I know what it means to be broke, but I also know that mental health is essential and you MUST take care of it. Everyone deserves to be healthy and happy, so I decided to make a post about the things you could do if you can’t afford therapy.
Before I continue, please bear in mind that consulting with a professional is a MUST if you suffer severe depression or other mental condition. Some of them require medicational therapy, and a professional will know what to do next.
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Also, there is a stigma in the society that people that visit a therapist are mad, insane and ill. In therapy come people with severe problems, grief, anxiousness, depression, problems in their marriage, work or just because of self-growth and development.
I am not against therapy, but in my opinion, it is essential for us to learn how to help ourselves. It’s a skill that a great therapist will help you learn it so you won’t depend on therapy anymore.
Although life can be very unpredictable and visiting a therapist now and then is great, I want to share with you several things you can do to help yourself.
There is a risk to open some painful memory and issue in your life and don’t know how to deal with it. In that situation, a therapist is required, and there it’s not much you can do, except to stay calm and avoid thinking about that issue.
Find a training clinic or mental health center
The first thing to do if you can’t afford a therapy is to search for a training clinic near you. There are places where you can find free therapy. Psychology students offer free therapy sessions, and they are great because they are under the supervision of experienced therapists.
Also, search for a mental health center where you can find very cheap therapy or even free. If you find a free therapy, then you find a solution to your problem. But, if you can’t find a therapist, or you don’t feel comfortable to go in therapy, I will share with you other things you can do to feel better and work on your self-growth and development.
Give yourself a break
OK. You realize something is going on, and you can’t afford therapy. What can I do? Where to start? Give yourself a break! Don’t rush out with decisions, goals, tasks. It will make you more stressed that you already are.
Take a vacation if you can, day off from work, and find someone to take care of your home. Ask your partner to do the housework, take responsibility of the children, buy groceries, pay the bills. Sometimes these things will keep you occupied, and sometimes they can make you even more stressed. That is why I recommend you to take a day off and give yourself a break.
If you are tired, don’t give up! Rest! We often give up our paths and dreams just because we are tired. Tiredness is something completely normal, and it should not be an obstacle in the realization of our life path and vision, but on the contrary, tiredness is here to give us a sign that it is time to slow down. It’s time to take care of yourself and to love yourself more.
That’s why there is a break from work, coffee with friends, spa centers, vacations, holidays, parks, etc.
Make a plan
Еach therapy starts with a plan. Тhe therapist makes an analysis and in agreement with the client decide on what the session will be directed. It should be the same with a self-therapy. Make a plan and decide on what will you put your focus on. You can quickly lose yourself in your thoughts, and that is why making a good plan and writing down your issue is very important.
Another significant thing is that people have a vast number of defensive mechanisms, and although they are primarily aimed at protecting us, they can be quite problematic when it comes to personal growth and development and solving a particular problem.
How to make a plan?
First, you must decide what you will put your focus on. Then analyze your self, your strengths, and your weaknesses. Don’t be afraid of them, we all have plenty. Now put the focus on your strengths.
They are the most important. Focusing on them will help you make them even better.
On the other hand, create a plan for how to overcome the issue to live happier. This step is not easy, and that is why I encourage you to search more on how to make a self-development plan. The next step is to take action and start the journey. Prepare for bad days and exceptions on the way. Always put time for self-love and care in the plan.
The journey of personal growth and development can be very exhausting. Therefore I will again remind you how much rest is essential.
As a psychologist, I recommend journaling (writing a diary) almost for everything. Why journaling?
Еvery day, whether it’s in the morning or in the evening, you do an analysis of all the things that happened to you, all the emotions that have emerged, all the unusual and positive events, but also all the places where negative emotions and stress appear.
In this way, through this analysis, you can accurately determine which things are right for you, and which are harmful and you want to reduce them or completely reject them. For example, that day you drank coffee with a friend, and suddenly you had a headache, fatigue, and a negative set of thoughts. What would that mean for you?
I would say that if this is something that is repeated, it is likely that this person is toxic to you and it would be good to avoid him. If it’s not something that happens continuously, then check if the conversation mentions something that may have caused such a reaction.
Тhis is just one example, but I think it is sufficient to understand the importance of writing a diary. The best way to self-analyze is precisely this technique, although it can be entirely subjective. Therefore, make a weekly analysis of the written, by making sure you read the diary as a third person.
I will offer an exciting way of analyzing the diary. Read it as a third person every week, but write down on one sheet of paper all the emotions you encounter in the journal. How many positive emotions there are, as opposed to the negative ones. What emotions prevail? What is your dominant vibration? When you spit this, I believe that self-analysis will become much easier. What can I do to get better? What is great in my life?
Find a support group
If you can’t afford therapy, you can provide a good company. I love support groups, although there aren’t much in the country where I live, and I don’t have a lot of experience with them.
Why? The members in a support group provide help, support and usually, they share their coping mechanisms. That way they all feel empowered, and they establish social networks. There is one great thing in the support group, and that is the fact that they can be online.
There is not much evidence how much these online support groups help, but for sure they are great for providing a sympathetic understanding and relating personal experiences. I would love to open a support group online, but I still don’t have much time with a baby at home. If I do, I will let you know to join.
Self – help books, blogs and motivational videos
I put these all together because they all have the same purpose. Books, blog posts and videos are here to inform you, to educate you and to motivate you. Some people love to read, some to watch, and some to listen. If you like to read, focus on self-development blogs, self-care books, and websites. If you are a more visual person, watch motivational and self-help videos, and if you love to listen, you can always listen to audiobooks.
I have to share that this is for me the most effective way for personal development, but also motivation, self-love, and change. But every person is different, and I can not say with certainty that this way will be the best for you too. I have experience with a client who was listening to motivational videos and came into a state of neurosis, which had to be resolved with therapy. Having in the background this experience, I must tell you to be careful with all the techniques you take on yourself, and therefore the first step in this post is to do everything in your power to find free therapy.
Of course, this is a rare extremity that has happened, and to a person who takes little care of himself, but in the next steps I will explain and propose a few things that you need to do in order to help yourself.
Something I noticed is that after reading a good book, I change the look of life. So when I started my psychotherapy studies, after the first book, I changed my entire worldview. And it is interesting how every subsequent one was complemented and continued to evolve and shape my character and view of things. After a certain period, I made a pause with my studies, and I began to read books on motivation, self-therapy, self-love, building a positive attitude, positive thoughts, changing thoughts, changing wrong beliefs, etc.
Precisely these books, when connected with my previous knowledge as a psychologist and student of psychotherapy, completely changed my life.
To be more explicit, I had the knowledge and practice that I did not know how to apply to myself.
Classical literature on psychology and psychotherapy focused me on observation, overemphasis, client affection, focusing on the problem, attempting to capture defensive mechanisms, etc. In the whole circle, I totally forgot to love myself and to make my life cheerful.
I do not say that the focus of those books is on the negative aspects, on the contrary, the initial goal of the therapy itself is to strengthen the client’s capacities, to understand the weaknesses and to achieve well-being. But, like many other things in life, more attention is paid to the bad, the negative, the painful, etc., rather than on the good aspects.
I do not know if you find yourself in this category, but I noticed how much more I pay attention to the negative aspects. I think that’s because I’m a perfectionist (although I’ve been working on the case for over seven years). When I started reading motivational books, books on positive psychology, habits of successful and happy people, I realized that I had forgotten myself completely.
How can I help my clients and guide them when I am very little motivated, moody and definitely dominated by negative emotions in my everyday life. I also saw this by writing a diary where I measured my feelings for a certain period.
Some of my favorite personal development books:
Some of my favorite YouTube Channels:
These are the key things you can apply as a self-therapy. But, I have already mentioned before, only these things are never sufficient to fully recover and change for the better. I like the holistic approach in any field, especially in therapy. It would mean that living only in our head is not sufficient. I want to emphasize the care of our body, and not focus on the soul and the mind alone.
This is what I forgot about constantly while I was practicing for a psychotherapist. I always wondered, should I look good as a therapist? And the answer was always YES.
What then can you do more? I will devote the next part to some things that are often forgotten. It has been proven that some things hang out positively for us, our hormonal balance and well-being.
We are all individual creatures, and we have different needs, desires, and goals in life. That is the reason there are so many types of psychotherapy, various schools and psychology courses, different fitness programs, sports, dances, music, flavors, etc. There is no fit for everyone.
Try to live outside your head
Sometimes, the best solution is to try not to think of all that bothers you. I know it’s terribly hard to get rid of thoughts from a problem or thought that had bothered you for a long time, but fortunately, there are more ways to achieve this. All these activities are helpful to include them in the plan, so you don’t forget them.
When you live outside of your head, enlightenment can occur. What? Yes, when you learn from time to time to live outside of your head, you will feel what it means to be here and now, to be present.
If that presence leads you to cry, you cry. Do not collect everything in yourself, and when you try to stubbornly think, it is very often that these tears appear as a sign that they really weigh you down. Crying is healthy, necessary and useful for mental health.
When I mentioned at the beginning that you have to give yourself time, I think that you should give yourself time to cry, to allow yourself to regret, to grieve, and to be in a depressed mood.
I know that this advice is being heard continuously, and it is one of my most hated when I hear it. But when I say to exercise, I do not mean just on classical membership in the gym. I mean any sport, and it would be even more fun if it’s a social sport where you will not be alone.
My favorite activity for relaxing my mind and body is a walk by the water. I’m lucky to live close to a river, so when the weather is nice, I want to spend time there. The sound calms down and gives me inspiration. Find a place to take walks; fast walking is a great exercise and much more effective than exhausting training. Also, picnic, hiking, swimming, skiing, they are all beautiful ways of exercise, and they are also fun.
Take care of your health
Having a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, creating healthy habits. All these things are well known, and there is no need to write much on this topic. What matters to you are two things:
First one is to reduce alcohol, or completely quit it. I do not consume alcohol, it’s a psychotropic substance, and nobody can convince me that it is not. When I went to practice in the final year of college, I spent one week in a place for addicts. What alcohol makes to the addict, the family and the environment is terrible. What is most tragic, he can not give up and save himself because of the very reason that everyone around him drinks.
Alcohol is not desirable when you are not stable psychologically, and therefore it’s best to avoid it. Both, alcohol and other psychotropic substances, of course. This is not the time to seek an excuse of the type “I was drunk”; on the contrary, this is a time of consciousness and spirituality.
The second significant thing is to receive vitamin D, Omega 3, and vitamin B. Vitamin B6 is soothing, and many studies have proven its effectiveness. There is plenty of vitamin D in fatty fish like salmon, beef liver and egg yolks. Use the good weather and the sun whenever you are able.
I have already spent a lot of energy on writing about self-love. One of the more popular posts is Why it’s so hard to love yourself, so I explained there the reasons for this, and I advise you to read that post. Here I will not write much of the ways that you can care for yourself because I also have another post for compelling ideas to practice self-love.
The only thing I would recommend is to choose one day each week to dedicate on yourself only. That day let yourself be lazy, make a pedicure, a manicure, a new hairstyle, a massage, a spa or whatever comes to your mind. Many times when I feel bad, I just want a good massage and pedicure. Somebody to work for me. I need relaxation.
Try alternative methods
I have already mentioned that there are many types of psychotherapy, and there is a good reason for that. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, and as time passes and I gain more experience, I realize that a mix of several different therapy schoolings would be perfect for every client. Each period carries different needs, each client has different requirements, and each therapy has its own specific goal. That’s why I want to encourage you to explore and learn.
There are many techniques that you can apply yourself, which I believe will be very useful. I will list a few who come to mind, but there are many others, and that’s why I want to encourage you to explore more. I am pleased to live now when I can learn, but also share my knowledge with others. You can find everything on the online.
In the first place, I will put minimalism as a technique, or way of life to try out. Clear your physical space. I remember, in the second year of my college, I had an excellent teacher in developmental psychology. I say excellent because she regularly shared personal experiences, and that’s the best way for me to learn.
That professor shared that when she began to attend therapy, she regularly dreamed of how she is cleaning her house. After a while, she realized that in the dream she is “cleaning” her mind and soul. This is something I would always recommend. Living with less is living with more.
Тhis year I’m working on the case to apply it to my whole family. It’s not easy to be a minimalist with a baby and a husband who has 20 pairs of trainers, but I believe I will be able to knock off other things.
Other things I want to recommend and leave you to explore more are music therapy, art therapy, yoga, meditation, and aromatherapy.
Of course, there are many other alternative methods that you can use, but these are the ones that I remembered. I am sure that if you apply all these steps your life will change for the better. I hope everything will be fine, and you will be able to overcome the crisis, but do not forget to continue to take care of yourself.