Ep. 71: Therapy or Self-Help?

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This week, we answer a letter from a reader about the difference between self-help and therapy, how we first landed with therapy, and what our experiences were like.


We talked about

  • remembering (or not) what we talk about after recording every episode

  • the book and email that inspired this week’s topic

  • self-help and therapy as two separate entities 

  • the vast majority of self-help not actually helping much

  • the very first time Laura went to therapy  and the catalyst for her to choose to go for herself 

  • lying to therapists and why Laura still finds it uncomfortable to go to one

  • why some small town therapists turned away from working with Meadow

  • what we need in a therapist and Meadow making hers work hard with mental gymnastics

  • her going back to therapy 13 years later in a last-ditch effort to save a relationship

  • misconceptions some people have about going to therapists and giving off clues for them to pick up

  • how resistance to seeking therapy recently showed up for Laura

  • to need or not need therapy and removing the stigma of seeking it out

  • recognizing when you’re in trouble and knowing when you have a blind spot

  • not understanding Eckhart Tolle on first read and the types of books we find most helpful

  • the first self-help book that really changed Meadow’s life 

  • how benefiting from therapy works just like exercising, final words of wisdom, and much more.


Quotables

“To be absolutely blunt, I would say I have read probably well over 1,000 self-help books during my career, and maybe five of them were helpful.”

“I had never had any conversations about feelings. I was, like, very allergic to those types of conversations. No one in my family did that.”

“There are certain fields of work where mental health and this type of work...it’s seen as being almost a weakness...it’s a liability.”

“Most great self-help books will go over your head if you haven’t gotten some help first.”


Ask yourself

  • How do you know when you have a blind spot?

Resources

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport

Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser

Loving What Is and other books by Byron Katie

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