Can’t Afford Therapy? Try Reading!

by Lat Nayar

Yesterday, I heard the word “therapy” thrice. Which would have been unusual had I not heard it twice two days ago. A friend mentioned it as a possibility for some problems she was facing.

“What problems?” I asked, curious as always. It turns out she had problems communicating with her son. Therapy might help, she said.

I heard about ‘therapy’ also on a Facebook post. This means I read ‘therapy’ then heard it in my mind. This time it wasn’t the post writer that was looking for therapy. He felt someone obnoxious desperately needed it.

As for the the third mention, well, let’s drop it for now. I think we get the picture.

Many of us say “therapy” whenever we mean “problem-solving”. As in “this could sure use some therapy” instead of “let’s solve this problem”.

I used to say this too. Out of habit or frustration. It had pleasant ring to it, a sign of seriousness. In a weird way, it even made me feel slightly better to say it, even if I never followed through on it.

I don’t want therapists around the world to hate me (who does?). Sometimes, therapy does indeed help.

But many times, it doesn’t or not fully.

Many problems, issues and knotty questions come from within us. The sum total of our thoughts, feelings and experiences. Add in a volatile mixture of ego and conditionings. Sprinkle a dose of someone else’s personal recipe of inner imbalances and voila! Our problems and issues are born.

Imagine getting someone else to untangle it. It takes time and effort. Money too. Why not do some untangling ourselves? Through meditation, introspection, quiet reflection. Too difficult? Try reading.


Not the tortuous forced reading of school days. Voluntary, willing reading. Good books, great books written by people who cared enough about something to write about it and share it with the world.

It doesn’t even matter if they are books in the self-improvement genre. It can be fiction, biography, humor, essays. Stories and experiences distilled in time. Shared wisdom.

Little books that lift the spirit. Try “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint- Exupéry and “Jonathan Livingstone Seagull” by Richard Bach.

Sweeping sagas of good and evil. Try “Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R.Tolkien and the Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling.

Inspiring autobiographies, memoirs and biographies of people who struggled and lived to share their experiences. Or died in the struggle. Try “Long Walk to Freedom” by Nelson Mandela and “Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank.

Delightful animal stories — fiction or memoir. Try “All Creatures Great and Small” and other books by James Herriot and the Brer Rabbit stories (American folktales).

Children’s books that are timeless in their sense of adventure. Try the “Famous Five” series by Enid Blyton and the “William” series by Richmal Crompton.

Mystery and whodunits that thrill and engross. Try “Murder on the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie and “The Talented Mr Ripley” by Patricia Highsmith.

Funny or tragic writings of love. Try “Love in the Time of Cholera” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and “Sophie’s Choice” by William Styron

Classic self-improvement books that motivate and teach. Try “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie and “Acres of Diamonds” by Russell Conwell.

Books make us laugh or cry and sometimes both.

Books teach us things.

Books make us remember the childlike joys we left behind. And in remembering, we embrace once again our own sweet innocence.

Books take us out of ourselves. Books bring us deep into ourselves.

And by that, we learn to understand who we are. We learn to take action. We learn to solve problems.

Can’t afford (or don’t want) therapy? Try Reading!

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