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30 Years of Overcoming

09 July 2023 15:00

This month we celebrate thirty years since the publication of the first title in the bestselling Overcoming series.

The Overcoming books sit within the Robinson imprint at Little, Brown Book Group. Robinson was established by the late Nick Robinson in 1983, and whilst the imprint as a whole had the usual publishing blend of fiction and non-fiction, perhaps the aspect of it that was closest to Nick’s heart was the psychology list, which he established in the early 1990s, having looked at the market and seen that, whilst there was no shortage of self-help books available, they tended towards 'pop psychology', by well-known names who might claim to help you feel better, but whose methods lacked rigour or proof that they actually worked.

He made contact with a clinical psychologist called Peter Cooper who let him know about the growing evidence base for cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT, then still an emerging therapy. CBT was unusual in the therapy field as it had a growing number of research studies that proved its efficacy for improving outcomes for people with specific mental health disorders. Peter’s expertise was in eating disorders, where CBT has been shown to be very effective, so the first book published was a CBT manual on bulimia nervosa and binge eating. Peter was then appointed as a series editor, recruiting expert clinicians to present accessible self-help guides for other mental health problems where CBT could help – depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, panic, anger, etc. – and the Overcoming range was born.

In the years since then, the series has grown and grown, and all of the published titles are catalogued on this website. There are more than thirty titles in the main Overcoming range, but also many related series, helping parents support their children with emotional and psychological challenges, supporting people with long-term physical health conditions, and also offering briefer interventions that can help quickly and effectively. The wider list of self-help featured on the website also includes many titles using other therapies that have developed a strong evidence base in the intervening years.

We are proud that the Overcoming brand has become an indicator of authority and quality, and that the series has become a market leader, with over 2 million copies sold. Feedback from people that have used the books often talks about the difference they have made in their lives – putting a name to their symptoms and giving them actual strategies to overcome them, and in many cases proving genuinely life-saving.

We are proud to have had many titles selected for curated reading lists on the national Reading Well schemes for England and Wales, and some books have now had research trials done to show that they are effective as a way to improve mental health outcomes in and of themselves.

We hope that if you are browsing this website for advice on a particular problem, then there will be something in our range that can support you. And if you are a healthcare professional, then we hope that our books continue to be helpful for you to use with your clients as we look forward to the next thirty years of Overcoming.