How to Turn around Negative Self-Talk


Self-talk follows us wherever we go.

What do you think when you read the message on this shirt?

One of the first take-aways might be: “what a positive message!”

And yeah, it is a great message to send to kids. Having dreams and aspirations is an important thing.

But if you’re reading this, you’re probably not a child. You’re a full-grown adult that’s been through some stuff. And seeing something like this on a shirt might cause you to have different reactions.

Depending on where you’re at, it might cause you to say, “yeah right”. Or “that’s not true”. You could feel jaded by life and not about positivity right now.

I get it.

When your relationships aren’t going well or you’re not feeling jazzed about your job, you don’t exactly feel like doing a back flip. And who could blame you?

Sometimes when we mess up in a relationship or make a bad decision, we hear an inner voice scold us.  This inner voice can also be referred to as self-talk.

I know you’re nodding along with me. Even if you look like you’ve got it all together, you have an inner voice, too. It’s usually the voice of someone who influenced us as a child. I almost said, “it’s someone who cared for us”, but if you hear this voice call you a “loser”, that’s not exactly “care”, is it?

Let’s face it…if you grew up in a certain era where positive messages weren’t emblazoned on children’s clothing (if you were born before the 70s or 80s, you definitely get where I’m coming from), you might have heard stuff about “tough love” or being told “you should be seen and not heard”.

Most people today approach parenting differently. Not everywhere or every family, but there’s more of an acknowledgement that harsh words from a parent can wreak havoc on us well into our adulthood.

This so-called internalized voice might have once been a critical parent or a mean teacher who put you down. And as you grew up, you picked up the ball and ran with it.

You’re so eager to please that you absorbed those mean words and save them the effort of saying those things. You just say them to yourself now.

You mess up at work and you criticize your inattention to detail or failure to focus. An argument with your wife can cause you to say you can’t do anything right. You mess everything up.

Sometimes you don’t even realize you do this. That’s how insidious the self-talk is. It’s like bamboo. It seems innocuous and then when you don’t notice, it’s choked your entire yard.

This self-talk or inner voice can be tamed and you don’t have to be victimized by it forever. Once you start to acknowledge its existence, it might be so tempting to dismiss it. But truly listening in and hearing what it tells you and when it starts yapping provides you valuable information.

You might ask yourself whose voice is it? Who spoke that way to you? What was your relationship like with them? Listening to your self-talk might help you work toward developing a different relationship with your inner life. Getting acquainted with what is within yourself also moves you in the direction of better emotional regulation and could also enhance the relationships you have with others.

If now feels like a good time to get the ball rolling, feel free to reach out to me at You might be ready to make some changes in your life. Virtual therapy is available and I am licensed to provide this service to anyone living in New Jersey. While it might not feel like you can do anything, like the shirt says, taking the initiative to make some changes means that you are doing something right.

Online Therapy Can Still Be Pretty Great

Online therapy can really help you right now, especially due to the isolation you are feeling. The stress of the months-long quarantine has taken a toll on your life in so many ways. Juggling your job, the strain of virtual school for your children, and the tension in your relationship…those are just a few things causing clients to reach out and call for help.

When this initially began back in March, I anticipated staying home and doing online therapy through the summer and then return to my physical office in September. But as time has gone on, that timeline has been revised.

Perhaps you have been waiting until therapists are fully back in their offices before you made an appointment. Doing therapy on a computer is not the same, you’ve noted. I like to be in the room with someone, is something else you’ve probably said. If it makes you feel any better, most of my colleagues and I feel the same way. We miss the energy in the room and being able to pick up on subtle body language cues.

And you’re right. It’s not the same. But not the same doesn’t necessarily mean it’s all bad.

One of the advantages of online therapy is that you don’t need to leave your house. No need to plan out how you’re going to go to and from an office. I don’t even care if you shower or if you’re wearing grubby old sweats.  It really does not matter at all.  All you need is an internet connection for an online appointment so we can even have a session if you’re in your parked car or outside in a private space.

Another positive thing about online appointments is that you might even feel more open because you are more comfortable being in your own place.

So…how does it work?

If you are interested in meeting with me, we’ll have a brief phone or video consultation to ensure that I’m a good fit. If the issues you are struggling with are not within my area of expertise, I will provide you with referrals to trusted colleagues. In our consultation, you might tell me a little about what is happening in your life.  I will give you information about what to expect. You will receive an email containing a link to my online patient portal.  And finally, I will also provide you a link to my virtual office when we make an appointment time.

When we do meet, you and I will talk as if we were together in the office. Sometimes it requires a little bit of patience because the technology isn’t always on our side. I try to be as flexible as I can in that moment and I hope you do the same.

It is my hope that clients I see virtually can return to my physical office in Livingston. However, my clinical license allows me to work with clients anywhere in New Jersey.

If you have any questions about the process or how we can work together, feel free to reach out. You can reach me at 201-248-5552 or at