Learning Self-Talk & Self-Soothing in Therapy | Austin, TX

July 15, 2016

Dr. Charlotte Howard, a psychologist at Deep Eddy Psychotherapy in Austin, TX, talks about self-talk and self-soothing and how that plays into building deeper relationships with ourselves and the world around us.

 

Having a Relationship with Yourself

We undeniably have a relationship with our self, so it’s not a cheesy concept–we talk to ourselves all the time. Kind, encouraging messages to ourselves might feel uncomfortable, but we need a counter to our mind’s natural tendency to go to the negative when it wanders. It’s just the reality that we relate to ourselves internally, but we’re going to be happier if we have a healthy relationship with ourself, and nurturance is part of a healthy relationship. We need to learn how to be gentle and merciful with ourselves and be able to give ourselves the messages that help us feel good and perform our best in the world. It also helps us be kind to others. Negative self-talk usually just leads to us being irritable, judgmental, and impatient.

How do you develop that practice of positive self-talk?

It takes practice to learn how to nurture yourself in that way. One way to learn is through having it modeled by healthy relationships with others. I think that’s the main goal of therapy is having someone relating to you in a patient, curious, nonjudgemental way–helping you to explore. That loving way of being with you becomes internalized over time. Some of my clients will have my voice in their heads for a while and then it helps soothe them and then it transitions to be a part of who they are and how they treat themselves. That goes back to how we learned it in the first place, which is by having a good loving parent during childhood who is mirroring back our feelings and being patient and curious with us. That becomes internalized in a child and becomes a loving, healthy relationship with yourself. A lot of us didn’t get that so we have to do the hard work of learning that through other relationships later.

It really sounds like it’s important to have somebody that you can model after in terms of how they relate to you, and a therapist can provide that modeling of a healthy relationship with yourself for you until you are able to develop that with yourself?

Yeah, it’s easier to learn through another person.

Starting Therapy in Austin, TX

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