How to Be Your Own Therapist : A Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Competent, Confident Life

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As countless people have discovered, the help of a professional psychotherapist in the face of life's challenges can be an effective, even transformative process. In certain situations, it is the most appropriate choice. But for many, there is another, virtually overlooked option: you may be best equipped to be your own therapist. In this insightful, innovative, and exceptionally honest book, Dr. Patricia Farrell draws from her twenty years as a licensed therapist to show you how to heal yourself—more rapidly, ...

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How to Be Your Own Therapist: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Competent, Confident Life

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Overview

As countless people have discovered, the help of a professional psychotherapist in the face of life's challenges can be an effective, even transformative process. In certain situations, it is the most appropriate choice. But for many, there is another, virtually overlooked option: you may be best equipped to be your own therapist. In this insightful, innovative, and exceptionally honest book, Dr. Patricia Farrell draws from her twenty years as a licensed therapist to show you how to heal yourself—more rapidly, more permanently, and certainly less expensively.

Whether or not you choose to seek professional help, in confronting and exploring your personal issues, you embark on a journey to the center of yourself. And the fact is that you know your own emotional terrain better than anyone on this earth. What you really need is a tour guide, and the right tools for your journey. The accessible, step-by-step approach in How To Be Your Own Therapist enables you to develop the innate skills to face a lifetime of challenges—without creating the dependency that is so often a result of traditional therapy.

Shared here are the techniques and exercises Dr. Farrell uses to promote successful results in her own patients—patients whom she quickly enables to move into independent problem-solving action. After determining, with the help of this book, whether self-therapy is right for you, you will be prepared to discover—and utilize—the ten practical tools that will help you make the changes you want in your life. These highly effective "power tools" include how to:

  • Open Your Eyes and Face Reality
  • Make Lots of Mistakes
  • Act Like the Person You Want to Be
  • Fire Your Parents
  • Accept Yourself, Warts and All

Also included are dozens of proven self-assessment tests, compelling case studies, and helpful symptom-identification sidebars to help you gain a new understanding of therapy—and of your own ability to find a renewed, healthier, more powerful self.

SELF-HELP TOOLS FOR A LIFETIME OF CHALLENGES

This innovative, highly effective book is for anyone who wants to replace unhealthy behaviors with actions that bring satisfaction and success—quickly, permanently, and with or without the guidance of a professional therapist. Through her work with over 20,000 patients, Dr. Patricia Farrell has developed an approach that will enable you to manage your own life by reclaiming your power to overcome obstacles and influence outcome—even in the face of life's greatest challenges. Here are the proven techniques and exercises Dr. Farrel uses to help her patients move into independent problem-solving action, including:

  • 10 tools to help you make the changes you want in your life
  • Quick Fixes to immediately transform intention into action
  • Proven self-assessment tests
  • Compelling case studies
  • Helpful symptom-identification sidebars

...and much more to help you get unstuck from life's problems and ready to embark on a happier, more well-adjusted future.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780071387330
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/28/2002
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia A. Farrell, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist in private practice in New Jersey. She holds masters and doctoral degrees in psychology from New York University and is a Clinical Professor of Doctoral Psychology at Walden University. She is a frequent guest on "The Maury Povich Show" and has also appeared on "Sally Jesse Raphael," " Montel Williams," "The View," "Court TV," "ABC World News," and "Inside Edition". Her print interviews include The Chicago Tribune, the New York Post, the Boston Globe, Psychology Today Online, the Atlanta Constitution, and Cosmopolitan. Dr. Farrell also serves as the Moderator/Expert for the Anxiety/Panic Board on Web-MD. She lives in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments IX
Foreword: A Call to Sanity: Coming Home to Yourself XI
Section I The Myth of Psychotherapy and the Promise of Healing
Chapter 1 Seeking the Answers Within or Without 3
Chapter 2 The 10 Biggest Myths of Modern Psychotherapy 13
Section II Discoveries from the Toolbox: Ten Tools for Healing and Change
Chapter 3 Challenge and Change 27
Chapter 4 Open Your Eyes & Face Reality 39
Chapter 5 Make Lots of Mistakes 63
Chapter 6 Quit Whining 91
Chapter 7 Act Like the Person You Want to Be 111
Chapter 8 Accept Yourself, Warts & All 133
Chapter 9 Fire Your Parents 153
Chapter 10 Challenge Authority 179
Chapter 11 Stick Up for Yourself 203
Chapter 12 Live Dangerously 221
Chapter 13 Give Up the Throne 239
Afterword: On Your Way 255
Notes 259
Index 263
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Interviews & Essays

Dr. Patricia Farrell on Self-Therapy
I think it might be helpful for my readers to know why I wrote this book. For many years now, I've felt first vague dissatisfaction and eventually outright frustration with the field in which I practice: psychology. The seeds of this book actually came from work with patients, both in the community and in hospitals.

I became a psychologist because I believe that patients are willing to step up to the plate and take responsibility for their lives. Let me illustrate with one very powerful example of someone who overcame great odds against him.

In my very first job in the field, when I was the "new woman on campus," working at an inpatient psychiatric unit, I was assigned to work with a patient everyone else had written off. He was a huge, threatening-looking fellow, and certainly he was seriously disturbed; no one would have disagreed with that. The other staff members eyed me with a mixture of amusement and cynicism: Here I was, fresh out of my doctoral program, thinking I could effect change, and their expressions seemed to say that they'd seen it all before and would happily watch with great amusement as I failed with the same patient who had stumped many a more experienced psychologist.

This particular man refused to talk, and he also refused to eat in the dining room with other patients. I met with him several times, and still, he wouldn't talk. In the past, when staff members had tried to take him to the dining hall he had promptly thrown his food in the trash, returned to the unit, and made a nuisance by demanding money for candy. One day at lunch I escorted him to the nearly empty dining room before his unit went, and seated him facing a window. He started wolfing down his lunch, immediately got up, dumped his tray in the trash, and wanted to return to the unit when he heard others. He was terrified of the other people on the unit, and most people, for that matter, and he did all he could to avoid them -- even if it meant not eating.

Every day after that we made our trek to the dining room, although we went a bit earlier from then on. He began to talk, just little bits at a time, never about anything special. One day, though, as we were waiting for him to be served, he asked me a question.

"Dr. Farrell," he mumbled, "Am I human?"

The question startled me a bit, but I answered. "Yes."

"Am I human like you?"

Again, "Yes."

Somehow, he had come to believe that he wasn't human. Perhaps it was part of his illness; perhaps people had teased him mercilessly because of his odd habits and the terror that made him seem like such an easy, vulnerable target.

After several months, I was leaving the unit for a new position and a nurse casually mentioned to me that the man would never leave. "He's a lifer, he'll never leave," she said, her tone matter-of-fact.

Fast-forward a year, and I was in the market picking up a few things. I glanced to my left and saw a familiar face. It was the same man, his grocery cart loaded with various foods. A mental health worker accompanied him. While conventional wisdom and even rules of professional ethics might say that a therapist should never acknowledge a patient outside of the therapeutic setting, I wasn't about to let that stop me. I touched his sleeve and he startled, but when he saw me he broke into a wide grin.

"Dr. Farrell!" he exclaimed, bouncing on his heels with excitement.

"So you're Dr. Farrell!" the woman with him said, smiling. "He talks about you all the time! He thinks the world of you!"

We chatted for a few more minutes, long enough for me to learn that he had moved into a community program, where he lived with three other men and a house counselor, and that he was attending a day program where he learned skills like cooking, cleaning, self-care and more.

As we both reached our respective cashiers, we said goodbye, and his counselor leaned over to me. "You know," she said, "He's one of our best clients. We all love him."

I left the store thinking -- and have often thought since -- that if he could overcome the obstacles facing him, his absolute terror of being around other people, what is it that we can't hope for; what is it that we can't accomplish?

May he stand as a shining example for you.

Good luck, and, as the Irish say, may the road rise to meet you and the wind always be at your back. Patricia A. Farrell, Ph.D.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2003

    Excellent!

    Patricia has done it again! This book has proven to be one of the most helpful yet. She has proven what many of us have already thought...you don't always have to go running to your local therapist for something you can quite possibly do yourself. Don't get me wrong, Patricia plainly states that if you absolutely need to see a therapist, then by all means, do so. But I think you should read her book beforehand in an effort to do everything within your power to help yourself first. Who knows, you could save yourself a lot of money, time and heartache.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2002

    This is the most helpful book I have ever read on self help and therapy!!!

    I can't say enough good about this book and the tools Dr. Farrell has given to me, the reader. I can see myself on every page. I have been in therapy for years and I wish I would have had this book when I first started. It would have saved me a lot of money and I would be in a different place by now. But none the less, I am glad to be reading it now. Thanks to Dr. Farrell! You've saved my life!!! I have realized now more than ever that I HAVE WHAT IT TAKES to better my life!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2002

    NOW. WHY WAIT?

    Such is a major theme of this book. If you want to improve your life, you can stop procrastinating. Dr. Farrell presents tools for you to use right away to change your life for the better. She interweaves tales of her patients, her past and questions to you, in order for you to find your own truth. Ultimately, you know yourself best! If you use these questionnaires honestly, you will find yourself, your strengths, and that which you can work on. "How to Be Your Own Therapist" is no dry tome. It is not chock full of statistics. No, it is written in an interactive manner, in dialogue fashion. Dr. Farrell maintains a conversational and positive tone throughout. She encourages you to get going. Don't just read the book, USE it! Of course, being a "tools" oriented book, it is not meant to be read once and tucked into a nook on the bookshelf. Read it over again and again to get the most out of its and your potential. Through right use of the "tools" you will find your truth. You will learn to embrace yourself, to learn through mistakes. You will learn to be responsible for yourself, maybe even save money by being your own therapist! Over the couse of this work, the author assumes that you do indeed wish to change. Well, what if you're sufering from inertia? As Dr.Farrell so eloquently states; "being too safe is insidious: it will slowly build up over time, giving you a collection of experiences that didn't happen, memories never made...your life...as an album empty of photos you didn't take...the regret of an unlived life might well be the foremost." Read and use this book. Don't you, don't we all deserve the best life we can get?

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