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How to be Your Own Therapist

Updated: Nov 21, 2021

by Annie Allen, Certified Divorce and Life Transition Coach®

The greatest struggle of divorce is, hands down, how we manage our brains, and the struggle that we all have with how to meet our own emotional and psychological needs during this season of loss and transition. It is critically important for each of us to become an expert on “therapizing” ourselves. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and author of "Therapize Yourself", Carrie Leaf, admits it is a made-up word, but nonetheless, a word that many people use often, perhaps whimsically, but Carrie's frequency of hearing the word coupled with the felt need for more people to know how to help themselves was so important to Carri

e that she wrote a book about it.

In its most basic form, we describe “therapizing yourself” as understanding your emotions and paying attention to them like the warning lights on your dashboard, to prevent bigger problems later. Being your own therapist requires getting wise to who you are, what you need, what’s important to you, what you like, and exploring until you have a solid grasp on what mind-body-spirit connection involves and how important it is to your mental, physical and emotional well-being.

Breaking it down a little bit, we discussed some solid examples of good mindfulness exercises for someone going through a divorce, like journaling, but many more great ideas were tossed around as well. Then we dove into the most important areas of consideration with regard to our bodies during divorce, what to do, not do, eat, and not eat to feel our Best Self so we can better endure the stress and overcome the overwhelm of decision fatigue that leads to great regret.

Lastly, we explored how we can best serve our own spiritual needs during divorce by doing just that—exploring. Taking a curious approach to what we actually believe, what feels right and good to us. Maybe it is to visit church for the first time in decades. Maybe it’s a decision to step away from the church to truly connect with God and feed that personal relationship. Maybe it is simply to ask ourselves, what do I believe about the world, deity, my purpose? Stay curious and trust your gut to show you what matters most for you right now, and in the long term.

Wrapping it all up, we had a frank conversation with the person who might say they can't afford a therapist, or a coach. Here is the hard truth. With something as important as mental health, there is very much an element of “you can't afford not to” that you simply cannot ignore. I would imagine most people would have said at some point that they can't afford a lawyer either, but they figured out a way to make that work because they saw the necessity. They realize the risk of going it alone. Therapy, or visiting the past to understand the present realities, and Coaching, or visualizing the future to create the present possibilities, are risky endeavors when going it alone. The amazing irony of making this investment in therapizing yourself well is that you will most often offset the cost of legal fees, the additional strain on your emotional well-being and even shorten the duration of the divorce process!

Managing your brain is job #1 in your divorce. Start today by listening to this powerful interview in full and then make some incredibly important decisions about your next best steps.

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