I am a huge fan of behavioral applications. There are thousands of them we can use for all aspects of behavioral health. We can monitor our exercise, our calories, anxiety and depression symptoms. We can use them to maintain our wellness regimen and even keep track of people we can call when we are feeling suicidal. So, why go to therapy at all? Why can’t we just load up our applications and follow the instructions given.
People actually do that. Individuals have called crisis lines or reached out to others as the result of an application prompt. Apps are great reminders when we are ready and able to listen to them.
This is where hearing ourselves speak to others come in. I can load an app and really want to change, but sometimes I don’t feel confident I can do so or I’m just not ready. What talk therapy provides, especially one that offers facilitation and focus, is an opportunity to hear oneself speak. This is important as we are more likely find solutions within ourselves and commit to change when we are speaking out loud. Additionally, a skilled therapist can help us focus on potential goals and summarize our thoughts so we don’t fall off course and end up more overwhelmed than when we start.
To consider the important of speaking out loud, try the following exercise. This is based on a discussion of the importance of talking with others on page 168 of Motivational Interviewing; Helping People Change, 3rd Edition by William Miller and Stephen Rollnick (2013, Guilford)
Consider something you would like to change…. Now imagine….
Thinking it silently to oneself Writing it down Looking in the mirror and saying the words aloud Saying the words to someone else
What do you think? Try it and notice the difference between having your thoughts on the inside vs. sharing with others.