Most mental health articles start or end with the advice to seek help from a mental health professional. And that’s probably good advice in many cases. There are a lot of great therapists out there who help bunches of people.
But what if you don’t have insurance that covers mental health services and you can’t afford to pay for it?
What if you are a minor and your parents don’t care?
What if you are too shy or socially anxious to make the call?
What if you find it incredibly hard to open up about your problems?
What if you already sought help and it wasn’t that helpful?
What if you couldn’t find a format of therapy that worked for you or a therapist you clicked with?
To you, I will say that you are not alone.
To you, I will say that there is still hope.
To you, I will say that if you can’t find someone who can help you, you can still help yourself. You can learn how to be your own therapist.
I have experienced several of the “what ifs” above and eventually I just gave up on seeking outside help and decided to DIY my mental health treatment. 😉 Over some years of trial and error, I have learned to be my own therapist. And in this article, I will share with you the three things I do for myself as my own therapist.
How To Be Your Own Therapist
The cool thing about humanity is that if you have a problem, the chances are that someone somewhere has already had the same problem and come up with a solution. All you have to do is find it.
And this definitely applies to mental health. If you want to help yourself and expose yourself to all the ideas out there in the world that might be helpful, the fastest and cheapest way to do that is to read and listen. Read books about psychology. Read self-help books and magazine articles and blog posts. Listen to ted-talks and podcasts.
All the answers you need are already out there.
Just remember that different things work for different people. You are unique and someone else’s answers aren’t all going to automatically work for you. You need to keep looking for the answers that are right for you.
So learn all the lessons you can. Keep the lessons that work for you and ditch the rest.
2. Be Your Own Best Friend
Those of us who end up needing a therapist often find ourselves in that position, because we don’t have the kind of support system we need to navigate this complicated maze called a human life.
Maybe your family and friends are too busy with their own problems.
Maybe your family and friends are not capable of caring enough.
Maybe your family and friends are so different from you that they can’t relate to your needs.
This is when you create the kind and loving voice you need to hear in your own imagination.
When you are down, when you are feeling hopeless, when you don’t know what to do…
When you are feeling bad about yourself, when you are feeling worthless…
What would a best friend who really and truly gets you and who is the kindest person in the world say to you?
What would a parent who loves you unconditionally and always knows what’s best for you say to you?
When the negative voices in your mind start their yammering, ask your kind and loving imaginary friends and family to weigh in. Those are the voices worth paying attention to.
Learning to be your own best friend takes practice. It took me years to really develop and grow the kind of voices I needed to hear in my mind. But if you keep at it, they will come. They may show up as an almost inaudible peep at first, but with time and effort they can grow into a powerful choir.
3. Question Yourself
When we go to therapy, what we are really looking for is another person’s perspective.
Perhaps someone to show you the possibilities when you’ve lost hope of a better tomorrow.
Perhaps someone to help figure out how to better meet your needs when life has exhausted you.
And yes, it’s great if you can find someone else to offer you the perspective you are looking for. But if not, you can learn to look at things from a different perspective yourself. You can learn to challenge your current perspective and offer yourself alternatives.
Your feelings are your feelings and you can’t really argue them away. I think trying to convince yourself to feel opposite of what you are feeling is a giant waste of time.
But your thoughts and beliefs are fair game for questioning. It would be pretty arrogant of anyone to claim that the thoughts that pop up in their mind are 100% accurate and rational and objective all the time.
So instead of automatically trusting all your thoughts and beliefs, learn to question them.
Is your whole life really shit or just some of it?
Are you really a total failure or is it that something specific is not going as well as you would like?
What specific problems are you struggling with?
What steps can you take to solve those problems?
If you don’t know how to solve the specific problems you are having, where can you look for solutions?
What do you think about all this guys? Do you have any favorite self help tips and tricks to add to my list? I would love to hear from you in the comments below. 🙂
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