Self-help Books vs Face-to-Face Therapy


laurens

Before I started training to become a therapist, I had lots of self-help books on my shelves, gathering dusts. You might be familiar with that. I regularly buy self-development books, with a very good intention to read it. If you are like me, you might have a list of all the books and their costs on spreadsheet (for a quick reference). But, out of the hundreds and hundreds of books, have you got time to reading them? There is nothing more welcoming in a home than seeing a house full of literature.

However, some of the self-help books are contradictory, confusing and condescending. You know and you have the resources to change. You know what it take to shed that last few pounds. You know what you need to do to quit smoking. You know how to reduce and prevent your anxieties. You know why it is that your mind goes blank in certain situation. And you know why it is that you can’t hold a conversation in social settings. See…you already know without reading. But, I won’t discourage that reading is extremely helpful to give you another perspectives base on the author’s subjective experiences. I love books especially self-help books for the different ideas and methods to resolving something that I may try and tested it for myself.

During my training, I had to buy lots of reference books to accompany my training, so that’s my excuse for not reading the books I already have gathering dust. And you know what, I don’t want to part with it until I finish reading them. Once, I’d read a book, I can discard it or sell it on. And I see many sellers selling old books, although I am not sure if I can sell mine, as I marked, referenced and written on them. My point is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with self-help, self-development books and I praise them. The book that I cherished are shared on my Instagram page. Check it out for yourself and follow me on social media.

However, nothing beat face-to-face interaction of a therapy session. As you are getting to know your therapist, you can really engage. In the first few sessions, you are still getting to know each other in therapy, which is why therapy sessions should be a minimum of 6 sessions. Don’t forget, you’ve only just met for about an hour. How can you expect to know each other in just an hour. These things take time. Time is a great many things. Time to reflect. Time to heal. Time to get to know each other.

Often, clients come into my therapy room, not knowing which way to turn. They are stuck in their old shoes. A simple answer would be to put on a new pair, right? Well, if only it was that easy to find a new comfortable pair. That’s often why, generally, people find it hard to get out of their comfort zone and change, as they compare the safe comfort to the competitive change. Did you know that comparison and competition both drive to control your actions, it is what kept you lost and stuck.

When you walk into my therapy room, you’ve made a change and broken free from your old routines. You want to make the change with face-to-face therapy. You are curious about what you find out. And it’s good to be curious. It’s good to be afraid of change too. It’s good to be worried about what you might uncover. Do you recall reading a really good book, the one that you can’t put down, that’s right, that one? Imagine that the book that you are reading is a book of stories of your life. Imagine reading it and imagine being curious and encapsulated with the story. Imagine that the next chapter is your therapy work and as you work through your issues, imagine the rest of your story unfolding. No wonder you can’t put that book down!

So turn the page and explore face-to-face therapy. It offers you, the opportunity to freely express your concerns, worries, and anything on your mind in a safe space. You can learn a lot about sitting with your discomforts. You’ll learn more than any self-help or psychological books. May be you are wondering why you behave in a certain ways around your parents and family members. Safe disclosure can reveal vast arena of complex relational dynamics within family groups.

Sometimes, it is easy to read those self-help books because it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t disagree and it doesn’t question you. And because of this, those old shoes are so comfortable. However, I implore you to be curious about learning more about the why you do the things you do, be curious about the what make you do the things you do, be curious about when is it that you do the things you do, and be curious about where you see yourself doing the things that you and if you wish to continue this pattern of behaviours.

Change is possible – just think about it because you know it.

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