If you're a millennial who browses the self-help section of your local bookstore on a weekly basis, you're not alone. But psychologists warn that hours spent digesting self-help tip after self-help tip can be detrimental.
"Self-help books are incredible resources, but I do think it’s possible to read too many of them," says therapist Nathalie Theodore. "If someone is turning to book after book for guidance, it could mean that they’re not finding the answers they’re looking for, or they’re unable to see outside of their own box. In this case, consulting a therapist for an unbiased perspective might be helpful."
What about therapy? Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D., and author of Better Than Perfect: 7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love, says one downside to therapy is that it can tend to focus on the negative.
"Some types of therapy tend to focus on what is wrong instead of what is right and what you can do," she says. Theodore agrees, noting that patients can become too dependent on their therapists. "The therapy becomes a crutch instead of a tool for personal growth," she explains. "When this happens, the client may feel stuck in therapy because they’re unable to move forward on their own. Ideally, the therapeutic process should help the client feel more confident in dealing with life’s ups and downs and provide coping skills for the client to use outside the therapy room."