6 Tips on How to Be Your Own Therapist


Ever told yourself or someone else that counseling might be a rest stop they should park at or even take residence? Ever considered getting a professional's opinion? Well, this one's for you. Being a therapist is no easy task. You listen attentively to the many accounts of ailing hearts and attempt to offer the best course of resolve with hopes that every person comes out better than how they came in. Furthermore, being proficient at this profession takes years of knowledge, skills, and training. But even with those credentials no one therapist has all of the answers. Counselors are designed to assist you in reaching the best version of yourself. In fact your own personal accountability will do more than any therapist will ever do. Every person that sits in my chair is expected to bring with them their own levels of desire and motivation. No magic wands are included! So before you consider or recommend counseling its always worth considering can I motivate myself better than someone else can?

In 1943 (a long time ago, I know), Abraham Maslow laid out a framework for human motivation based on a hierarchy of needs. Under this theory he explained that people are motivated by their unmet needs, whereas their lower needs must be satisfied before higher needs can be met. But what are "the needs" you speak you of?!?! The needs in this model are inclusive of physiological (basic needs - food, water, sleep, etc), safety (security of body, family, health, job, resources), belonging or love (family, friendship, sexual intimacy), and esteem (self, achievement, respect, confidence). It is not until these items have been fulfilled that one can truly reach self actualization or self fulfillment. The difficulty is that many people walk around feeling and staying unfulfilled. They feel unfulfilled in their jobs, with their friendships and oftentimes within their relationships. At some point or even on multiples occasions that rock bottom moment happens. You are now overwhelmed and feel stuck in your problems and need a little push to find your own slice of fulfillment. So here are 6 tips to being your own therapist just in case you're feeling that way right now. 


Brain Camp - Our minds are such powerful tools that we don't realize our own strength. Your thoughts control your feelings which in turn control your actions. If you're thinking about your problems and how impossible they are, you are operating in self defeat. Only you can control the doorway to your mind. Nobody can do this for you. You choose what you meditate on and what you set before your eyes. Recognize it and turn off the switch! When your thoughts are positive, when your focus is in the right direction, you are setting yourself in the direction of success.

The Fruit of Your Words - Our words are powerful. Anytime we speak something, either good or bad, we are giving life to what we are saying. "He'll never marry me." "I'll never be successful." "They're probably going to give that promotion to someone else." During these moments we are prophesying on our lives. You've got to send your words out in the direction you want your life to go. With your words, you either blessing or cursing your future. Which fruit of your words would YOU prefer to eat?

Practice Makes Perfect, right? Well yes and no. According to Zach Hambrick, a cognitive psychologist "its definitely an important piece of the puzzle, but not the only piece, and not necessarily the largest." If you've ever been to the gym and gave that treadmill everything you've got and then took another look in that God awful reality check we call a mirror you'll find that your results don't arrive after day one alone. Your consistency and effort bring the change. So pick one area of correction and give it your full attention. I call it the breadcrumbs approach. Once you've improved things within your comfort level, move on to the next. 

(SELF) WORTH - Therapists preach self care for their clients, and more importantly for themselves. Ask yourself what have you done for me lately... literally. When was the last time you acted selfishly and performed an act of service for yourself? Rejuvenating your inner strength makes room for energy to give to others. I recommend, for once, do something enjoyable AND for YOU!

Copycat - If you're the best person on the field, you won't improve. Find people that are better than you and hang out with them. The enviornment you're surrounding yourself with can make or break your stride. Roses don't survive by only the dirt that covers their roots. They must be nurtured by additional environmental elements. So ask yourself, am I surrounded by the right enviornment?

Attitude Adjustment - Be mentally fit! Keeping a positive attitude is more important than being fit physically. Why is it that we allow our best selves to be captured, tormented and torpedoed by thoughts and actions that sink us? Adjust your attitude! Try bring positive and looking for the good in at least one thing once per day. It's amazing what an attitude of gratitude can do!

Spending your time and energy worrying, complaining, excusing, or even denying your problems won't improve them. The positive  outcomes you're seeking are not impossible, but they will not change if you don't. Start with yourself. Ask yourself, when was the last time worrying helped me? And when all else fails do your part to release the situation into more capable hands. However keep in mind that with or without a therapist running away from your problems only increases the distance between you and your solution.

Source: David A. Kessler, M.D., Capture: Unraveling the Mystery of Mental Suffering (New York Times Best Seller)