Therapy as Self-care

Updated: Apr 12

*Disclaimer* I am not a therapist. This post is simply to outline and highlight types of therapy and the potential benefits.

“I found in my research that the biggest reason people aren't more self-compassionate is that they are afraid they’ll become self-indulgent. They believe self-criticism is what keeps them in line. Most people have gotten it wrong because our culture says being hard on yourself is the way to be.”-Kristen Neff

Self-care comes in many forms, it could look like buying yourself that coffee drink that you love, taking a nap, watching your favorite movie, exercise, yoga, really anything healthy that fulfills you. For some people it could be narcotics anonymous, therapy or any form of interpersonal development. Self-care is the corner stone of your life whether you believe that or not. Without self-care you can’t take care of others. In order for you to put yourself and life in order self-care must be a priority, hopefully number one.

Therapy is an important because, it can be many things for you. It can be comradery with your therapist, setting goals, it can be working through personal trauma, and/or facing fears. Therapy can be all of these things and many more. How much you put in will be how much you get out of it. By participating in therapy you can gain great insights into who you are, how you became who you are, and how you can make changes. It can help you process stuck emotions or habits. It can help you learn coping skills, better self-talk, and it can be a way to process your daily life.

Therapy is too good to be limited to the sick.-Erving Polster

Types of therapy

There are many types of therapy you can seek out. Each of them has a valid place within psychological practices. Whichever one works best for you, is best for you and no one can invalidate that. Here, I will outline a few different types to give you a brief understanding of what they are and what benefits can be achieved.

1. Psychoanalysis: Is an approach to therapy that looks deeply at the unconscious reasons for a behavior, thought, belief or feeling. Coined by Sigmund Freud but expanded upon by psychologists such as C.G. Jung. This approach often includes an intimate working relationship between client and practitioner. The relationship helps clients to learn about themselves through the relationship built with the psychologist. The therapist may make note of behavior, words, and thoughts or feelings presented in each session. This can help the client better understand why they do things and how they can change them.

2. Behavioral Therapy: This form of therapy is an approach that focuses on behavior change. Whether you are incorporating new behaviors, or unlearning unwanted behaviors this approach can assist in that process. From behavioral therapy other variation have been discovered such as CBT, cognitive-behavioral therapy

3. Cognitive therapy: The above form of therapy focuses on behavior change; cognitive therapies approach is all about changing your thoughts instead of behavior. This approach can be good for a person who often participates in negative self-talk or holds self-defeating beliefs about themselves.

4. Integrative therapy: This is a more universal approach that incorporates methodology and techniques of multiple forms of therapy depending on the clients needs.

Each type mentioned above is only a small portion of the therapeutic practices available to you. Finding the method that is best for you is key to achieving what you went to therapy for.

"There are a variety of techniques to help people change the kind of thinking that leads them to become depressed. These techniques are called cognitive behavioral therapy." - Irving Kirsch

You may ask now, “How is therapy self-care?” It is self-care because it can help you learn to love yourself more, accept what was and what is, and it can empower you to become better. You can use therapy as a way to become the best you can be, a way to strive for self-actualization. You can unlock deep layers of your true potential with therapy. Going to therapy is not a sign of weakness. It is humbling yourself enough to admit you don’t have all the answers, and that someone else may have some of them. Therapy is a strength you give yourself by being honest. This strength can’t be taken from you. There are other people that can help you realize your next steps on your journey as a human. You can become unstoppable by making therapy about bettering yourself for you. When you better yourself you may inspire other people to do the same thing.

For me therapy was reparenting myself, it was changing the idea of what a parent is in my mind and my heart. It was addressing childhood trauma, and getting over my fear of driving. I remembered how smart I am and learned to believe in myself. I spent over a year in therapy after my son was born. This time frame set a good foundation for me to continue to work on myself. Since then, I have returned to school, got my driver’s license for the first time, and opened a business. For you it could be very different. Whatever it becomes for you is right. Don’t deny yourself the chance to better yourself. Do not be ashamed to seek help if you feel it is best. Only you know what is best for you on your path. Therapy was imperative for my personal development. Without it I don’t know if I would be as honest with myself as I am now. I may not have developed confidence as strongly as I have or gotten over fears. Therapy helped me more than I can express. Maybe it can help you just as much.

"Through therapy and a lot of thinking and writing my memoirs, I've been able to use my life as a lesson." - Jane Fonda


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