Mar 06

Advice From Your Therapist

student debt survivorWorking in the mental health field I meet patients from all walks of life. From clients with marriage problems to individuals diagnosed with Schizophrenia. Each day is new and different, but each day I learn something.

So, whether you have a therapist or not here’s some free, “Advice From Your Therapist”:

  1. Reading self-help books doesn’t make you weak. It makes you stronger.
  2. Take your own advice. You give great advice to friends, why not use it for your self?
  3. Laugh at yourself. Everyone makes mistakes, it’s not that serious!
  4. Learn your faults/flaws. If you don’t know what they are you can’t “fix” them.
  5. Sit with Silence. Don’t fill in silence because it’s uncomfortable. Wait and what you say will mean more.
  6. Taking medication doesn’t mean you’re, “crazy”. Normal people suffer from anxiety and depression and medication helps.
  7. Listen for what they’re not saying. Sometimes the elephant in the room is easy to identify based on what people don’t say.
  8. Watch body language. Our verbal communication is much less important than our non-verbal.

I try to use all of these tips in my day to day life, both in my work with patients and at home. It’s amazing how much they’ve changed the way I think about myself and others. Fortunately you don’t need an expensive therapist to practice mindfulness. But if you need an expensive therapist, give me a call 😉  Do you give good advice to others? Do you “take” your own advice?

Image: Esparta

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  1. I love sitting in silence and I am a huge believer in body language, it almost never lies despite what someone might be telling you verbally.

    1. So true. I read one somewhere that communication is 99% non-verbal, and I believe it.

  2. I love this list, especially #3. I think it also helps us learn from our mistakes and not to take things so seriously at times.

    1. Thanks John!

  3. “Take your own advice. You give great advice to friends, why not use it for yourself?” This is one that I think many people struggle with at times… We know what’s best for us, but sometimes can’t make the connnection.

    1. I’m pretty good a giving advice (I guess that’s why I chose my career path), but taking my own advice, not so much. It’s something I’m working on.

  4. I used to be a chronic depression sufferer, in and out of therapy. When I met one that quoted Einstein to me, I knew I found somebody who could actually help. She helped me fight some behaviors that were limiting my ability to increase my happiness. Because not fighting those behaviors wasn’t going to get me any where.

    1. Depression is so painful and can be so debilitating. Sounds like you found a good therapist. Sometimes it’s all about finding someone you “click” with. If you don’t have the right dynamic the therapy won’t be effective and then you can’t work on the things that are important because you spend to much time trying to find the right balance within the therapeutic relationship.

  5. Thanks for these reminders! I don’t take my advice as much as I dole it out 🙂 I think everyone should be in therapy, at some point in their life.

    1. I agree, but maybe I’m a little biased 😉 Therapy is so important (and not just for people who have “issues” or suffer from mental illnesses). Everyone has problems and everyone would benefit from having an objective listener/sounding board.

  6. I used to give great financial advice to others and they even paid me for it. I am very good at reflecting on my decisions and changing my habits as well. I thin k I am continually evolving.

    1. I think you still give great financial advice! Continuing to reassess yourself and taking the time to grow and learn is so important. When you think you’ve got it all “figured out” is exactly when we need to shake things up a little bit.

  7. Those are some great bits of advice!

    1. Thanks, I hope a few of them are a little bit interesting or helpful.

  8. Kind of going with #4, the best take-away I’ve received was that before you say something rash or in haste, you always have the power to take a moment to reflect what you say, and say it in a less emotionally-filled and more rational manner. It’s really helped me out from my tumultuous 20’s!

    1. Absolutely. I’ve been known to be a bit of a hot head. Ironically, it doesn’t come in my work, but definitely comes out in my personal life. So I try to use these tips in my personal relationships as well as my professional relationships with clients.

    • CF on March 7, 2013 at 12:40 am
    • Reply

    I think that being aware of your faults is an important skill. It also makes you more aware of other people’s faults and, at least for me, more understanding of who they are as fellow human beings. For example, I know that one of my colleagues is terrible at one-on-one communication. That makes me more understanding when I ask him a question and he isn’t able to answer it clearly right away. If I wasn’t aware of the fault and understanding of it, I might just think he was being difficult or stupid.

    1. That’s a great point. Knowing other people’ faults is sometimes just as important as knowing our own. it’s easy to get frustrated with peers if we think they’re being difficult, but like you said, sometimes people just aren’t good at communicating.

  9. Love this list, KK! I too was a chronic depression sufferer for years, and one of the things that really helped me was focusing on helping others. This may not work for everyone, but when I got out into the volunteer world and helped at homeless shelters and the like, it helped me focus on the good I could do for others, and also helped me to see that I had a pretty good life, despite what my head told me. Great post!

    1. Thanks Laurie. I’m sure those folks you helped were really glad to have your support. It’s great that volunteering was helpful with your depression. Being thankful for what we have (in relation to what other don’t have) is pretty powerful.

  10. Reading self-help books doesn’t make you weak.

    I totally agree with this. Some of the smartest and most successful people I know read self help stuff all the time. It must be working =)

    1. Exactly! A lot of my clients, and even some of my friends have said things about feeling like they are dumb, or broken, if they read self-help books. I completely disagree and often have some sort of motivational book on my nightstand. No need to re-invent the wheel. There’s good advice out there, just have to take it.

  11. Iv’e been to therapy before and found it really helpful to get through some situations with more perspective, and I LOVE self-help books! And the more you can avoid taking life so seriously the better.

    1. There’s so much to gain from self-help books, I’m not sure why people frown on them. I guess it’s acknowledging we’re not perfect, or something along those lines.

  12. I like 3 and 4. As a pledge for my fraternity I became very intimate with #3. I was forced to do things that I would have never done otherwise, but being able to laugh at myself made it much easier. As for number 4, sometimes silence is the best answer until you have the words to articulate what you are trying to say.

    1. Oh boy, that sound incriminating;-) As long as you had fun and nobody was hurt.

  13. I give advice in some sense mainly from my own life experience with debt. I’m not sure about the phrase, “the best support workers are addicts” but I’ve been there and the pitfalls can be avoided.

    1. Maybe the best debt counselors are the ones who’ve had debt? It’s much easier to speak to a problem if you’ve been through it. But like you said, that’s sort of a slippery slope when it comes to other areas of life.

  14. Thanks for sharing important reminders that we can all use in our lives.

    I really wish I was better at reading body language. I remember reading something a long time ago that said if someone sits across from you with their arms crossed it means that they are not open to listening to you or they are upset about something. I’ve also read that it is important to watch in which direction a person crosses their legs. Have you ever read about those points?

    1. I’ve read about the leg crossing thing. Most experts believe that crossing your legs towards someone and leaning slightly forward means you’re interested and/or are showing positive chemistry towards the person. Arms crossed can be you’re angry. Looking down means you’re lying (or in certain cultures, showing respect, by avoiding eye contact).

  15. Very well said. I am amazed at how unaware people are of their body language and facial expressions. I pick up on things all the time and then ask a person about something and they are surprised I could read them like that. People need to watch they don’t send the wrong message.

    1. Thanks Miss T. I think some people just have a better read on body language than others. My bf is terrible, sometimes he doesn’t even know I’m annoyed with him until I outright tell him I’m annoyed. I on the other hand immediately can tell when he’s upset or angry based on his mannerisms.

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