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Chapter 1 - Self-help: What is it?Chapter 2 - Understanding the Nature of your ProblemChapter 3 - Overview of Bio-Psycho-Social TheoriesChapter 4 - Meeting Basic NeedsChapter 5 - Changing Behavior and ThoughtChapter 6 - Changing Your MoodChapter 7 - Changing Your KnowledgeChapter 8 - Changing Your RelationshipsChapter 9 - Changing Your Identity and MotivationChapter 10 - Your Unique Self-Help PlanChapter 11 - Dependency
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Steps in the Self-help Process

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. Updated: Apr 22nd 2016

Bob's problem solving process example shows how a good mental health self-help plan can be arrived at. Bob becomes aware that there is a problem (by paying attention to his feelings), commits himself to solving that problem (by taking responsibility for the problem and making an emotional investment towards solving it), and considers his action options in the light of both his own and his friend's personalities (by performing a self-assessment, and by considering the various alternatives). He chooses the best of the options he generates (selecting the most appropriate actions for meeting his goals) and then finally makes a commitment to himself that he will carry that plan out. He carries through on his intention by actually speaking with his friend later that night. You can use Bob's general pattern for creating a useful self-help plan to create your own self-help plan.

We can further clarify how to create a good self-help plan by describing each step in the planning process in some detail. We encourage you to use these steps in planning your own self-help efforts; these steps will help you to make sure that your self-help efforts have the best chance of producing good results for you.

Decide whether to seek professional help or to pursue self-help.  Before you launch into a self-help process, you need to know that self-help is an appropriate means of addressing your issues. Self-help is not appropriate as a means of treatment when you are dealing with serious illness, or when you have reason to believe your judgment may be compromised. It is a more appropriate path to pursue when you are dealing with less serious, non-life-threatening conditions.


Reader Comments
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I am bipolar - Jim - May 2nd 2009

Ok now for instance...My problem now is like ive said before that I am bi polar and how the marijuana helps i think and like my problem which is depressing me and and putting me in a bad mood is sister in law in redoing her bathroom and she asked me to install her floor as a favor for no money or anything and I said ok. So now she was in working in her bath room and took all the wall paper off and now it needs all new drywall, then finish the drywall, some minor plumbing work and minor electrical work and I have not been smoking for about 3 days now and im edgy about the whole situation because I feel that I am put in this situation and the only way for it to come out good is it smoke a little marijuana because I would do it, I would want to do it cause I like doing things for other people when I am medicated, but im trying not to smoke but it is not working and I feel like if I dont im going to end up looking bad if I would say something to her about it.... So what would be a solution to these circumstances for me to come out not being depressed because if i do not smoke and do it ill be all pissed off the whole time about and if i open up  about it ill feel like im the bad guy and be depressed and if I would just medicate myself I would have no problem with helping her out feeling even better in the long run.

decisions - - Apr 26th 2009

Yes the decision to self help or profesional help is a hard one to make. I hate who I am and don't see how I can improve. I am hoping to find some reasonable problem solving advice on this site.

Counselor - Rafael Rosado, MSW - Apr 10th 2008
I find this site extremely helpful and informative.  I use it at work to review concepts before meeting with my clients.  I also find the explanations are simple and clear which helps translating complex information, into words that are easy to understand. Thank you very much! 

This website is extremely helpful - Diana Nelson - Mar 9th 2007

Thank you so much for providing this website. I have included it in my bookmarks. I have a mental health website with the goal to assist illiterate and undereducated mentally ill people at


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