17 Apr Why Self Help Books Are Not Psychotherapy
Getting fit or sculpting your body requires you to take action, and so does overcoming an emotional difficulty or becoming a master of your emotional universe. You must do the work in order to experience change. You can’t just read a book.
Granted, reading self help books can be beneficial. They can provide you with ideas about why you act the way you do and systems for how you might change what you are doing.
But what do you do with the insight about why you act the way you do? And what if you don’t follow the system? Or what if you give up on the system because you are unmotivated, too stressed out or too busy to focus on it?
Self help books don’t help you figure out why you didn’t work their systems. They can’t. They do not deal with your unconscious (subconscious) mind and your emotions, which are the basis for your behavior. They can only help you with rational, conscious, logical thought processes, which is why they are not psychotherapy.
People are often taught that they can “get rid” of an emotion through the use of self-talk and will power. Unfortunately, this is lesson is completely wrong. You will never change your feelings by using your mind. You might be able to trick yourself for a period of time, perhaps even a very long period of time, into believing that you are not having certain feelings. But rest assured, your body is containing the feelings and causing you to act in ways that you are not in control of. This is why certain things “trigger” you, why you cannot do things you say you want to do, or why you cannot stop doing things you say you want to stop doing. This is why your life is not just the way you want it to be.
Psychotherapy is a process that elicits feelings for the purpose of understanding yourself. It involves a licensed professional who knows how to help you find and recognize your feelings, what to do with your feelings when they arise, and how to use them for your benefit. No book can do this for you.
If you are interested in learning more about yourself and having the life you want, give me a call. We’ll talk.