the new cbt dr mike abrams The First Book On
Clinical Psychology
The First Book On
Clinical Psychology

The New CBT Explains the Research Essential for Clinical Practice

It presents original and immediately applicable perspectives for experts in all disciplines within the mental health field. Yet, it is accessible to anyone seeking a deeper understanding of psychological processes. 

It provides an indispensable tool for mental health professionals by critically evaluating the technologies and methods that have become essential for evidence-based treatments. 

It is the only professional book that presents a synthesis of the disciplines that are indispensable for the informed clinician:  psychotherapeutic theory, evolutionary science, behavioral genetics, and the neuroscience of cognition, emotional feelings, and behavior.

the new cbt dr mike abrams

The New CBT Resolves Many Persistent Dilemmas in Mental Health

The New CBT makes many of the new complex and significant scientific advances accessible to clinicians, academics, and concerned individuals.  The reader will be provided the knowledge to distinguish ineffective or fad treatments from the best evidence-based treatments.

The New CBT will provide the reader with applicable knowledge of brain functioning, an understanding of how their genes constructed their brain, the means by which natural selection evolved their entire genome, and, most importantly, they will learn how all this information can be applied to their own psychological problems and those close to them.

This book is based entirely on contemporary science a unique emphasis in psychology. Too many psychological treatments have been based on the traditions or speculations of charismatic figures. This has burdened clinical psychology with methods based on subjective experience instead of the science used by research psychologists. The New CBT closes this gap between scientific and clinical psychology. It is entirely based on the latest scientific evidence, so rather than use metaphors to represent the complex processes that generate thoughts and feelings; it identifies and explains the responsible brain or biological processes.

An Indispensable Resource for Clinicians, Academics and Those Who Need Practical Answers

The New CBT applies research from a wide range of allied sciences to provide new perspectives and comprehensive explanations of DSM 5 disorders.

It explains how many diagnoses result from conflicts among modular brain networks that are often the result of selective forces in earlier epochs.

The importance of heritability is made clear enough to make it a tool for both understanding and treating psychological problems.

The New CBT proposes an original clinical system that synthesizes the most applicable features of cognitive behavioral therapy, evolutionary psychology, and behavioral genetics. This will help the clinician reduce the stigma of psychological distress and help all of those in the therapeutic process acquire an accurate conception of the brain’s role in mental disorders.


“The New CBT is an absolutely terrific and ground-breaking book. It provides cutting-edge science about clinical evolutionary psychology, with profound implications for treatment. Incorporating an evolutionary perspective on psychological disorders gives readers, clients, students, and professionals a tremendously important lens for understanding and treatment. Simply put, it’s the best book out there. Abrams has done a terrific job interweaving case studies with deep psychological understanding and the latest empirically-based evidence. I recommend this book in the highest terms and without reservation.”

Dr. David Buss

Professor University of Texas, Austin
Co-Founder of Evolutionary Psychology

``Most people will suffer from psychological distress at some point in their lives. Some will turn to psychotherapy for help with dealing with life’s adversities. Cleverly integrating evolutionary psychology and behavioral genetics with basic principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Psychologist Mike Abrams provides us with new insights into how we might more effectively alleviate stress by changing the way people think and behave. Clinicians who hope to provide this much-needed help, and students who are learning to be clinicians themselves, will enjoy The New CBT, and be fascinated by the creative approach that Abrams has taken in this one-of-a-kind text.``

Elizabeth Loftus, Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor, University of California, Irvine
Past President, Association for Psychological Science

``Work in evolutionary psychology and genetics has been limited to explanations as opposed to applications. Mike Abrams’ book is the first to systematically apply evolutionary and genetic principles to theory and treatment of psychological problems.``

Dr. Robert Plomin

MRC Research Professor in Behavioral Genetics, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London
Author of Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are

``Mike Abrams has written an important book with an impressive range of coverage: evolution, emotion theory, cognition, the history of psychotherapy, and current status of therapeutic approaches to numerous disorders. This will be a valuable resource not just for therapists but also for scientists who want relate their work on brain and behavior to mental problems and their treatment.``

Joseph LeDoux

Center for Neural Science, NYU
Emotional Brain Institute at NYU and Nathan Kline Institute

``One of the guiding principles of my approach to the psychological sciences has been that theories, techniques, and frameworks need to make sense and be coordinate with the basic principles of evolutionary biology. What Abrams has done in this seminal volume is drag the field of psychotherapy into this conceptual box. Building on earlier research by and with Albert Ellis, Abrams has outlined not just how the techniques used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and its offspring, Informed Cognitive Therapy, have come to be the most effective forms of psychotherapy, but why. And the why is because they are consonant with and supported by fundamental principles of evolutionary psychology. This move, in my view, is of considerable importance. I recommend the book enthusiastically, not just for psychotherapists, but anyone interested in the remarkable progress being made by mental health practitioners.``

Arthur S. Reber, Ph.D.

Visiting Professor, University of British Columbia, Former Ph.D. Program Head, Experimental Psychology, City University of New York and Author of “Implicit Learning and Tacit Knowledge: And Essay on the Cognitive Unconscious”

“Dr. Mike Abrams has provided a great service to the field and practice of clinical psychology. The New CBT: Clinical Evolutionary Psychology reframes CBT according to modern evolutionary psychological principles. In addition, Dr. Abrams’ latest book advances the field and application of evolutionary psychology, documenting the further successful reaches of the discipline. The New CBT: Clinical Evolutionary Psychology will be appreciated by clinical psychologists, evolutionary psychologists, and most especially by those charting the future of clinical evolutionary psychology.”

Dr. Todd Shackelford

Distinguished Professor and Chair of Psychology, Co-director of the Evolutionary Psychology Lab, Oakland University

Text author inc. “Sexuality,” “Personality” & “The New CBT``The New CBT: Clinical Evolutionary Psychology by Mike Abrams provides an evolution of our thinking about the mental health problems faced by many people. I highly recommend the book, which is both thoughtfully written and thought provoking. Most CBT practitioners are not well informed on the sciences of evolutionary psychology and behavioral genetics and Dr. Abrams makes a strong case that we should be. When we see a client who is struggling with traits or disturbances, such as aggression, that might have been advantageous at some point or in some circumstances, we tend to focus upon psychological explanations and forget about the adaptive nature of these traits as well as the heritability. ICT (Informed Cognitive Therapy) is an integration of evidence-based CBT with the sciences of evolution and heritability. Dr. Abrams provides an excellent and thorough overview of the history and research of both of these fields. Densely packed with research and theory, the text also provides many clinical examples and vignettes. It will be a book that I will refer to frequently in the future.``

Deborah Dobson, Ph.D.

Private Practice and University of Calgary
Author of Evidence Based Practice of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (2009; 2017) with K.S. Dobson

``Dr. Mike Abrams has written a book that is the culmination of his decades of experience practicing CBT alongside the founders of CBT. Informed Cognitive Therapy (ICT) tethers best practices in psychotherapy to principles from medicine and biology. Understanding innate functions, and their evolved purpose, has been an explicit goal in biology, but only recently has this explanatory power emerged in psychotherapy. With an experienced clinician’s eye, Mike Abrams zeroes in on basic principles that contribute to emotional and psychological disturbances and offers a genuinely informed and comprehensive manual for their application.``

Nando Pelusi, Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist
Cofounder, Applied Evolutionary Psychology Society (AEPS)
Contributing Editor, Psychology Today

``Where was this magnificent volume when I first began my practice? Dr. Abrams has skillfully woven a brilliant understanding of genetic and evolutionary psychology into diagnostic and treatment interventions for the beginning and experienced clinician. Bravo!``

Barry Lubetkin, Ph.D., ABPP

Past President, American Board of Behavioral Psychology

Chapter I


As psychology enters the era of behavioral genetics, applied artificial intelligence, and functional brain imaging, many iconic premises have begun to fade, and Arthur C. Clarke’s three laws have become particularly meaningful to psychology.

1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. (Clarke, 1962)

Psychology’s diverse interests and multiple disciplines have often led to internecine conflicts resulting in slow progress, especially in the clinical realms. Once a field that was predicated on the speculative findings of a few iconic individuals, it is now increasingly guided by science and the evidence provided by objective research. As a result of this change, many of psychology’s

Psychology’s diverse interests and multiple disciplines have often led to internecine conflicts resulting in slow progress…

quintessential premises are being shown to either be wrong or be lacking in evidence. And many of psychology’s enduring enigmas are giving way to revolutionary scientific techniques. Surely, many of the more senior members of the field now observe feats that would have been impossible just a generation ago, with wonder—impossibilities that young psychologists would consider mundane. Scientific psychologists now have a toolbox filled with methods that can magically expose the inner workings of the mind. A century ago, John Watson rejected prior attempts to explore the workings of the mind as outside the scope of the field (Watson, 1913). He and generations of strict behaviorists relegated the mind to the status of an impenetrable black box. As such, the only subjects of study left for psychology were the stimulus and the subsequent responses. Now the black box, so eschewed by the early behaviorists, has opened enough to provide correlates between the workings and the expressions of the mind.

We have the magic of dynamic imaging that allows us to see the brain actively responding to external stimuli and to actually watch the brain making the decisions that result in the response. We have the magic of being able to trace networks of neurons that underlie thoughts and connect them to many psychological states. And we have the near-magical ability to identify specific genes that are related to thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. Increasingly, almost every human disposition, personality attribute, and cognitive capacity can be linked to the expression of our genes. And with the increasingly precise links between a person’s genome and their psyche, new studies also provide expanding evidence that many of these links are adaptions to the environmental demands faced by our forbearers. This is the fundamental premise of evolutionary psychology: that many of our cognitive, emotional, and behavioral qualities are the product of eons of natural selection. Of course, this selection process has taken place over the entire course of both human and prehuman existence, largely before the dawn of the modern society. ( cont’d )

About the author

Mike Abrams is the co-author with the founder of CBT Albert Ellis of several works on Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). He is best known for extending CBT to include principles of evolutionary psychology and collaborating with Ellis to develop many new applications for CBT.  Dr. Abrams was instrumental in the formalization of Ellis’ model of personality. The Ellis – Abrams model of personality proposed that people are innately and evolutionarily inclined towards rigid cognitive styles that included demandingness, absolutism, or dichotomous thinking. These irrational thinking styles were said to be exacerbated or attenuated during development by both life adversities and innate temperaments. This and related REBT personality theories were presented in the text Abrams coauthored with Ellis which was Ellis’s only college textbook Personality Theories: Critical Perspectives.  In this current book Abrams which applies evolutionary psychology and behavioral genetics to CBT to create a new approach  called Informed Cognitive Therapy (ICT).

Dr. Abrams has also authored or co-authored books on Death and Dying, Eating and Weight, and Human Sexuality. He is a Professor in the M.A. Program in Psychology at New York University and he is also the managing partner of psychology for NJ, LLC a private self-funded clinical research organization.

The New CBT – Evolutionary Psychology Book

Evolutionary psychology uses evolutionary theory as a meta-theoretical framework to generate hypotheses about human psychology and behavior. As evolutionary psychology is a theoretical approach that attempts to explain mental and psychological traits, it was a hugely controversial topic that covered subjects like sex-specific mating preferences, incest avoidance mechanisms and cheater detection mechanisms that are built into our psychology. It’s a fascinating field of study that takes psychology to its next level.

Whether it’s for final year honors, for final year undergraduates or to take a unique approach to understand concepts in psychology, these books will give you a solid foundation to learn the basis for evolutionary psychology and the skills will help you throughout your life. If you’re interested in evolutionary psychology, here are some helpful books by professional evolutionary theorists.

Evolutionary psychology books

Psychology as a scientific field has an incredible level of popularity thanks to our fascination with the topic. As a result, psychology as an academic discipline is also gaining a lot of traction along with psychology in general in a university setting. Some of the top evolutionary psychology authors studied psychology from the University of Harvard, Stanford, Cambridge and Oxford.

  • Poor Darwin: Arguments Against Evolutionary Psychology (Steven Rose, Hilary Rose, 2000)

This book offers a stunning demonstration of arguments that challenges the reductionism of evolutionary psychology. Arguments Against Evolutionary Psychology offers a different perspective that creates genuine engagement between different branches of knowledge and psychologists in the field.

  • Evolutionary Psychology as Maladapted Psychology (Robert Richardson, 2007)

“The claims of evolutionary psychology may pass muster as psychology; but what are their evolutionary credentials?” This is the basis of Robert Richardson’s Evolutionary Psychology as Maladapted Psychology. This book dedicates many of its pages on evolutionary psychology to an examination of its ambitious and controversial claims.

  • Sex at Dawn (Cacilda Jethá, Christopher Ryan, 2010)

Dubbed by the authors as an “obsession” of evolutionary psychology with paternity, this book presents two main these; that humans are not fully monogamous and that humans used to freely enjoy sex.

  • Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst (Robert M. Sapolsky, 2017)

Sapolsky’s magnum opus is a fantastic book that puts evolutionary psychology into the greater perspective of brain structure, genes, and biology. While not strictly limited to evolutionary psychology, it’s suitable as a starting point for a mass readership.

  • Evolutionary Psychology: Genes, Environments, and Time (Brett Pelham, 2018)

A student-friendly book that dives into central topics in evolutionary psychology, integrating perspectives from psychology, ethology, anthropology, zoology and evolutionary biology.

Many of these books are available as an online purchase as print book shipments may be delayed.


Journals, chapters and articles on evolutionary psychology

  • 30. Against Maladaptationism: or What’s Wrong with Evolutionary Psychology (John Dupré, 2008 in Knowledge as Social Order: Rethinking the Sociology of Barry Barnes pp.165-180)
  • The Relevance Of Evolutionary Psychology For Psychotherapy (Anthony Ryle, 2006 in British Journal of Psychotherapy 21(3):375 – 388)
  • Evolutionary Psychology: A Primer (Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, 1997)

This is a comprehensive paper written by Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, a psychologist and anthropologist couple. With their extensive work on evolutionary psychology, the authors of this paper helped to develop the field of evolutionary psychology. Cosmides was awarded the 1993 American Psychological Association Distinguished Scientific Award for an Early Career Contribution to Psychology, and the two went on to found the Center for Evolutionary Psychology.

It dives into the proposed domain-specificity of information-process devices in the human mind that separates evolutionary psychology from those approaches to psychology that assume the mind consists of a small number of general-purpose mechanisms which is the standard social science model.

  • Evolutionary Psychology: Theoretical Foundations for the Study of Organizations (Mark Van Vugt, 2017 in Journal of Organization Design Volume 6, Article number: 9)

This article can be used to present a primer on evolutionary psychology. It’s suitable for as an introduction to evolutionary psychology for scholars

  • Darwin’s Influence on Modern Psychological Science (David M. Buss, 2009, The great struggles of life: Darwin and the emergence of evolutionary psychology. American Psychologist, 64, 140-148)

People often perceive evolutionary psychology as a discipline that limits a psychology of freedom. This is because it claims that we’re prisoners of our own genes, but understanding evolved mental adaptations can be beneficial to changing one’s behavior. Hopefully, these books and articles will be a great starting point to learn more about the field and how they can be applied via approaches and theory.