How to Be Your Own Therapist Book Summary - How to Be Your Own Therapist Book explained in key points
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How to Be Your Own Therapist summary

Owen O'Kane

Boost Your Mood and Reduce Your Anxiety in 10 Minutes a Day

4.4 (194 ratings)
19 mins

Brief summary

How to Be Your Own Therapist by Owen O'Kane is a comprehensive guide to understanding and managing your mental health. Through practical exercises and mindfulness techniques, it empowers you to take control of your emotional well-being.

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    How to Be Your Own Therapist
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    Learning your story: the practice of therapy

    Everyone brings their own unique story to therapy, and Owen O’Kane is no exception. He grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in a tough, working-class area, during a tumultuous period in Irish history known as The Troubles. And if that wasn’t enough, he was also gay and living in a conservative religious community that didn’t accept his sexuality.

    O’Kane got by however he could. But life only began to improve when he started seeing a therapist – a wonderful woman who happened to be a Catholic nun. Therapy opened doors, transformed O’Kane’s life, and ultimately led him to become a therapist himself.

    Through this personal process, O’Kane learned to recognize the deep-seated patterns and assumptions that held him back, and caused him to feel shame and self-doubt.

    As children, we do our best to navigate our environment. We learn coping strategies to protect ourselves and meet our needs. Once cemented, however, these strategies can become almost invisible to us, as we use them in our adult lives. And this tendency is the origin of much of our suffering because these strategies often no longer serve us.

    Seeing a therapist is a great way to start uncovering these unhelpful behaviors.

    Typically in therapy, you start by telling your story – the significant events of your life so far – doing your best to give your therapist an unvarnished account. Then, you identify the struggles you’re facing as an adult: what brought you to therapy and what you’d like to change. You and your therapist look for connections, reflecting on life events and their impacts, and paying attention to the rules and assumptions that may have carried through to today. Once you identify the self-enforced rules you’ve been living by, you can start examining and questioning them, to see what’s supporting you – and what may be holding you back.

    This is therapy, in a nutshell. But therapy isn’t a matter of “one-and-done.” It’s an ongoing process – a lifestyle, even – in which you check in, introspect, and take ongoing steps to stay connected to yourself and what matters. You can independently learn how to do this, shedding those unhelpful habits that stop you from living your best life.

    To this end, we’re going to explore a three-step self-therapy practice that you can carry out in as little as ten minutes a day.

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    Key ideas in How to Be Your Own Therapist

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    What is How to Be Your Own Therapist about?

    How to Be Your Own Therapist presents highly-effective techniques from evidence-based therapeutic approaches, including cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness. Funny and humane, it outlines a simple self-therapy program to free you from unhelpful habits and tendencies, as well as daily check-in sessions that can be completed in as little as ten minutes.  

    Who should read How to Be Your Own Therapist?

    • People wishing to learn essential therapeutic techniques to improve their lives
    • Anyone curious about initiating a daily self-therapy practice
    • Those eager to overcome negative thought patterns and adopt healthier perspectives

    About the Author

    Owen O'Kane is a psychotherapist with over 25 years of experience in mental health. He is a columnist, speaker and the bestselling author of Ten Times Happier and Ten to Zen. A former NHS Mental Health Clinical Lead, he now runs a private practice in London. 

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