I thought you might enjoy and benefit from reading some of the many letters I’ve received.
Every letter you find here is essentially “as received.”
The only changes I made are small grammatical changes,
changes related to protecting confidentiality,
and the occasional bold typeface.
The people who wrote these letters have given permission for me to put them here.
Names and other identifying information have been changed.
(Check Back Once In A While To See If You’ve Read The Latest…)
A Student’s Experience
I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate what your site has done for me I the last couple of months.
I was going through a very difficult time and was searching for answers anywhere I could find them and stumbled upon your site.
I printed all the self help topics that pertained to my problem and also some others that I thought could help me in general. I also went to a therapist and between your positive outlook and approach to things and my therapy sessions I began to feel a lot better.
I still pull out some of the topics and read over them occasionally when I begin to feel myself slip or sometimes I read them just because they make me feel better.
Thanks for providing such a great service to me on the Internet and thanks a million for getting me pointed back in the right direction with my life.
Hey there Tony and G’day,
I am Glenda from Australia, and I felt moved to write because your site is GREAT. Thank you so, just what I needed to find!
I am printing a copy of the “Self Love” page to stick up on my wall to remind me to do the work. Also, I dug the “Subconscious Life Script” page MUCH.
Anyway, just wanted to say thanks so.
Bye for now, Glenda from Australia
Later, Glenda also wrote:
I LOVED the Guidelines page. Your suggested guidelines for emotional health are now MY guidelines for living life.
Thank you so!
Simple and straightforward, yet so … empowering! Great tools for working it all out.
Reviewed Many Psychology Sites
I used a popular search program, “Copernic 2000”, which goes through every conceivable search engine in the pursuit of what you want. In this case, I typed in the words “Free Therapy”. Of the hundred sites that came up, yours was the only one that actually contained useful, free information.
As a recovering survivor of what could be called an absolutely crappy childhood (no details, I’m not paying ya :>), your advice is helping me out quite a bit. Reading even some of the sentences is hard sometimes because I’m not used to being able to think that clearly about myself. Together, with breath exercise, meditation, and weight lifting (east meets west, eh?), your free advice has started helping me to help myself.
Please continue with your articles – the Internet (and my sore psyche) needs your help!
Salud, sir. Gene
Much Therapy Experience
Hi, I am a nearly 30 year old woman who has had her fair share of therapy (depression/anorexia nervosa in my late teens/early 20’s.) I have always been aware of my irrational thought processes and slowly, over the past few years, have come to love and respect who I am, and make all the changes necessary for me to reach this desired level of happiness. I love to learn about myself and usually walk away from all my experiences having learned even more.
There are many self-help sites out there, but I find yours to be one of the best and most helpful. It reflects what I have been feeling throughout my journey. I hope everyone who happens upon it gains something. : ) Please continue to add new information to your site.
A Human Behavior Researcher
I wanted to say your pages are incredible. I did a semester on “Love and Life- the labyrinth of relationships “- when I was in undergrad. (My degree is in Human Behavior). A lot of my research is wrapped up in your essays. I’m impressed.
Thank you. – Margaret
Tony, I have read almost every page on your site www.helpyourselftherapy.com and I value this web site tremendously! This is the most accurate, directly helpful therapy site I have seen, and it’s all in plain English!
Every now and then I have a question about psychology and wonder about myself, and it would be nice if I could fire them off to somebody like you who I respect and who could answer them in amyl. What would you charge for this? I don’t want to enter into regular therapy, but just get a few questions answered. I’ll take up regular therapy here in person.
[I told Jerry that this is one of the main reasons I offer E-mail Advice. Some people write occasionally. Some people write often. It’s up to each person. The cost is “a buck a minute” for my typing, and the average letter costs about $15.00…]
I just want to say thank you for putting this advice on the web for free. I’m in anguish, and needed some good advice. (I have a professional to talk to as well.) Today, I’m in real pain and your words have helped. Thanks. Jack
She Sends Her Friends and Reads Topics Out Loud
DEAR Tony–this is how I feel about you–I’ve thoroughly enjoyed surfing your site for a good hour just now. Thank you. It’s well done; especially the choice of colors for your web page–just constantly basking in these warm hues–uplifted me throughout my pilgrimage. Pouring over your Topics was comforting and soothing at the same time, somehow; I shall return & visit often, no doubt about that.
Life is at times seemingly overwhelming. But now I know of an oasis to which I can seek a virtual haven whenever I need one. P.S.: And I’ve looked at all your pics and they’re GREAT!
In her second letter she wrote:
Tony my friend–if you would grant me the accolade sight unseen–of course go ahead and use my letter, keeping me blessedly anonymous. Since yesterday, I’ve already mentioned your site to a half-dozen people here and there, and friends I dined with earlier this evening.
“How to get the most from this site” is one of the few articles I glanced thru; of course, next time I go back to it, I’ll most probably read out loud. I read this way when I want ideas to resonate or ripple thru my mindscape. Reading out loud, as opposed to silently to myself, enriches the process of visualization by allowing more than just a few feelings to emerge and be identified. (It’s also great for catching typos!)
My name is ______, I am 42 years old and I work as a Medical Researcher in Brazil.
I want to congratulate and tell you that I enjoyed very much the web page -also the pictures. I am going to therapy with a psychologist for about 6 months and most of the councelling I get from my therapist is very much close to what I see in your web page. I find the information an excellent source to answer lots of important questions I still have -and that I try to answer progressively. Thanks a lot!
Best wishes, _______
Abused As A Child, Now Helps Others
I would like to tell you that I have just spent well over an hour at your site! I should be working but your site is so wonderful, I cannot stop reading!
I enjoy learning about myself and have read many self-help books over the years, but none compare to the advice and wisdom of yourself. You are down to earth and no nonsense, but not boringly serious either. Good sound advice and lessons here! I am delighted I *stumbled* upon your site!
I have a lot of issues I deal with (I am in therapy – have been most of my adult life) from a number of childhood abuses.
I am also involved in my first (hopefully, only!) long distance relationship and found, through your site, that I am dealing with both in a healthy way. Sometimes ya gotta see it in print, if you understand what I mean. My therapist keeps telling me I’m healthy and intellectually I know I am, but emotionally I worry!
I intend to read your words of wisdom and truth on a regular basis! Both of my adult children will be receiving an email from me with the url to your site! 🙂
I am a spiritual counselor, manager of a team, and we talk with and help many troubled people daily – your site will be going to my team and any client with an email address!
I love your photo gallery! What a wonderful touch! It makes the whole site so much more personal. And your photo – thank the Gods you look the way you do and not like some stodgy Harvard guy spouting off about the most recent studies! ahaha! You look like a regular guy – what a breath of fresh air!! I’m a sucker for beards! ahaha!
Two Long Letters in Broken English
I’m so glad you write me back; I have been reading your web-site, it have been really helpful
One topic that I’ll like to comment on and share a little experience of my own life with you is: Growing Up Emotionally I complete understand what you mean because of my own experience with my father but the thing is that my father was not unreasonable at all, actually he is one of the most reasonable person I know. When I was 18 years old, he gave me the keys to our house and told me that I was completely responsible for my act and me and only me will pay the consequences of my decisions either good or bad. He said he love me and he will always, and if I need advise I can always come ask him but I will have to made my own decision. Up to this day I thaugh that that was the day I grew up; but after reading Growing Up Emotionally, I have starting to think that it was not it, but the day I have so much of my mother inteference on my own bussiness (life) that I got marry at age 19 and left to another country that might be the day that I really grew.
I live with my second husband now and the last 2 years have been full of mayor changes on both of us; but with the help of good friends and oustanding web-site like yours I’m pretty sure we’ll grow over the actual circunstances and come out stronger and healtier. Thank You very much. Your web-site is greatly appreciated.
I wrote back and, among other comments, asked her if I could use her letter here. She wrote again to say:
Sure You can use my letter Tony, If it can help someone, that will be a wonderfull thing.
I’ll continue to read and learn from your web-site; and if you like I’ll share with you how it’s helping me and of course you can use my letters, if you thing it will help others.
I print some of your work and try to share with my husband; but he completely refuse to read any, or seek counseling of any kind. I know that I have many defects and most of the time, I let my feelings lead my way; I cry to easy; and my husband can make me cry with just a few words; but after reading HANDLING CRITICISM; I discover that it’s mainly because he knows my weak points very well and his constant critics have been biting off my self-esteem; for example: I lost my job of 22 years, and move to USA to join my husband, I use to have oustanding performace award every year; but after been just 3 weeks with him, I start feeling that I couldn’t do anything right. I found a temporary job for one year and did real good at it, them I decide I’ll like to go back to college. My husband first said ok, them said no way, I said I’ll work part time but he still didn’t want me to go; then he said I didn’t know enough english and I will not understand, well 2 days ago, I did the test to enter college, I made points way above average and way more than I needed to enter, well when he came home and I show him my score we got real angry and start saying that I never understand what he said and don’t ever follow his directions, and start calling me names; I went to bed crying and feeling that I was indeed stupid; that was before I read your web-site; next day I surf the net looking for a support group in my area and I found your site; today I had another disagrement wih my husband but instead of going to sleep crying, I came to see my mail and start writing this letter, I already feel better;
He’s taking about divorce and that I’ll get no money, but guess what, at this point I’m not cryng or feeling bad about it; I do worry about it mainly because we have a 7 years old boy and I already have a teenage from my previous marriage, that I left wih my parents last years when I came to join him, and it was because my 15 years old that I first went to see a psychiatric, but if something I have learn since that, is that the kid was not needing it as much as I was. I remember the psychiatric told us (me and my father) that we need to put our own oxigen mask first before we even try to put it to the child. At this point I thing that my father and myself that are the ones seeking mental health are the ones in better shape and my mom and my husband that are the ones that refuse to get any kind of help are the ones that need it the most, but if I understand it right, I can only persude it for myself, if the other want to come alone good for all, if not those that want to change have to go ahead and enjoy!
THANK YOU and soory for writting so long letter.
A John Bradshaw Fan
I wanted to tell you that your web-site; i.e. your writings are just excellent. I know you must help an awful lot of people by virtue of your experienced writing.
John Bradshaw was for me, the beginning of a long way home, and when I come upon someone like yourself, who is very dedicated to helping others see their own truths, it makes me feel like there is real hope for this planet!
Thank you for your effort!
[Note: John Bradshaw is a noted therapist, author, and lecturer. He’s perhaps best known for his work regarding alcoholism but he is widely known in various areas of therapy.]
As A Brief Marriage Ends
Thank you for writing to me at my Self-Therapy site! I have had a significant change in my life that I find I for once am dealing with it rationally. I am divorcing my wife of 3 years. I had to really come to grips with what was right for me.
Even though I wanted to believe that this situation would pass and all would be back to normal. I have practiced what you have shared on some of the self help topics that you have on your web site. I have learned to acknowledge the pain from betrayal, and my significant decision to end my barrage.
Being realistic for once about a situation in my life and taking action is very rewarding for me. I realize that I have every right to take care of myself and that I have very real values and that I do have valid standards and will not be treated like this. It has only taken me 50 years to get to this point and I am excited about it. The change has been a long process for me. I have been going to counseling for about 9 years and I have experienced many different life changing habits. It is good to know that you can break a bad cycle in your life and realize a healthy, wholesome life.
I appreciate your web site because it gives me an opportunity to learn more about changes that I still have to make and I am like a sponge. My goal is to change all of the unhealthy habits in my life that has prevented me from enjoying who I really am. What an adventure. This time in my life has had its sad moments, its pain, uncertainly, anger, confusion., But thanks to therapists such as you who have offered tools for life, that make a lasting difference in your life. I choose to change and live. I do not have time to live in the garbage that I did for years.
Thanks for your time.
A Therapist Who Sends His Clients
This site is a God Send. I use it in my practice.
I bookmark pages to my clients which allows them to see that
1) They did not invent their issues, translation, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
2) The site gives them a cognitive life raft while they are doing the hard work of discovery!
Thank You so much,
Operates A European Internet Directory
Congratulations, Tony, this is the _very_ best site I’ve seen since the dawn of the internet, when I started my directory site. Very informative, direct, honest and _very_ human. Best wishes for your continued good work!
[I wrote “Ld” back, to thank him for his kind words and to ask if I could some day use his letter here. He then responded by saying:
Of course you may use my comments, I stand by them!
I was so pleasantly surprised to find a site of quality and in the true (original) spirit of the internet (cooperation). Your site is a shining gem in an environment, hijacked by commercialism, where the only motivation seems to be money and how much one can extract from punters. Found your site through a link on metanoia.org, whilst researching on-line counselling for a psychotherapist friend. She too was most impressed by your accessible style. Should I ever be reticent of, or fail to enjoy my changes, I’ll know where to come for some straight advice. With the very best wishes to you and your forthcoming book Ld
P.S. Your site will be added to my directory site at __________________.
From A While Ago…
I don’t know if you remember me but I used up a couple of ‘free email counseling’ sessions with you a couple of years ago (time goes by way too fast). I re-read them once in a while and they really hit home.
I am just writing because I always meant to, you sounded very sincere. In those 2 letters you made me feel a lot better about myself and I wanted to thank you.
One day I will able to afford it a little more and would like start the dialogue up again – but until then, I wanted to let you know I really appreciated your words.
Note: I seldom do completely free e-mails anymore, although the first letter is still “almost free.” I frequently change my policy on this, based on how busy I am…
You really helped me this week!
Can’t remember where I read this – somewhere on “your site” but you said something about suicide. You said that wanting to kill yourself is like walking around with someone that wants to kill you 24 hrs aday!! That’s me! And I wondered why I’m always so tense!! Thats it! It was a “lightbulb” moment for me! For real!
My dad committed suicide a few years ago and my grandmother did also. It’s been with me as long as I can remember. But that one statement really made me realize what I’ve been doing. I’ve been with this “killer” for so long! No More!!
I sat down and promised myself that I Won’t do it! I can “change the channel” as my husband says when I want to! I CAN choose too!!
Thank you so very very much – again- you have helped me tremendously ! Hugs, Charlotte
A One Liner…
Keep it up, yours is a light in a world of darkness.
I just wanted to tell you how much I agree with your ideas on talking with yourself.
As an adult survivor of child sexual abuse I really had a lot of negative thoughts implanted in me by my abusers. Now days when I hear myself talking negative in my head, I stop myself. Then, just as you suggested, I find the source of it and turn the negative into a positive and tell it to myself over and over. I feel so much better because of this that it’s amazing.
Of course lots of therapy has helped with my journey!!! I had a lot of other issues besides negative self-talk to work on in my life. But for me, learning to change my inner opinions of myself really helped to put all the pieces of my life in perspective and heal from my past.
Keep up the good work!!! I truly enjoy your site!!!!
Another Therapist Who Might Do Online Work
I loved your site! I’ve been reading a lot about you in NASW News and other publications, and thought it was time to check all of this out. I am impressed. Your philosophies are so near and dear to my own.
I have not stooped to marketing myself or my practice, nor do I cow-tow to managed care – confidentiality is too precious. Even your comments about repaying your co-worker… I, for free, mentor others in beginning their own private practices…
Been toying with the idea of doing net therapy. Checked out a few. Yours is, by far, the most professional, warm, safe, and authentic sight so far. Keep up the faith in healing and correspond if you like.
After The Free Letters…
Part of her letter to me:
“I do hope to be back in touch. I find writing about things to be a very focusing experience for me. E-mail advice has a lot of benefits — I can work on correspondence on my own time, it’s easier to be completely honest when you don’t have to deal with the potential embarrassment of a face to face discussion, and I can go back to reread what was said instead of relying on being able to recall things later. Of course, you miss the nonverbal cues, so it would be harder for you. If you manage to reach people who wouldn’t be willing to do “live” counseling, then you’re doing a good thing. Keep up the good work. I’m sure you’ve been a blessing to a lot of people.”
Part of my response:
You have a very clear understanding also about the advantages and disadvantages of e-mail advice… One added advantage: If you save the correspondence, you end up with a “self-help book written just for you” – and it’s written partially BY you…! (I’ve been doing this long enough now to have heard from some people who go back to read previous correspondence and find it very helpful when things get rough…)
Comment: I seldom offer absolutely free e-mail any more. My policy changes depending on how busy I am.
My name is _______. I own a counseling service which focuses on family values. I am just a listening ear for women and particularly for mothers. I try to find answers to any questions they may have and help them to live up to the calling that was given to them by God. I believe motherhood is not only a calling but a wonderful blessing that should be cherished. So that is why I do what I do. So when I came across your web site I knew it was an answer to a prayer. Thank you for your wonderful ministry. It is more valuable than you could ever imagine.
I will look forward to visiting frequently.
Advantages of E-mail Advice
Two paragraphs from a counseling letter:
Thank you for responding to my letter and asking the questions you did. Yes, I am in therapy and I think my counselor has asked me some of the same questions you have but for some reason seeing them in black and white has forced me to think more and then to respond back in black and white… it is so impacting.
I couldn’t see the benefits of e-mail therapy till now. I also wasn’t going to respond with so much self-disclosure as I ended up writing about. Which is another plus to e-mail therapy. I feel the reason I did go into detail is because with face to face therapy the therapist will respond verbally and that will stop the flow of the self-disclosure.
Lots of people feel more “impact” this way, through e-mail advice… usually because when they are with their therapist they are too worried about how they look to the therapist, whether they are being “judged,” the expression on the therapist’s face, etc…. BUT, and this is SO important, I can’t SEE you – so I miss out on body language, sniffles, maybe even long, hard crying, etc…. If all other things are equal (including the therapist’s competence, of course) you are far better off with a therapist you can SEE…!
Having A Bad Time…
Thank you for this web site You have helped me cope tonight. I needed someone to talk to, and you were there. I’m starting your program tonight. I’ll let you know how it goes. Thank you for wiping my tears.
Gulf War Survivor
Your web page is the best I have found! I’m a gulf war vet with PTSD and I’m co-dependent. I am seeing a psychologist for these problems. Your web page has some outstanding information! Thank you!
Took One Of The Tests…
It was Great! It is nice to get feedback analysis from a test that is in response to your personal answers. The advantage of being online is that you are getting the feedback right away and you are not sitting in front of a counselor trying to defend yourself to keep strength of your ego. So often we turn our heads saying: “That is not me!” to people that we deal with. Your approach does not make someone do that….. I look forward to reviewing the results again and I will be looking at the other help guidelines you offer. Thank you, Karen.
A Psychology Student
I am a 26 year old female, studying psychology at the University of _____. Congratulations on a very interesting site! It is providing me with some rewarding tips on everyday life, helps with positive thinking, as well as reinforcing those important “soul” issues which are often left behind in a hurry!
Really Diving In….
I just wanted to say I found your web site by accident today and I have been thoroughly enjoying my time on it the past 3 hours (smiles)! I’ve shared it with a lot of friends already and will continue browsing and soaking up the invaluable information – I am sure that I will be writing to you again at some stage in the near future….
Peace & Love
Almost a Poem….
From someone who wrote only a few times:
“You took an Internet and made it come to life. You added safety and humanity. Showing endless patience, offering an interactive reference point, and genuine interest.
You have contributed greatly to my life.”
Happier Without Her…
Another person who I only exchanged a few letters with, so long ago that I’ve forgotten most of what we talked about, but…
“I was feeling depressed for a while and I didn’t understand why. I met someone a while back and I had been putting a lot into the relationship. What I learned is that I am depressed because she is not putting the equal amount in. I was angry!
I feel better just telling someone.
I think it’s time I let her go.
Success and Self-Therapy….
An old friend and ex-intimate partner sent me via e-mail your topic ” About Love”… and thanked me for showing him how to learn to be emotionally healthy and love one’s self after a devastating divorce experience…. Even though I believe that my emotional health is the strongest and healthiest ever, I also know that it is a full time job to maintain and continue to learn from professionals like you who are willing to share your knowledge and experience.
So thank you for the wonderful web page and incredible self-therapy people can use only if they choose to…”
John Bradshaw and Self-Therapy…
My god what a site!!!!!!!!!!!!! So informative!!! I have been reading a lot of John Bradshaw’s books and and been to one of his lectures, you have given me a totally different insight on human behavior and then some! I have been printing your literature for about 7 hours now. Tomorrow I will read every single word! Keep up the good work! We need your web site!!!
Desperately seeking self-help!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Note: Bradshaw and I actually agree quite a bit…. but, of course, I was glad to hear these kind words regardless.
About the Relationship Analysis Questionnaire…
His first letter…
Thanks for putting this questionnaire on the web. My fiancé and I are trying to plan a wedding but we are going through some tough times. This survey helped me feel that the relationship is not lost.
We have lost the romance in our lives but we are trying to find and rekindle the flame. I disappointed her on an important day and she told me that she had been feeling unattractive at least in my eyes. She is very attractive but I have somehow lost the way of telling her. Last year there was a big celebration for this event but this year only a movie. I now find that she thrives a lot more on expressions of love through gifts like cards and flowers in addition to the time we spend together. Your questionnaire has pointed out my strength and weakness a lot clearer than anyone else has. I’m going to call her and tell her what I’ve done. She will be thrilled and will probably want to do the questionnaire also.
His second letter…
We discussed our relationship woes and admitted to ourselves that we do have some problems. We came up with a plan to keep working the problem and ultimately try to communicate regardless of how upset we become. The time we spent together this weekend refreshed our love for each other and we look forward to our wedding.
Thanks for putting out that survey.
Thank you for providing this web site. It is a lifesaver! It’s much more effective than my shelves of self-help books, or other sites I’ve found. As you say, it isn’t a substitute for face-to-face therapy, but we can’t always afford that. You are helping me to keep on track through this long winter, my depression, and my sweetie’s medication-resistant bipolar disorder.
More Letters Like These ——> Letters #2
Letters with direct advice from me can be found in —–> Counseling Letters