Self Therapy (A Comprehensive Guide)

Self therapy is “A therapeutic treatment of oneself especially for the purpose of dealing with personal or emotional problems.”

Self-therapy is helpful in dealing with depression, anxiety, isolation from society, boosting your confidence, self-esteem, depression, loneliness, relationship problems, passive-aggressive behavior, procrastination, communication issues, people pleasing, eating issues, perfectionism, inner critic, fear and anxiety, Shyness, phobias, feelings of inner conflict, Insecurity and many other problems.

Self therapy can be performed without the help of a therapist.

As therapies can be expensive for some people in this era of inflation, sometimes one cannot manage time to get to their therapists on daily bases.

That’s where self-therapy will be helpful for you. You can apply self-therapy with the help of different techniques.

In this article we will discuss self-therapy.

Techniques for self therapy:

These are some Techniques which one can apply on them but it also depends on the severity of your problem whether you can take self therapy or in need of help from professional therapists.

The techniques are listed below:

Therapy Techniques include:

  • cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), 
  • internal family system (IFS)
  • rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT)
  • journal articles.
  • dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), 
  • psychoanalytic theory, 
  • quantitative and qualitative psychological and social work research,  
  • therapy notes, 
  • supervision, 
  • worksheet and more.

Some of them are described below:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT):

Cognitive behavioral therapy is very helpful in dealing with anxiety, stress and depression.

Those who cannot access CBT therapist, they can get help through self-help book and internet based treatments.

CBT is very effective for self-therapy. 

For self-help therapy you can apply following techniques:

Common Cognitive technique:

  • First of all identify your thoughts.
  • Then try to discover how your thoughts are affecting your emotions and behavior
  • Try to find if your thoughts are precise or not.
  • Then replace your biased thoughts with practical ones.

 Common Behavioral techniques:

Add some activities in your routine for yourself which can bring enjoyment and a sense of achievement. Try to recognize how your actions are influencing your emotions and behavior.

Make a plan for your routine to make best use of your time. Make your big task into smaller tasks so they can be performed and managed easily.

Slowly and moderately face your fears to reduce them.

These techniques are suitable for those who have mild type of anxiety and depression which means they can perform their routine work normally and is not affected due to their anxiety or depression On the other hand, someone who is severely depressed and barely able to get out of bed is perhaps not good for self-directed CBT, and will need one-on-one treatment with a professional. 

Internal Family System:

IFS was developed in the 1990s by family therapist Richard Schwartz, Ph.D., who developed the concept of an undamaged core Self.

IFS is an approach to psychotherapy that identifies and addresses multiple sub-personalities or families within each person’s mental system.

Sub personalities or family of a person’s mental state is based on different parts, in which one part is wounded because of any previous trauma, emotional breakdown or physical and emotional abuse in past.

Whereas some parts are those which are trying to help the wounded parts of the person’s body or mental state.

According to IFS model body has three distinctive parts:

Managers: it is the conscious part of the body and do not let the emotions halt in the way of daily routine. 

Exile: these are the wounded part, which feels pain and trauma but managers and firefighters do not let the exiles to come to a conscious level and to put bad effects on life.

Firefighters: firefighter is that part of body which keeps the exiles form consciousness by indulging into activities like food, drugs, sex etc.

If you cannot afford to have a therapist to help you get rid of your dark thoughts, inner battle with your emotions and painful memories you can have Self therapy through the Internal Family System (IFS). 

IFS therapy can be done without a therapist as it is a Self therapy.

On can help themselves through their own true-self.

IFS Techniques for Self therapy:

  • Keep a journal along with you because whenever you feel that your thoughts are dark and you cannot stand your own thoughts without any distraction, start to write at-least three to four blessings.
  • Try to communicate with body parts 
  • Make yourself believe that you are not alone in dealing with your problem, all of your body parts are working along with you.
  • Make your body parts communicate with each other to help recover.

In Internal Family System therapy the source of healing is your true self. When you introduce your suffering parts to the Self, they develop a trusting and healing relationship with the Self because of which an unstoppable momentum of transformation unfolds.

Rational Emotive Behavior therapy (REBT):

Rational emotive behavior therapy, also known as REBT, is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy developed by psychologist Albert Ellis.

Rational emotive behavior therapy helps you to change your irrational beliefs into more healthier and productive beliefs.

This theory helps you to identify your thoughts and actions and convert them into positive thoughts and action. 

The ABC Model:

Ellis explains that people blame external stimuli to cause mental distress and becomes the reason for their unhappiness.

Their beliefs are strong which lies in the bottom of their heart and it causes psychological distress in a person.

Ellis developed a model and referred to it as the ABC model. 

A stands for Activating Event: something happened or caused by someone which affects you or your life.

B stands for Beliefs: you have some beliefs related to that event or situation which is also causing distress because you already have a mind setup according to that particular behavior.

C stands for Consequences: and then you will have an emotional response because it affected you and your beliefs.

Self therapy of REBT:

In Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy you can help yourself through these steps.

Identify the Underlying Irrational Thought Patterns and Beliefs:

First of all you have to find and understand what are your actual irrational beliefs related to some situation. 

We take relationship for an example, the irrational beliefs would be like:

  • You give hundred percent to your relationship but if anything happens you would blame yourself thinking you might not give your hundred percent.
  • Feeling like you are dependent upon external stimuli (your partner) for your happiness and joy.
  • Believing that you would be happier if you only go along with the choices of life made by your partner even if you are not happy about it.

In self therapy you have to yield your irrational beliefs and thoughts in order to help yourself get out of the situation which is causing you mental harm otherwise it would become impossible for you to respond to a disturbing situation in a psychologically healthy way.

Challenge the Irrational Beliefs:

The next in Self therapy is to challenge your irrational beliefs.

As from the above given example you have to oppose your beliefs related to your relation in order to be happy and having more comfortable relations.

You need to know that no one else holds the key to your happiness.

You need to make yourself believe that what you did was your hundred percent there is nothing more you can do about it. 

Before going into these steps you need to remind yourself that you are there to help you and only you can help yourself.

It could be challenging to face and then alter your belief but you need to be consistent and sincere with yourself.

Gain Insight and Recognize Irrational Thought Patterns:

As mentioned earlier it would be difficult to change your beliefs but REBT helps you to change your irrational beliefs into rational beliefs to have better outcomes in life and for everything.

If we keep whining about not giving hundred percent to your partner in a certain situation or your partner couldn’t give you a hundred percent it does not mean that he or you could not give your best in the next situation.

Everyone makes mistakes and everyone has different ways of dealing and expressing their emotions.

In self therapy REBT helps you to change your negative emotions and feelings into positive ones.

Journal articles:

One of the most easily accessible, affordable and manageable Self therapy is journal writing or diary writing.

You can facilitate yourself with this tool easily to help you with your mental or emotional stress.

There comes a time in everybody’s life where they feel down and sometimes find it hard to move on and you find no one to help you out of this situation.

Even if you can not reach a therapist all you have to do is to take a pen and a piece of paper and write about your problems.

Writing ideas:

You can follow these steps to write:

  • W – write the things you want to talk about and give it a name.
  • R – Reflect on the things you want to write which are causing you problem, you can close your eyes for a while and focus on your problems 
  • I – Investigate your thoughts and feelings related to that problem once you identify it you should write it all.
  • T – Time yourself – give yourself enough time to express yourself to you and your inner thoughts.
  • E – Exit “smart” after writing all the feelings you should reread your feelings and you should reflect on your distress and emotions related to it.

When you write a journal or a diary you have to be sincere with your thoughts and put your thoughts on a piece of paper through a pen.

Write as if no one is ever going to read that journal again, you can better help yourself in this way.

FAQ about self-therapy

Is it possible to have therapy without a therapist?

Yes, as even when you are taking a session with the therapist he only understands your problem, helps you find the problem and can give you guidance to overcome your problem.

How to know whether I can have self therapy or need a therapist?

If you have minor depression or anxiety that it is not affecting your work or routine you can help yourself through self therapy.

But if the intensity of your problem is severe and it becomes difficult for you to come out of bed for weeks then you do need a therapist.