that enhanced my understanding of the material. The chapter on Borderline Personality Disorder was especially helpful and relevant. The chapter on Core Beliefs and Schema Work was my favorite as I practice schema therapy (ST). Great book!!

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  26. Teeky3

    Must have resource …buy the book!

    Excellent resource for teaching graduate level students and practicing clinicians on socratic questioning as a way to probe and challenge client thoughts and behavior toward change. Simple and practical techniques by authors that can be used over and over and must have resource for your library that offers strategies never to go out of style. Simply put…buy the book!

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  27. Mijoung Park

    Detailed oriented guidance and provided many examples and worksheets

    I am so happy to find this book. This book helped me understand what Socratic questioning is and get a better sense of how I can immediately apply it in my session. I am very surprised by detailed oriented guidance. I felt confident utilizing it after finishing this book. My favorite part of this book is provided many examples and worksheets. Highly recommend!!

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  28. SBMFT Services,PLLC Shannan Blum

    Super Practical with Case Examples

    Socratic Questioning is not a therapeutic skill that is readily taught in most grad schools, but it should be. If you want a fantastic guide on how to expertly and seamlessly integrate this skill into your therapeutic repertoire – BUY THIS BOOK! Dr. Waltman and his colleagues do a really fantastic job of breaking down this skill chapter-by-chapter, with clear charts/worksheets, explanations & case examples/role-plays. I highly recommend it.
    Shannan Blum, MFT

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  29. WR

    Go-To Guide for CBT and Socratic Questioning!

    As a therapist, this book is a really great resource to add to your shelf of tools. I really enjoyed the author’s breakdown of Socratic Questioning – which is a great tool to use with clients, but also in our own lives when we find ourselves stuck with negative thought patterns. I also thought the worksheets were great as well – I will definitely keep handy for use with my clients.

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  30. Outdoor Mom

    Must read

    Well written, very helpful!

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  31. Andie

    Essential tool for new and seasoned cognitive behavioral therapists

    I highly recommend this book. I am a licensed clinical psychologist, and was trained in the cognitive-behavioral model in graduate school and have used CBT throughout my career. In addition to my clinical work I am a consultant and trainer to other clinicians who are just learning CBT. I have found this book to be not only useful in my own practice, but especially useful in training other therapists. I have added it to the top of my reading list for such students.

    First, this book is steeped in cognitive theory, which will help new clinicians develop a deeper understanding of why, when, and how to use Socratic dialogue in their work. Secondly, it clearly breaks down Socratic dialogue into concrete elements that beginners and more seasoned clinicians can use immediately with their clients. It includes sample dialogues that illustrate the techniques very clearly as well as several flowcharts and tables that will help organize thought and illustrate the techniques for clients.

    If you are a graduate student in the mental health field, or already a clinician interested in improving your Socratic questioning skills, you can definitely benefit from this book.

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  32. inlori Customer

    Great Resource for New Clinicians

    Well laid-out and easily applicable. I am early on in my career and have been looking for resources to help improve my practice. I found the case examples really gave insight on how to apply these strategies. I also really enjoyed the chapters focused on how to tie socratic questioning with DBT and ACT. A great resource for any looking to do some professional development.

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  33. Katie Gordon

    an essential resource for both novice and experienced therapists

    I left academia two years ago to become a full-time cognitive-behavioral therapist and was searching for a resource to help me through obstacles, stumbling blocks, and therapeutic challenges. Socratic Questioning for Therapists and Counselors is the perfect book for advancing your cognitive-behavior therapy skills to the next level and strengthening connections with clients. Filled with clear explanations, illustrative examples, and practical tips, this book guides the reader with flexibility and innovative strategies. Whether you’re a beginning therapist or have had years of experience, this book offers insight and skills for all levels. The authors are experts in cognitive-behavioral therapy and experienced practitioners, and it shows in their writing. I highly recommend this outstanding resource!

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  34. Lisa Bolden

    Practical techniques combined with a theoretical framework for seasoned and novice therapists

    This book is ripe with worksheets, diagrams and clinical vignettes to facilitate clinical learning. The authors give clear examples on the “why” and “how” to use Socratic Questioning in CBT to aid with cognitive restructuring. As a clinical supervisor and CBT trainer, the book is helpful by providing teaching examples and a nuanced approach to CBT case conceptualization. The section on Troubleshooting Socratic Strategies is helpful for therapist self-reflection and the supervisory dyad, especially around helping the client identify and text beliefs while ensuring that they understand the importance in engaging in empirical testing and predictions of unhelpful cognitions. Finally, the authors offer insight into using Socratic Questioning with other therapeutic models such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and strategies for physicians and prescribing practitioners. You must add this book to your clinical library!

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  35. Kelly Graling

    Helpful for a DBT Therapist!

    As a DBT therapist, most of my training has emphasized third wave techniques to approach thoughts (cognitive defusion and acceptance). I have often felt my cognitive techniques have been lacking. This book has been an invaluable tool in demystifying Socratic Questioning and strengthen my Beckian cognitive skills. This manual has presented a hands-on, approachable way to learn and master Socratic Questioning, in a way I have not been able to learn before.

    I found the therapist and client vignettes clear and useful, as well as the graphics and worksheets. The 4-step framework for Socratic Questioning helped me break down the approach and have a realistic place to begin. I also found the chapter on troubleshooting Socratic Strategies particularly helpful, and I’m now on the lookout for the 7 pitfalls if I don’t feel like my cognitive work is as effective with a client.

    Again, as a DBT therapist, I especially valued the chapter on Socratic Questioning within a DBT framework. While I know that cognitive modification is one of the DBT change strategies, it is by far the area I have received the least amount of training. I appreciated how Socratic Questioning was weaved into behavioral chain analysis and solution analysis. I also plan to incorporate cognitive chain analysis into my sessions as recommended.

    I highly recommend this helpful, streamlined, approachable book as a way to learn a useful and flexible cognitive tool to help clients change!

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  36. Urmi

    Excellent CBT skill building book!

    Having read a few CBT skills building books in my professional career thus far, this one hands down is very well written. The authors have present digestible nuggets of information on how to apply one of the essential skills of cognitive behavioral therapy. The book is relatable to many clinicians, regardless of where they are in their professional development. But I must say the two key highlights are: it considers working with individuals seen in a variety of settings and even can be useful for non- mental health professionals. We know the world of mental health service delivery is continuously shifting- so it is great to see a skills book which others, outside of the professional mental health space, can pick up and learn something from reading it. Kudos to the authors!

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