NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

When Self Help Isn't Enough, Consider Seek Help in Therapy

Self help books and self help meetings can be very useful for people struggling with emotional problems, especially people who tend to isolate.  But often self help strategies aren't enough to work through certain problems.  At that point, rather than continuing to do the same thing that doesn't work, it's often useful to consider attending therapy with a licensed mental health professional.

When Self Help Isn't Enough, Consider Seeing a Psychotherapist

Self Help as an Adjunct to Psychotherapy
I often recommend self help groups, especially to clients who are in early recovery when trying to change old habits tends to be the most challenging.

But for some people, self help groups are too overwhelming because hearing about other people's losses and trauma can be too much at this stage of recovery (see my article:  Early Stage of Recovery: What to Do If 12 Step Meetings Are Too Overwhelming For You).

When Self Help Isn't Enough, Consider Seeing a Psychotherapist
Aside from self help meetings, there are thousands of popular self help books available for just about any problem.

I often recommend Francine Shapiro's self help book which has suggestions from EMDR therapy that clients can use on their own (see my article:  Self Help Books: Getting Past Your Past) which clients can use to supplement our work in therapy.

Advice for the General Public vs Treatment Tailored to Your Needs
The problem for many people, who rely solely on self help books, is that these books are written in a broad way for the general public.  Since the author doesn't know you, she can't address your particular issues.

Even if they address general problem that you're struggling with, there's no way for the author to know how the problem manifests for you in particular.

Discovering Your Emotional Triggers in Therapy
Also, most problems have an unconscious component to them which is unique to each person.

So, for instance, a self help book might be able to offer advice about how to calm yourself when you're feeling anxious, but it won't be able to help you to identify the particular unconscious triggers that bring on your anxious feelings.

When Self Help Isn't Enough, Consider Seeing a Psychotherapist

Over the years, as an experienced psychotherapist, I've discovered that the best way to uncover these triggers is to use mind-body oriented therapy that helps to connect to unconscious triggers and their related memories (see my article:  Mind-Body Psychotherapy: The Body Offers a Window Into the Unconscious Mind).

By making the unconscious conscious, you can discover the underlying issues that are creating your emotional problems (see my article:  Psychotherapy: Making the Unconscious Conscious) and you can work on transforming these problems (see my article:  The Unconscious Mind and Experiential Therapy: The "Symptom" Contains the Solution).

When you work with a licensed mental health professional, the process is specific to your particular problems and needs as opposed to general advice.

Getting Help in Therapy
Self help books and meetings can be useful, but they're often not enough for many people to overcome their problems.

If self help tools haven't helped you to overcome your problems, rather than struggling on your own, consider beginning psychotherapy with a licensed mental health professional (see my article:  How to Choose a Psychotherapist).

Working with a licensed therapist can help to free you so you can lead a more fulfilling life.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.