What is the best advice your therapist has given you?

I’m fortunate enough to work with a really great therapist who has offered me tons of useful advice in our time together. I’m curious what advice other brains have found useful, meaningful, or effective from therapists in the past. Could you share below? Maybe some of the advice will be useful to others. Maybe this can be a parking lot for good ideas.

Here are some of the things I’ve kept written down from my therapist:

  • “It’s okay to ask for what you need even if you don’t get what you need.”
  • “An imperfect process can still be a good process.”
  • “When you think about the ‘What ifs,’ most of them usually don’t happen.”
  • No matter how much you plan, you can’t predict what will happen. Be prepared to cope with whatever comes your way. And if you can’t, it’s okay to ask for help.
  • “Discomfort is a part of life.”
  • No one person is enough to stop someone else’s storm.
  • Sometimes it’s not about being smart, it’s about making your heart happy.
  • “You may never let it go.”
  • Sometimes quicker isn’t better.
  • “Sometimes the distance between the head and the heart is a million miles.”
  • “You can’t stop loving someone on purpose.”
  • The life you had before the trauma is over. There is no going back. Your new life will look different.
  • “Forgiveness will come down the road, but for you, not for her.”
  • “You have two choices: You can be at peace with it or you can be resentful.”
  • It’s okay to have negative thoughts. What matters is what you do with them next.
  • It’s okay to be the right kind of selfish.

Hope maybe some of that can help! If you have questions about the context of any specific one, please let me know!


I think you covered everything I would of said.


“No, I don’t think you would be a good therapist either.”
“Why didn’t she offer to move down there with you, instead of you moving up there with her, such that you had to do all the accommodating to her lifestyle and career?”
“You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to do it. Most people actually WANT to go to their jobs because they VALUE the trade-off – work for money – that it provides them. If you aren’t getting enough benefit from that trade-off, then stop behaving as though you have to go to that workplace anyway. Clearly they haven’t paid you enough to coax you to want to continue doing the work they assign you. Stop doing it.”
“Most people are not trying as hard as you already are. For them, it’s not half as difficult to get the typical day started, running, and finished. They don’t understand that it’s much harder for you. And you don’t have to judge yourself by their standards. If they say their experience wasn’t all that hard, in fact was rather easy, don’t let them convince you that this is a good reason why your experience should also be similarly easy. You are not them.”

I struggle to remember them all and to continue to apply them to myself. It’s good to re-affirm them often.


Be kinder to your yourself.

Wees milder voor jezelf, is what she actually said. Which also means be less hard on yourself.


“When you panic and hyperventilate, your body doesn’t get enough time to transfer oxygen and carbon dioxide in your lungs. Your blood gets under-oxygenated, which causes physical symptoms like tingly fingers and lightheadedness. That’s why deep breathing helps - the air stays in your lungs longer so you have more time to get the oxygen from it, and to release the carbon dioxide from your blood.”

It’s so much easier to tell myself to “optimise blood gas exchange” than to “CALM DOWN!!!”


On a tangent: I wonder if asthma, and other low-oxygen conditions, have any relation to ADHD? I have clear and well diagnosed Exercise-Induced Asthma, f.e…



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( for the USA )
Something I just found out is that if you have had asthma after age 13, you can’t join the military. Plus, if you’ve been treated for ADHD with medication ( I’m unsure if this only applies to stimulants ) within the past year, you also can’t serve. Same thing for if the medical examiner notes “Significant distractibility or impulsivity”.

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“Give yourself time and try to be patient”

Last year, I had a burnout, then I recovered in 5 months, I started working, I got diagnosed, I move on, but not as fast and as wild as I want.

So this is my one and only mantra :slight_smile:


Positive reframing: instead of dreading the negative consequences of a situation and being paralyzed with anxiety, how can you train yourself to be motivated by the potential rewards/positive outcomes to be gained from it?

Still struggle with it, but it was invaluable and really helps


I’ll add a new one that’s been helpful recently. My therapist and I were discussing some challenges I had dealing with someone who required a lot of emotional support and I was feeling overwhelmed and at times frustrated:

“This isn’t all that she is.”

It was a good reminder to me that when you’re with someone it’s easy to start to see them as their problem or their mood or their current behavior. It’s worthwhile to step back and remember it’s only a part of who they are. And hopefully the whole person is someone you value and who you want to be part of your life. Give people permission to be who they are and make sure that you don’t lose sight of the good things when the bad seem to take the focus for now.


Another new one:

“You can’t stop caring about someone completely. If you did, that would mean it didn’t matter.”

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Another new one:

“Once you make a decision, you’ll never know the other side.”

Basically, obsessing over whether or not a certain decision is “right or wrong” may not be helpful in the long run. You’ll never actually be able to know what would have happened if you had decided the other thing. It’s better to make a choice and deal with the consequences, and know that you have the ability to make more choices after that. You’re not destined to deal with consequences of a decision forever.

This came up when I was trying to figure out how to help my s/o with anxiety and some things she wrestles with.


Related to this one is that often we are deciding between two (or more) good opportunities. So it is not a right/wrong dichotomy at all.

Understanding this was a breakthrough for me, and my therapist was impressed :sweat_smile:


Focus on one thing at a time, and start small.

To start going to the gym - 5 minutes = win! If I’m there and want to do more, great! But I am also giving myself permission to stop after 5 min if I want, and it is still a win.

Eating good - focus on eating good food, even if it is prepackaged/take-out, and costs more money. Eat the food, feed your brain, and gradually start bringing more of my own.

One of the biggest things I struggle with is creating momentum, so making something really small, so it feels easier to start, has been incredible for me.


To talk about my challenges and then a strategy will appear by it selves.