Self-Counseling – How I Did It (Part 2)

Disclaimer: The author speaks of their personal experience in this blog. They are not saying that self-counseling can replace counseling that licensed professionals can offer or that it is the most effective way to deal with mental health issues. They only mean to share their healing journey with people who might be able to relate to it.


When I revealed my decision to perform self-counseling instead of letting my parents continue to pay at least a hundred dollars for every counseling session, my parents could not speak, and their facial expressions became blank. That was never a good sign.

Once Mom recovered, she said, “Honey, it’s okay even if we pay for your counseling for as long as you need it. You should not feel the need to cut corners because your father and I can handle the finances well.”

“Yes, that’s correct, honey. You do not have to try self-counseling,” Dad added.

So, that was the problem. It was not because they worried that nothing good would come out of my new plan. It was more because they feared that the crazy side of me was the only thing that wanted to perform self-counseling. After all, the people around me often complained about my high intelligence. Hence, my parents must have thought that I was merely acting like the Ms. Know-It-All they knew too well again.


Even if I tried to deny it, the reality was honestly not far off from that. Before I announced that I wanted to try my hand at self-counseling, I went online to read any information regarding the possibility of counseling myself. For added details, I even spent some time in the library. It was only after the 11th book that I understood that it was possible to counsel yourself, especially for people like me who had seen counselors before and knew their process.

Despite my parents’ opposition, I went on with my plan.

Doing Counseling On Myself

Doing counseling on yourself typically requires good focus. It was much different than regular counseling, considering you do not have an outsider – a mental health professional – to strike a conversation with. You would not hear them throwing helpful questions at you or guide you in the right direction.

During a self-counseling session,  you need to be responsible for everything you do so that the time you spend on this activity would always be used in vain.

The first time I tried to counsel myself, I decided to do it at the quietest time of the day at home. Most people would recommend looking for a quiet room, but I already had one. The only problem I usually had was that I had little brothers running up and down the hallway in the mornings and afternoons, so I had to start the counseling process around 10:00 in the evening.

Of course, despite the quietness of my bedroom, I also prepared it for the occasion. For instance, I asked my mom to buy me some aromatic candles somehow to mimic the scent in my favorite counselor’s office. I also pre-downloaded some instrumental classical songs to ensure further that I could main calm throughout the process.


When everything was ready, I started self-counseling.

Think Of Yourself As Somebody Else

The first step towards successful self-canceling is detaching yourself from yourself. I know it does not make a lot of sense, but if you think about it from a different perspective, you will realize that most counseling sessions work because the counselor has ideally never met you until that day. They do not know what you are like outside the clinic; they know better than to make first impressions last. Thus, it would most likely not be too tricky for them to hear you out completely without judging you.

If you could practice self-detachment, could you imagine what troubles you could encounter during self-counseling? You might not even be able to get past the first step!

Ask And Answer Questions Diligently

Once you have mastered the technique of detaching yourself from your mind, body, and soul, you can now come up with simple yet hard-hitting questions.

Here are some of the questions I asked myself:

  • Why do I feel awkward around others?
  • What pushes me to challenge others’ intelligence?
  • Have I been too aggressive to everyone?
  • What activities have other people been doing before I acted up?

Admit Your Mistakes

Another truth regarding self-counseling is that many people try to hide their mistakes even when they are merely talking to themselves. Admittance is synonymous with guilt for some people, after all. It had something to do with the saying, “Talking about something out loud will make it real.”

Well, refusing to admit the errors in your actions will not take you anywhere. You will merely feel frustrated in the end and look for harsher treatments (e.g., substance abuse).

Stop Asking,  “God, Why?’

Lastly, self-counseling taught me to stop being melodramatic. I used to be upset deep down with everyone, especially God, due to my mental health journey. It made me feel abnormal, for lack of a better word, because no other kid I knew had even met a psychologist. Meaning they were saved from that kind of life. But I wasn’t.

As I focused on detaching myself from my thoughts, though, I managed to let go of all the blaming I had been doing for years. There was no use in finding someone to blame; I just had to focus on answering more questions that came up in my mind until nothing left.


Final Thoughts

I continued to do self-counseling for years. It gave me clarity and peace of mind, and it helped me heal my relationship with my family.

To reiterate, I would not recommend self-counseling to people who had not experienced one-on-one counseling with a licensed counselor before. I could do this because I had met enough counselors to adapt their techniques and apply them on my own. The effect of self-counseling on me might also not be the same on you, so if you wish to give it a go, I wish you well.

Self-Counseling – What Made Me Do It (Part 1)

For as long as I could recall, I had always been the girl with “issues.” It was nothing big or mind-boggling at all – I could tell you that now in case your mind went straight to major mental disorders. My parents had me tested multiple times throughout the years, and the psychologists and psychiatrists could not find anything conclusive. Despite all that, my family walked on eggshells around me and treated me like a sensitive ticking bomb, especially whenever I was quiet.

It was upsetting in the beginning, to be honest. They would never say straight to my face that I was not right in the head, but their actions spoke otherwise. I used to challenge them to say that they thought I was a nutcase out loud, but they never did it. My parents would always say that they just wanted to understand me better.


What Led To Such Reactions Towards Me?

Okay, I could not claim that I did not know what made my parents do all that. I might have behaved in strange ways a few times during my childhood that made them question my mental stability.

For instance, kids of any age are typically excited to see a playground and play with other kids. When I was a toddler, though, I did not show any interest in either at all. I thought the children were too rambunctious for me, so I preferred to stay inside the daycare center or preschool classroom. And if the teachers encouraged me to go outside, I would only agree if they allowed me to take a book and sit by the tree.

When I was in first grade, my homeroom adviser called my parents to complain about me talking back and not apologizing for it. In my defense, being rude was never my intention. I just wanted the teacher to explain a topic deeper than she might have prepared for. Thus, when I refused to sit down and told her that “I would love to remain standing until you can answer my question,” she was offended by that.


I found myself in similar situations as the two mentioned above the next two years. Each time my parents would hear the telephone ring in the living room, they feared that it was from one of my teachers. They would push each other towards it until the person closest to the receiver would have no choice but to answer the call.

Once I was in fourth grade, though, the teacher asked my parents if I had already been checked by a mental health professional. Of course, the answer was no, but they promised the teacher that they would make it happen. I thought they were joking because I felt fine, but they seriously brought me to a child psychologist.

The most challenging part of that consultation was the four hours I spent answering different questionnaires and playing boring games until the psychologist was satisfied with the results. We were told to come back a week after that since she apparently had to study my answers more. When we did, she told my parents that she could not pinpoint the exact cause of my behavioral issues.


“The symptoms were too mild to become a personality disorder. However, I also saw some signs that could be seen in other disorders,” the psychologist said.

For the next few years, my parents would continue to take me to various mental health clinics to give a name to my condition. They only stopped when I turned 18 after telling them that I was done being treated like a guinea pig. I would much rather go to counseling than see another psychologist or psychiatrist in hopes of receiving a proper diagnosis.

My Counseling Experience

Unlike the psychiatrists and psychologists who tried to diagnose me for almost a decade, the counselors I met were brilliant. They knew how to make a client feel welcome and safe in the office; they were highly aware of boundaries, especially regarding questions they would throw at people.


However, did you notice how I said “counselors” above? That was not because I went through a few rotten eggs before meeting a good one. It was mostly because I could not seem to get better, no matter how many counseling sessions I attended every month.

It always seemed promising in the beginning. I wanted to learn what’s wrong with my behavior that bothered my family so much and see how to curb my issues, so I was highly cooperative. But the more sessions passed, the more I realized that I was not ready to open up to any of them.

Frustrated with the lack of progress, though, my parents gave me an ultimatum one day. They wanted me to tell them honestly if it was worth paying for my sessions when my behavior did not change much. I was still as straightforward as ever; worse, my knowledge base expanded, so I could argue with my professors in college for days.

I decided to give myself counseling instead.

Tips For Fighting Coronavirus Anxiety

The threat of COVID-19 can take a massive toll on our emotional well-being. Even for those who don’t live with an anxiety disorder may find themselves worrying more than usual. Thankfully, there are ways of managing such and getting through this pandemic.

Establish A Routine

The outbreak of COVID-19 has turned everyone’s lives upside down. Almost everyone across the globe is now living differently from accustomed. Because of this drastic change, many feel lost and anxious.

Something you can do to avoid excessive worrying is to establish a routine. It helps to make it similar to what you’re used to already. Although it won’t be entirely the same, you can stick to your usual meal hours and sleep schedule. Next, you can figure out how to adjust when it comes to work, school, and other activities.

Set Reasonable Goals


Because citizens have to stay at home, some are treating this pandemic as a vacation rather than a crisis. They tend to think that because people now have more free time, they have to be productive.

However, the coronavirus outbreak is anything but ordinary. Don’t think that you have to come out of this pandemic with life-changing achievements. Everyone is collectively experiencing something traumatic to some degree. Even just making it through the day is already a significant step forward.

Instead of pressuring yourself to be extremely productive, set realistic daily goals instead. It could be something seemingly simple, like exercising, doing the laundry, or reaching out to friends. Give yourself the credit you deserve.

Limit Your Exposure To The News

One of the leading causes of anxiety during this time is fixating on the news and social media. It’s tempting to check the television every hour for updates, especially when the outbreak began. However, the barrage of worrying headlines will end up worrying you instead of providing you with information.

While it’s vital for you to stay updated, set a limit on how often you check on the news as well as social media. You can let yourself watch the news twice a day, for example. Also, remember to always stick to credible sources of information. As a guide, turn to the CDC, WHO, and your local health offices.

Follow A Proper Sleep Schedule


Since most people don’t have school or work to worry about the following day, many are staying up late. This practice will then lead to sleeping in, completely overhauling your regular sleep schedule.

However, sleep is not only essential to your physical health, but it also has effects on your mental wellness. Sleep deprivation will make you more likely to experience anxiety as well as depression. So see to it that you get enough sleep and follow a regular schedule.

Apply Relaxation Techniques

Similar to how you would deal with stress in any situation, it helps to take a step back. Then, you can adapt techniques that can help you relax. You may choose deep breathing, with several videos available, as well as mobile apps to guide you. Likewise, yoga and meditation are popular options to help keep you calm.

If these choices aren’t your thing, even soaking in a warm tub, listening to music, or enjoying a cup of tea can help.

Help Others


Sometimes, anxiety stems from worrying over other people. We’re concerned about how our loved ones, neighbors, and the general public is during this health crisis. Does everyone have something to eat? Does anyone need to buy medicine? Does anyone need someone to talk to and keep them company?

Even though guidelines call for physical distance, that doesn’t mean we can’t help others. If you have elderly neighbors or family, you can offer to get them groceries during your next run. You can also donate to charity organizations that might have a better capacity to provide help.

Additionally, Anna Yusim, MD, says, “Fear and anxiety are as contagious as the virus.” Thankfully, you can also spread calmness and mindfulness. Although you may experience anxiety sometimes, you can uplift others when they feel the same. Share with them the techniques you’ve learned in keeping yourself less anxious during these times.

Final Thoughts

Feeling worried during this outbreak is entirely understandable. A large portion of the population is probably experiencing the same feeling.

When it comes to managing anxiety, focus on things that you do have power over. Establish a routine with achievable daily goals. Don’t fixate on the news too much and get adequate sleep at the proper time.

Find relaxing activities that you can partake in, such as yoga or drinking some calming tea. Lastly, reach out and help others. It’s a difficult time for everyone, and being a calming influence can have a positive impact on many individuals.

Considering feeling relaxed does not cut it for you anymore, know that BetterHelp psychologists are always there to help you.

Rich and Poor: Can They Be Friends?

Different factors divide society: money, race, culture, religion, values and education despite the advent of connectivity and campaigns on acceptance of diversity. Despite the emergence of progressive thinking, numerous people will always create an affinity to something familiar and closer to their characteristics and history, and this is completely fine. It is fundamental human right. Because diversity is a part of your culture, it is wise to be critical of one’s behaviors, which may seem harmless and innocent at first glance but would turn out disrespectful to others. One good example is the importance of coming to terms with your idea of class privilege and deconstruct your expectations about friends who come from poor and work-class backgrounds concerning financial wealth.


Art Therapy And Mental Healing: The 7 Art Forms You Can Try

You might have heard of art therapy and how it’s lauded as one of the most effective tools for healing from mental disorders and emotional instability. But you might doubt if this form of therapy fits an inartistic you. Well, art therapy is more than just painting and drawing. Read on to find out more about it!


Can’t Afford A Therapist? Here’s What You Can Do

One of the oft-cited reasons why people don’t seek therapy is money. Treatment costs a lot, especially when looking at therapists’ hourly rates which can range from as high as $100 to $250 per hour. Immediately, people assume they cannot afford to get professional help, so they stop making efforts for their mental health altogether.


However, there are still many ways you can take care of your mental health even if a therapist might not be an option for you now.

Build Your Support Network

It is highly beneficial for anyone struggling with their mental health to have their trusted circle. Caring for your mental health in total isolation is not only extremely difficult but can also cause you to spiral down even more.  Even if you find yourself to be introverted, you will still need support from other people. For this, make sure a nurturing support network surrounds you. These people can also offer you some good advice or provide companionship during a difficult time. Even without a therapist, you will reap the same benefits from your support system. “While many therapists are qualified to treat common challenges such as anxiety or depression, if you are interested in working with a specialist to address a specific challenge, you should consider looking out-of-network.” Stacy Donn Cristo, LMHC emphasizes.


For some, exercising keeps them sane much more than trimming their body in shape. Therapists even recommend exercise or any sort of physical activity since they release endorphins. Endorphins act as happy hormones for your brain, reducing the feeling of pain and triggering positivity in your body. By exercising, you will lower stress hormones and help your mind by working your body. “For starters, exercise releases endorphins, the body’s “feel-good hormones,” that can calm the mind and relax the body.” Clinical psychologist Jenny C. Yip, PsyD said. The better you feel outside, the better you will feel inside.


Eat Healthy Food

The importance of a balanced diet goes beyond nutrition; it is also essential for our mental health.  Eating healthy food is vital for self-care as it allows you to feel better physically and even emotionally. Eating foods that are rich in fiber and protein will help keep sugar levels stable and will thus help stabilize anxiety too. In the same manner, complex carbohydrates promote serotonin in the brain, which can regulate your mood, sleep, and appetite. “Eating healthfully, exercising regularly and getting a good night’s sleep are all important elements in a mentally and physically healthy life.” A reminder from Staci Lee Schnell, MS, CS, LMFT.

Additionally, avoiding food that can trigger negative emotions can also be beneficial for you. Foods containing caffeine and sugar mimic the processes of anxiety, so avoiding these might help. To test these pieces of advice, try observing how you feel after eating certain foods as it might surprise how it affects you.

Utilize Online Resources

Even if you can’t afford a therapist, there are online materials you are free to access to help you maintain your mental health. Admittedly, it might not be the complete replacement for a therapist, but it can immensely help you when you need to clear your mind.

Therapist blogs exist online, and actual therapists talk about topics that can serve as guide for their clients. You can easily research these and find therapists who are experts in the kind of issue you’re dealing with. You may opt to subscribe to their newsletter, keep track of their posts, or follow their social media for advice.


Aside from blogs, there are now also additional options like podcasts or YouTube channels ran by clinicians themselves. Try subscribing in these; this way; you can somehow enjoy the benefits of a therapist without the costly rate.

A therapist can certainly help you face your problems, but that’s not the only option. There are various options that don’t require you to spend money you might not have. Take the suggestions above into consideration and see what works best for you. Remember, taking care of your mental health doesn’t have to cost so much.


Understanding Relapse Prevention Therapy


“Addiction develops over time, as a person continues to use a substance and grows more dependent on it.” says Hailey Shafir, LPCS, LCAS, CCS-I. Getting over an addiction is quite difficult, especially when there is a high possibility that you could experience relapse after trying to quit. It is as if you have no way out once you start to become addicted to drinking alcoholic beverages, smoking cigarettes, or using illegal substances. However, this does not imply that there is nothing you could do to fight the occurrence of relapse in your sober life.  Fortunately, there is still a chance that you could continue to live a happy and healthy life through relapse prevention therapy.

What Is Relapse?

Relapse refers to the urge to go back to something that you have been addicted to after saying “no” to it. It occurs when you encounter experiences or recall memories that will make you want to resort to becoming an addict again. Individuals who have gone through rehabilitation programs usually experience this urge. Even if they have already enjoyed sobriety, it is possible that they will go back to their old ways such as substance abuse or alcohol addiction. However, it is significant to point out that the longer a person has remained sober, the lower he experiences a relapse. “Admitting you have a problem is the first step in treating your addiction.” That is according to Dr. Howard Samuels, PsyD.

What Is Relapse Prevention Therapy?

There are several forms of cognitive behavior therapy, one of which is relapse prevention therapy. “Cognitive behavioral therapy, often shortened to CBT, focuses on recognizing negative thought patterns and changing thoughts and behaviors and feelings through concrete skills.” explains Hannah Goodman, LMHC. This kind of treatment has been designed to help people work on maintaining a sober and healthy lifestyle after overcoming addiction. Therapists use this to encourage their clients to completely let go of the bad habits that they are addicted to. At the same time, these professionals also help the clients get a full understanding of the adverse effects of addiction and how they could fight possible relapses in the future.

What Are The Techniques Used?


Take note that the approach used by a therapist varies from one case to another. No exact two clients go through the same programs designed by their chosen therapist. Addiction comes in different forms or types. For this reason, each case contains unique circumstances, symptoms or effects. As such, an excellent therapist works hard in creating personalized approach or technique for each client. Here are some of the common approaches:

  • Determine the possible causes for the condition of the client
  • Look into the available factors that could lead to relapse
  • Identify the pattern of relapse and the interval of the occurrences
  • Encouraging the client to think of the positive effects of successfully quitting from addiction
  • Reminding the client of the adverse effects of addiction
  • Helping a client understand the situation and why relapse takes place
  • Checking into the reasons why previous cases of relapse occurred
  • Creating a treatment plan that will continually motivate the client to fight relapse.

Trying to prevent relapse is challenging, especially when there are temptations everywhere. Do not feel bad in case you experience one because it is only typical once you quit on the item that resulted in your addiction. Luckily, you can try relapse prevention therapy. Be sure to find a therapist whom you can be comfortable with. Let him help you complete overcome addiction.


Warning Signs Of A Toxic Relationship

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Sometimes, we get so blinded by temporary happiness and comfort that we fail to see how bad some of our relationships have become. Be it a relationship with your significant other, with your family, or with your friends, warning signs can still arise.

Part of taking care of our mental health is knowing and acknowledging when our relationships have become toxic for us. “Relationships in and of themselves do not create mental illness.” However, he adds, “When we suffer in our relationships, it can be difficult to move forward from past hurt and trauma.” Jor-El Caraballo, LMHC said. With that, below are just some red flags we must not ignore:

Passive–Aggressive Behavior

When the other person continually says nothing is wrong even when you know and ask about it is already a telling sign. It means that the person is punishing you by putting you in the silent treatment. This behavior doesn’t leave room for conflict resolution. Instead, it makes you feel as if you’re overreacting for feeling the way you do. If you feel like the person always shuts you down whenever you try to talk, you may be in a toxic relationship.

Walking On Eggshells

If you must always overthink the littlest actions in fear that the person might misunderstand and make a big deal of it, think twice. Communication and trust are the foundations of healthy relationships. A toxic situation can involve your always having to predict and avoid what might make that person angry.


Becoming Isolated

If a person discourages you from spending time with other people close to you, it is a red flag. A bigger problem to this is when you are so exhausted that you stop making efforts to see other people you love.

Criticism And Contempt

There is absolutely nothing wrong with constructive criticism meant to help you improve and realize your mistakes. However, when criticism is being used as a channel to express contempt, it might make you feel unappreciated and worthless. By then, you will realize that the line has been crossed from criticism to insult. If the person constantly insults and puts you down as a “joke,” it might be time to rethink your relationship.

You Are Not Yourself

It’s not to say that change is bad. In any given relationship, you are bound to change one way or another. But this change must be in sync with the other person and push you toward becoming a better you. It should not make you feel as if you are losing yourself. It manifests whenever the person is trying to dictate what you can or can’t do. Do not wait until you no longer recognize who you are.


You Always Feel Bad

You don’t look forward to spending time with the person anymore. You always feel like you cannot do anything right. At this point, all blame goes to you instead of realizing what the person did. It is how a toxic relationship lasts since the burden of staying and fixing the relationship is irrationally shifted to you alone. “Become aware of your emotions and allow yourself to feel them. Mindfulness is the main goal here, and bottling up emotions won’t do any good.” A piece of advice from Heather Edwards LMHC, NCC, BCC.

You Stop Saying What You Need

When you have been mocked continuously for your needs for connection, affection, and appreciation, you will end up empty. It can be because the other person always meets your needs with arguments, insecurity, accusations, empty promises, or jealousy. What this does is cause you to ignore the need even to communicate your thoughts. You feel as if there is no longer a point to it.

“There are many types of toxic relationships such as a controlling or manipulative, negative, self-centered or narcissistic, dishonest, insecure, abusive, blaming or demanding and competitive, and secretive, and dramatic,” Catherine Jackson, a licensed clinical psychologist and neurotherapist said. In freeing yourself from any toxic relationship, the first step is admitting that there is a problem. Letting go of relationships is never easy, but you must find the courage to put yourself first, to take care of yourself, and to get the help you need. Here’s to building healthier connections!

Ten Things To Remember If Your Loved One Has Anxiety


If your partner is struggling with anxiety, it can take a toll on your relationship. If you don’t know how to help your partner and help yourself cope with all these negative emotions brought about by anxiety, it will destroy what you have as a couple. In the study of psychology on mental illnesses, anxiety is the leading problem of adults in the United States, and it kills their daily life functioning, including their relationships with loved ones.

Overcoming Mental Health Issues: What Works And What Won’t Work


The idea of overcoming mental health issues is challenging. Anxiety, depression, OCD, and others take place when the human brain malfunctions. And this malfunction is caused by circumstances that can be overwhelming for the person’s mental, emotional, psychological and behavioral health. With that, one needs to cope with being able to bounce back.