How to Be Your Own Therapist: A Step-by-Step Guide to Taking Back Your Life

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Dynamic Tools for Challenge and Change

"Pat Farrell has helped hundreds of guests on my show. She is the best at what she does." -Maury Povich

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 ...

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Dynamic Tools for Challenge and Change

"Pat Farrell has helped hundreds of guests on my show. She is the best at what she does." -Maury Povich

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. Farrell uses to help her patients move into independent problem-solving action, including the ten "power tools" that will help you:

  • Open your eyes and face reality
  • Grow from your mistakes
  • Act like the person you want to be
  • Fire your parents
  • Accept yourself, warts and all
  • Quit whining
  • Challenge authority
  • Stick up for yourself
  • Live dangerously
  • Accept that what others do is not your responsibility proven self-assessment tests, compelling case studies, 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: 9780071433655
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/20/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 830,825
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia A. Farrell, Ph.D. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ) is a licensed psychologist in private practice in New Jersey and a clinical professor of doctoral psychology at Walden University. She serves as the moderator/ expert for the Anxiety/Panic Board on

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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 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2004

    $120.00 an Hour Forever OR 'How to Be Your Own Therapist'

    Dr. Pat Farrell in this book offers solutions and suggestions for a healthier happier life without going to see a therapist for the rest of your life- And obviously saving quite a lot of money in the bargain! I have personally been 'in theraphy' for years and although, I don't discount its positive effects, I was enlightened in a way I would never have expected from Dr. Farrell's breakthrough analysis of the ways that an individual can change and grow and BE HAPPIER in this one life we have. I want to recommend 'How to Be...' as highly as possible to anyone who has questions, doubts, fears or insecurities about the mysteries of life changes. And having this book at your fingertips is so much more convenient and helpful than waiting to talk about your problems at your next theraphy appointment- And, excuse my bluntness, so much cheaper, too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2004

    Practical, Smart and Instantly Useful

    This book was fantastic! I've seen Dr. Farrell on Court TV (she's on all the time with Nancy Grace, and I had assumed she just did criminal-psychology, or whatever it's called, but after you read this you'll see that her real expertise is in helping people figure out what their problems are, take responsibility for the problems, and solve them without a bunch of whining). Before I say anything else, let me say that I'm not a big fan of 'self-help' books: most of them seem to recycle the same old information over and over and tell you things that you already knew (or should have known!). I bought the book because I love Dr. Farrell's no-nonsense approach on Court TV, and I wasn't disappointed. Though this book isn't offering ideas that are rocket science--it is full of common sense 'tools' that you can use--the tools are presented in a clever way with great examples (and LOTS of exercises, like interactive tests you can take to learn about yourself) that make them all hit home, and there are so many examples and stories, etc., that it's almost like reading a novel: it's funny in parts and just really easy to read. I think my favorite chapter was about Firing Your Parents: for instance, one thing it does is compare the idea of growing up and really taking control of your life with what you do when you have to fire someone in the workplace. For instance, you let them down easily, but you also make it a 'clean break', and so on. I found that using the examples really helped me with trying to create some healthy distance (which has resulted in more closeness, in the end) with my folks, who mean well but intrude way too often in my life. I used the ideas to set limits, and it has helped a lot. I could go on, but won't, except to say that this really is a well-written, clear, and helpful book--and fun to read, too!

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