What is Self-Therapy?

Updated: Aug 17

If you are struggling with depression consulting with a therapist is your best bet, but there are times when the clouds roll in and your therapist may not be readily available. Self-therapy can help address the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD when you are in a pinch. Self-therapy can empower you to change your mindset and eventually you will hold the power to control your problems, instead of them controlling you.


Self-Therapy Strategies


Self-therapy can be considered anything healthy and safe that helps you cope when your symptoms are at large.


Get to Know Yourself


Getting to know yourself requires introspection. What do you want? The answer to this question indicates how well you know yourself. What do you want to achieve? Clarity around your goals can help set the tone for healing. Identify your triggers and spend time studying your behaviors and feelings. Perhaps you have a thing for shallow relationships, or maybe you are surrounded by toxic coworkers or friends? Check in on your patterns and always ponder the question, what is it I need to know? It can be helpful to clearly describe your feelings and behaviors and keep a record of when those feelings and behaviors surface. This will help you realize your patterns.


Acknowledge the Inner Critic


The inner critic notoriously judges and criticizes. The inner critic is driven by self-esteem issues, depression, anxiety, and stress. Getting intimate with your inner critic and noticing your negative self-talk patterns can help you find self-acceptance, can help you remember you are worthy of love, can help you build confidence, can help you feel proud of your accomplishments, and can help you have a greater sense of self-worth.


Here are some important questions to help you address negative self-talk:

  1. Is this true?

  2. Is there evidence to back up my thought?

  3. Am I attempting to make something true without any evidence?

  4. If I view this situation positively, is it different?

  5. Will this be important a year from now?

Record + Write Your Unfiltered Thoughts


No interruptions and no judgments are a couple of the benefits of seeing a therapist. When your therapist is unavailable you can still share freely by using a journal or voice memo application on your phone. Taking the time to write down or record your thoughts and feelings as they enter your mind, and then rereading or playing back your recordings will help you take a more objective look at your own thoughts, feelings and ideas. This is another excellent practice for realizing your patterns. When you take on the role of the observer it will help you to solve your own problems, or find your own answers. This is a practical and empathetic approach to addressing some of your own issues.


Battling Negative Self-Talk


  1. Catch It- Be aware of when negative self-talk starts.

  2. Control It- Say “STOP” to yourself.

  3. Challenge It- Ask yourself, is this true?

  4. Change It- Turn your mind towards gratitude. What are you thankful for?

What Helps You Feel Less Blue


This answer is certainly different for everyone, but when you know what makes you feel less blue it is important to take some time for yourself. Having a little fun or doing something that sparks joy can help ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety. The thing that makes you less blue might even be weird, but if it does not harm you or anyone else, what do you have to lose? Dance like nobody's watching!


Self-therapy is a tool for healing in moments of struggle. Depression, anxiety, PTSD, and stress can feel debilitating but with these tools you can find more ease and peace in your life.



© 2020 by Markesha Miller, Ph.D.