This guide will explore five effective self-therapeutic questions you should ask yourself as you begin your journey towards positive mental health.
What are Six Self- therapy questions you should ask yourself?
Six questions you should ask yourself when you start a journey of healing through self-therapy include:
- What am I feeling right now?
- What are the thoughts that I tend to ruminate over?
- If by some miracle, things turned out how I wanted it to, how would my life change?
- When are the times when I feel better, more optimistic?
- What is the one thing- no matter how small- that I can change?
- If my friend was going through the same struggle as I am, how would I make sense of their situation?
These questions are common questions used in the practice of psychotherapy and come from various theories such as cognitive behaviour therapy and Solution focussed brief therapy.
Spending time working over these questions and engaging in self therapy will help you develop insight as to why you might be struggling.
It may also help you come up with goals,if you are confused as to what you want from life. And also help you come up with a plan to help you achieve your goals.
Self therapy refers to psychotherapy that is self-conducted- we do it on ourselves- without the help of another professional.
It is a systematic approach where you apply various techniques which help you cope with the stressors in your life. You can also apply it to dealing with anxiety and depression related symptoms.
Self therapy allows us insight into what and why we are feeling the way you are feeling, and also helps us to grow beyond what limits us.
Self therapy is different from self help. While self help can be focused on a specific problem, self therapy takes a look at the problem on a much deeper and broader level.
Self therapy is closely connected to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as most of the techniques taught to clients struggling with anxiety and depression are techniques that they can do themselves without the therapist being present all the time.
Efficacy of self-therapy
Self- therapy has been proven to be effective in managing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Research indicates that CBT self- therapy, even internet based self therapy is effective in dealing with symptoms and can be the first steps in treating the condition.
Another study also found that self-therapy based on Acceptance and Commitment proved to be effective and all the more so when there has been guidance by a professional first.
Things to do to make self therapy more effective
Some studies have also suggested a few things you can do to increase the efficacy of self-therapy, these include:
- Educate yourself about your problem
- Clarify what you want to achieve
- Assess your thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and behaviours
- Practice by being kind when we fail and rewarding yourself for your successes.
Six Self therapy questions to ask yourself
Based on some of the points suggested above, on how to increase the efficacy of self-therapy, here are some questions to ask yourself as you begin your journey.
These questions have been modeled after some of the questions that are explored in Cognitive behaviour therapy and Solution focused brief therapy (SFBT).
The main objectives of these questions is to develop insight as to your maladaptive beliefs, thoughts, and emotions which ultimately impact your behaviour. We are also making an attempt to streamline your goals and make realistic plans to achieve them.
Let us take a close look at them:
The Miracle question
This question has been developed by the theorists of SFBT in an attempt to help clients, who do not know what they want in life and from therapy, gain insight into what they truly want.
Your question can look something like this:
If by some miracle, things turned out exactly how I want my life to be like, how would I or my life in general change?
Sometimes, we are afraid of wanting things because of the assumptions we make of ourselves, others, and the world. We are tired down by our fears which impact our thoughts and our behaviours too.
We become stuck in life as these assumptions keep us from engaging with life itself. This can also be said for your symptoms related to anxiety or depression.
Perhaps your answer to the question above could be something like:
“I would be more confident in the way I handle things.”
“My life would be calmer, less rushed.”
“I would be able to say no to people- even to my family.”
“I wouldn’t shiver at the thought of going out in public.”
“My life would be more active, more engaging, with more people to trust and love.”
These answers, once you take an objective look at it, become goals. These goals, though they might look impossible, like it would take you a miracle to achieve it, can be worked on by setting SMART goals.
What am I feeling right now?
The next thing you can ask yourself is what are the emotions that you can identify. Our thoughts often impact the way we feel and it is often that our struggles manifest itself in the way you express your emotions.
It could be anger, sadness, hopelessness, irritability, and even nothing at all. Taking a moment to ask ourselves “What am I feeling right now?” without judgement can be the first step in acknowledging our emotions and our struggles.
What are the thoughts that I tend to ruminate over?
A very effective CBT question you can ask yourself is “What am I thinking?” or “What are the thoughts I am preoccupied by?”
This is another attempt to acknowledge the workings of your own mind by identifying them and understanding how they impact your behaviour.
It could be something like “I am so dumb” when you make a slight mistake, which makes you stick to the idea that you are incapable of doing anything right.
This can be related to how you see yourself, your self image and self-esteem. So taking a moment to understand these thoughts can also help you challenge them.
You can challenge these thoughts by taking stock of your strengths and your past victories. You can write them down and have a personal debate all the while checking the legitimacy of these assumptions and irrational thoughts
When are the times when I feel better, more optimistic?
This is another question based on SFBT called checking for exceptions. This question can help you check the areas of your life where the problem does not persist.
By asking yourself this question and exploring the things in your life that make you feel more hopeful, you can uncover a few things such as:
- Positive influences in your life
- Strengths and victories
- Ways of behaving which are healthy
- People in your life that provide you support
- Course of action to bring your self joy and engage in life.
For example, if spending time with your dog is the only exception where you are not stressed- you discover that taking a mental break by actively engaging in relationships that are full of unconditional love can be a way for you to cope.
What is the one thing- no matter how small- that I can change?
This question is an attempt at setting up goals that are small, measurable, attainable, relative, and time bound.
This means that you are asking yourself what you can do to make your life a little better than it was yesterday or an hour before.
Your attempt to change something about your life has to be small, something that you can achieve without much effort.
For example, if you have been struggling with a messy room which is negatively impacting the way you see yourself and your life- perhaps your goal can be making your bed and only your bed.
Start small, then gradually move to making your bed and folding your laundry. Your goal has to be small, relevant to what you are struggling with, attainable with your amount of energy.
It should also be measurable as in you see the effects of change, and time bound- perhaps making your bed in the next hour, continuously for the next three days followed by folding hour laundry as well.
Your goals can also be related to your career and your relationships. Taking the time to ask yourself what is the smallest most achievable things you can do to realise your goal can be a starting point
If my friend was going through the same struggle as I am, how would I make sense of their situation?
This particular question is to help you look at your situation objectively and empathetically. By distancing ourselves from the problem by imagining it to be someone else’s problem, we are able to take a moment to de-personalize ourselves from the issue at hand.
So instead of sticking to the idea that it is us that is the problem, we are able to see that the problem is something else and the problem does not make us. By creating this distance you might be able to come up with possible solutions and even develop self compassion towards yourself.
In this guide we have explored what self therapy is and how effective it is. We also discussed some of the things we can look into to make self-therapy more effective. Our discussion also included questions we can ask yourself to get our self-therapy journey started and questions to help us build insight and awareness.
Frequently asked questions related to “Ten Self- therapy questions you should ask yourself”
Can you perform therapy on yourself?
Self therapy are techniques that you can practice on your own to manage anxiety and depression without formal training or support from a professional.
However it is to be mentioned that self-therapy is most effective when you are informed of your problems and guided by a professional.
What is self therapeutic?
Self therapeutic activities involve activities that you can do one yourself with the purpose of coping with your own challenges.
It can be activities related to meditation and relaxation such as yoga, deep breathing, body scan. It can also be as simple as spending time with our pets, painting, and going for a walk.
Can you fix yourself without therapy?
You cannot “fix” yourself with or without therapy but what you can do is manage the stressors of your life and take control over your own life.
This can be attained without therapy by engaging in various self help and self therapy treatments that you can find on the internet, through books, and through coaches.
What should I ask myself before therapy?
If you have chosen to seek out professional help, some of the thing you can ask yourself before you start are:
- What do I want to achieve through therapy?
- Can I afford it?
- What kind of therapist are you looking for?
- What are your boundaries- what do you want to not talk about?
- What are your apprehensions about therapy?
These are some of the questions you can ask and reflect by yourself and even address them with your therapist to help you gain clarity
Can you do CBT on yourself?
CBT techniques have been developed with the idea that the client must become self-sufficient outside of therapy. These techniques, with the guidance of your therapist, can be used by yourself.
Research has found them to be effective even when used in the context of self-therapy.