How to Use ChatGPT for Self-Therapy, Self-Coaching, and Personal Growth

Here are three different ways I’ve found ChatGPT useful for self-therapy and self-coaching. I have included all prompts and responses, as learning to write good prompts is the main skill in utilizing ChatGPT effectively. (Update: scroll down to the bottom to find my most useful prompt after working with ChatGPT for 2 months.)

1. Ask it questions about why you do what you do.

Prompt examples:

  • Why would I do X?
  • Why would I want X but do Y?
  • Why would I avoid doing X?

Psycho-education is a big part of a therapist’s job: explaining to you how you work. Using ChatGPT for this is just literally asking for information, which you could do in Google, but ChatGPT is just much more efficient at collecting the exact answer to your question.

It tends toward generic answers, so the more specific your question, the more value you’ll probably get. For example…

Why would I repeatedly get into relationships with people I feel like I needed to rescue?

There could be various reasons why someone may repeatedly get into relationships with people they feel like they need to rescue. Here are some possible explanations:

  1. A need to feel needed: Some individuals may feel a sense of fulfillment or validation from being able to rescue or help others. This could stem from a deep-seated need to feel needed or valued, which they may struggle to fulfill in other aspects of their life.
  2. Childhood experiences: Childhood experiences can shape our beliefs and behaviors in adulthood. If you grew up in an environment where you were responsible for taking care of others or were praised for being helpful, you may have developed a pattern of seeking out people who need your help in relationships.
  3. Fear of intimacy: For some individuals, getting into relationships with people they feel like they need to rescue may be a way of avoiding true intimacy. By focusing on the other person’s needs, they can avoid confronting their own emotional vulnerabilities or fears of being close to someone.
  4. Low self-esteem: People with low self-esteem may feel that they are not deserving of healthy, equal relationships. They may instead seek out partners who need their help or who they feel are “beneath” them in some way, as a way to boost their own sense of self-worth.

It’s important to remember that everyone’s reasons for getting into certain types of relationships are unique to them. If you find yourself repeatedly getting into relationships with people you feel like you need to rescue, it may be helpful to explore these underlying reasons with a therapist or trusted friend. This can help you gain a better understanding of yourself and your relationship patterns, and work towards building healthier relationships in the future.

Yup, that is…uncomfortably accurate. šŸ˜³

Keep in mind that the info ChatGPT gives you may be wrong or incomplete. It is just predicting text, so the accuracy really depends on the question and how accurate the information is that it was trained on. Of course, unless you are careful about checking your sources, Google has the same problem. As long as you keep in mind the limits of text-prediction engines, I think this can be a great tool for understanding yourself.

If it is providing you with too generic of a response, direct it to be more divergent like this: “What are some uncommon or non-standard or unusual reasons someone might have that pattern?”

2. Ask it to ask you coaching questions on your specific issue.

Prompt examples:

  • I’m trying to do X, but I feel unmotivated around it. How can I increase my motivation?
  • I have X issue. Please generate some coaching questions that would help me figure it out.

I was struggling with my motivation to write this very article, so I thought I might as well see if ChatGPT could help me with that.

I want to write an article about using ChatGPT for self-therapy because it’s topical, but I’m only mildly interested in it. How could I get more motivated?

As an AI language model, I can suggest a few tips that might help you get more motivated to write an article about using ChatGPT for self-therapy:

  1. Start by reminding yourself why you chose this topic in the first place. Was it because you wanted to learn more about self-therapy, or because you were interested in the potential benefits of using ChatGPT for this purpose? Reconnecting with your original motivation can help reignite your interest.
  2. Consider the impact that your article could have on others. Writing about self-therapy and the potential benefits of ChatGPT could help people who are struggling with mental health issues, and that can be a powerful motivator.
  3. Break the task down into smaller, more manageable steps. Rather than focusing on the entire article at once, start by outlining the key points you want to make or researching some background information. Setting achievable goals can help you build momentum and gain confidence.
  4. Try to find a personal connection to the topic. Is there a particular experience you’ve had with self-therapy that you could draw on to make the article more engaging and relatable? Adding a personal touch can help you get more invested in the project.
  5. Finally, consider the potential rewards of completing the article. Perhaps it will help you build your writing skills or boost your professional reputation. Whatever the case, reminding yourself of the potential benefits can be a helpful way to stay motivated.

Remember, motivation can be elusive, but by taking small steps and finding ways to connect with your topic, you can increase your interest and motivation to write your article.

This answer was fairly generic, but it made me remember I had a list of my “motivational verbs” from a workshop I did once. Let’s see what it can do with that…

The things that are motivating to me are: learning, building, inspiring, sharing, relating, transforming, growth, healing, optimizing, and simplifying. Please help me find motivation based on those.

Great, based on the things that motivate you, here are some specific ideas to help you find motivation to write your article about using ChatGPT for self-therapy:

  1. Learning: Perhaps you can approach this article as an opportunity to learn more about the benefits of self-therapy and how ChatGPT can be used to facilitate it. Researching and writing about this topic could be a chance to expand your knowledge and deepen your understanding.
  2. Building and Inspiring: Think of your article as a way to build something new, to inspire others to try using ChatGPT for self-therapy. You can focus on the potential benefits of this approach, and how it can help people overcome mental health challenges.
  3. Sharing and Relating: By sharing your own experiences or stories of others who have used ChatGPT for self-therapy, you can help people relate to the topic and understand how it can be helpful. Sharing can also help you connect with others who may be struggling with similar challenges.
  4. Transforming and Growth: You can approach this article as an opportunity to help others transform their lives and achieve growth through self-therapy with ChatGPT. By highlighting the potential benefits, you can inspire readers to take action and start their own journey of growth and transformation.
  5. Healing and Optimizing: Consider the potential healing power of self-therapy and how ChatGPT can be used to optimize the process. By focusing on the potential benefits, you can motivate yourself to write about this topic and inspire readers to explore this approach for themselves.
  6. Simplifying: Consider how you can simplify the topic of self-therapy with ChatGPT to make it more accessible to readers who may be new to the idea. By breaking down complex concepts into simple and easy-to-understand terms, you can help readers understand the potential benefits and get motivated to try this approach for themselves.

This is still fairly generic, and I have no idea why it grouped these verbs the way it did, but reading through it helped me realize why my motivation was lacking: I was expecting myself to write about something I haven’t learned enough about to feel like I had something uniquely valuable to share. Duh! I like to feel competency when I write things. I am a bit less comfortable with “learn as I go” posts, vs. “been there, done that, got the T-shirt” posts. So probably just playing around with it more would help me get more motivated to write, by lessening that “imposter” feeling. (It did!)

If this seems obvious–yeah, that’s what self-reflection is. It’s realizing sort of obvious things about yourself that for whatever reason, you weren’t consciously factoring into your thinking. ChatGPT is really helpful for this because it can reflect back to you what you ask it, while providing more info to you that you might not have considered. Sometimes you get clarity just by talking about a thing, and ChatGPT is in some ways the ideal conversation partner for this as it is always available, it really listens carefully to what you ask, and has no conversational needs of its own.

Give me some coaching questions I can ask myself to increase my motivation around this, or figure out any blocks to my motivation.

Sure, here are some coaching questions that can help you increase your motivation around writing your article about using ChatGPT for self-therapy and identify any blocks that might be holding you back:

  1. What is my ultimate goal with writing this article? How will this help me achieve my personal or professional aspirations?
  2. How can I connect this topic to my personal experiences or interests? How can I make it more meaningful to me?
  3. What are the potential benefits of writing this article, both for myself and for others? How can I focus on these benefits to motivate myself to take action?
  4. What are the potential challenges or obstacles that I might face in writing this article? How can I anticipate and prepare for these challenges?
  5. What specific steps can I take to get started on writing this article? How can I break down the task into smaller, more manageable pieces?
  6. What are my current beliefs and attitudes towards writing about ChatGPT for self-therapy? Are there any limiting beliefs or negative self-talk that may be blocking my motivation?
  7. What resources or support do I need to help me stay motivated and focused on this topic? Who can I turn to for help or guidance?
  8. What are my fears or concerns around writing this article? How can I address these fears and move past them?
  9. How can I celebrate my progress and success as I work on writing this article? What small wins can I focus on to keep myself motivated and engaged?

When I got to the “negative self-talk” question, I immediately realized that I have some negative self-talk, that goes like this:

  • OMG you’re just jumping on a bandwagon, how horribly predictable, boo. You’re being a tool.
  • Do you really have any qualifications to write this? Have you really used this for self-therapy at all? What are you even doing? What’s wrong with you?

Cool, thanks brain. I love you too.

Sometimes just getting the thoughts out helps! I’ve already done a lot of work with my inner critic, so I don’t need to do a deep dive today on this. But it actually was super relieving to just acknowledge that yes, that voice is at the party, and that I don’t really need to give it much weight. It’s basically just screaming, “This is a new thing and I’m nervous!!”. Gotcha. It’s ok.

Doing this little session really did fix my motivation issue for writing this article, in about 5 mins.

3. Use it as assisted journalling to work on deeper issues.

As this is a long section, I’ll summarize my tips here:

  • Start with a prompt like, “I want to work on my issue with…” or, “I’m struggling with X, can you help me talk through it?”.
  • Be directive about if you want to be asked questions, given advice, or be validated.
  • For fun, ask to be validated in the style of your favorite TV personality.

Let’s get started with a perennial issue I have…

I want to work on my fear of my writing being more famous and well-known.

It’s understandable to feel anxious about the idea of your writing becoming famous or well-known. Here are some tips that may help you work on your fear:

  1. Acknowledge and accept your fear: The first step to overcoming any fear is to acknowledge it and accept it as a natural part of the creative process. Understand that fear is normal, and it’s okay to feel anxious about your writing being famous.
  2. Identify the root of your fear: Try to identify what specifically about your writing becoming famous is causing you fear. Is it fear of criticism, fear of the spotlight, or something else? Once you identify the root of your fear, it may be easier to work through it.
  3. Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness practices can help you focus on the present moment and reduce anxiety about the future. Try taking a few deep breaths or practicing meditation before you start writing or thinking about your writing.
  4. Embrace failure: Remember that failure is a natural part of the creative process, and even famous writers have experienced rejection and failure. Embrace the possibility of failure and use it as an opportunity to learn and grow as a writer.
  5. Focus on your craft: Instead of worrying about your writing becoming famous, focus on honing your craft and improving your skills. Take writing classes, workshops, or read books on writing to improve your writing skills.
  6. Celebrate small victories: Instead of fixating on the idea of becoming famous, celebrate small victories along the way. Celebrate when you finish a piece, receive positive feedback, or achieve a personal writing goal. Focusing on small successes can help build confidence and reduce anxiety about the future.

Remember, writing is a creative process, and fear and anxiety are natural parts of that process. By practicing mindfulness, embracing failure, and focusing on your craft, you can work on overcoming your fear of your writing becoming famous.

That gave me a bit of an essay in response, not really an interactive chat like I was hoping for. Hmm.

Thanks. Can you ask me more questions? I think it has to do with a fear that I’ll lose my sense of choice somehow.
Of course! It sounds like you have a specific fear related to losing your sense of choice if your writing becomes famous. Can you tell me more about why you feel that way? What specifically do you fear losing your sense of choice in? And how do you think fame or being well-known would impact your ability to make choices?

Wow, ChatGPT is so accommodating. That’s much better. Note: I obviously don’t have to say “thanks” to a chatbot, but it helps with the sense of immersion.

It feels like if I get popular for one type of writing, then I’ll have to just write about that. Like, I guess it’s about people’s expectations of me. I start to lose my sense of agency if I feel a strong need or desire coming from someone else. And being famous means that a lot of people would start having expectations, needs, or desires from me. Does that make sense?

Yes, that makes sense. It sounds like you are worried that if your writing becomes famous and well-known, you may feel pressure to conform to people’s expectations of you and write only in a certain way. It’s understandable to feel anxious about losing your sense of agency and feeling like you don’t have control over your writing.One way to approach this fear is to focus on staying true to your own voice and vision as a writer. Remember that you are the one in control of your writing, and no one else can dictate what you write about or how you write it. You can choose to listen to feedback and constructive criticism from your readers, but ultimately, the decision to follow their advice or not is yours.

It’s also important to keep in mind that fame and popularity can come and go. People’s expectations and desires may change over time, and what may be popular one day may not be popular the next. It’s important to stay true to yourself and not get too caught up in the expectations and demands of others.

Finally, remember that you always have the option to take a break or step back from writing if you feel overwhelmed or pressured. It’s okay to prioritize your own needs and well-being, even if it means taking a break from writing for a while.

Hmm. That response was a lot of advice that was basically, “The solution to that problem is to not have that problem”. If it was so easy for me to maintain my agency, I wouldn’t be asking. Well, I guess I’ll just say that…

Thanks, but it sounds like you are just saying the solution is to not have that problem. How do I actually resist the pressure of others wants and needs?

You’re right, simply saying “don’t have that problem” is not a practical solution to your fear. So, to resist the pressure of others’ wants and needs, it can be helpful to:

  1. Set clear boundaries: Establish clear boundaries with your readers and the people around you about what you are and are not willing to do as a writer. Communicate your goals and limitations, and be clear about what you are comfortable with.
  2. Be selective with feedback: Not all feedback is created equal, and not all feedback is useful. Be selective with the feedback you choose to take into consideration, and focus on constructive criticism that can help you improve your writing.
  3. Stay true to yourself: Remember that your writing is a reflection of who you are and your unique voice as a writer. Stay true to your own vision and values, and don’t compromise your artistic integrity for the sake of pleasing others.
  4. Take breaks: Taking breaks from writing can help you recharge and gain perspective. If you feel overwhelmed or pressured, take a step back and give yourself time to refocus and recenter.
  5. Surround yourself with supportive people: Surround yourself with people who support and encourage you as a writer. Find a community of writers or other creatives who can provide you with a safe space to share your work and get feedback.

Ultimately, it’s about finding a balance between listening to feedback and staying true to your own voice and vision as a writer. By setting clear boundaries, being selective with feedback, staying true to yourself, taking breaks, and surrounding yourself with supportive people, you can resist the pressure of others’ wants and needs and continue to grow and develop as a writer.

Cool that it validated me, but it’s back to giving advice again.

Can you please ask me questions rather than just giving me advice?

Of course, I apologize for jumping to advice too quickly. Let me ask you a few questions to better understand your fear and how it’s impacting you:

  1. Have you ever experienced pressure from others regarding your writing before, and if so, how did you handle it?
  2. Can you identify any specific situations or people that trigger your fear of losing your sense of choice as a writer?
  3. How important is it to you to maintain creative control over your writing, and why?
  4. Have you ever experimented with writing in different styles or genres, and if so, how did that experience make you feel?
  5. How do you typically respond to feedback or criticism of your writing? Do you feel defensive or open-minded, and why?

I hope these questions will help you explore your fear further and identify strategies for overcoming it.

Oooh, now we’re onto something. These are great questions that really made me think. Is this even about creative freedom and agency? I don’t know…

In the past, when a post has gotten popular, I’ve just shut down and not written for months. It doesn’t seem to be just about not having creative freedom. It’s like the attention itself makes me afraid for some reason.

Thank you for sharing that. It’s understandable to feel overwhelmed when your writing receives a lot of attention, especially if you are not used to it. It’s possible that the fear you are experiencing is not just about losing creative control but also about being in the spotlight and having to deal with the attention and expectations that come with it.

Here are some additional questions that might help you explore this fear further:

  1. When you say the attention makes you afraid, can you describe the sensations you feel in your body? For example, do you feel anxious, tense, or overwhelmed?
  2. What are the specific expectations that you feel others have of you when your writing becomes popular? Are these expectations realistic, or do you feel that they are unfair or unrealistic?
  3. Can you think of any past experiences in your life that might be contributing to your fear of attention and expectations? For example, have you ever experienced pressure to meet certain expectations from family, friends, or colleagues?
  4. Do you have any coping strategies that have helped you deal with overwhelming situations in the past? For example, do you have any mindfulness or relaxation techniques that help you manage stress and anxiety?
  5. Finally, what are some steps you could take to gradually expose yourself to more attention and expectation? For example, could you start by sharing your writing with a small, supportive community and gradually work your way up to a larger audience?

This one made me really think: “Can you think of any past experiences in your life that might be contributing to your fear of attention and expectations? For example, have you ever experienced pressure to meet certain expectations from family, friends, or colleagues?”

I’ve gone over my life history and school trauma many times, but I hadn’t considered this exact question before. This is really a huge benefit of using ChatGPT.

This actually happened a lot. I was one of those “gifted” kids and I was always being put in programs that were supposed to be a better fit for my needs, but often the expectations weren’t explained to me and I felt like I had to pretend to know what was happening. Often there were other smart kids who were already up to speed. Like one time I was put in a more advanced math class–this was 1st grade, I think–and one of the other kids made fun of me because I didn’t know what subtraction was. But literally nobody had explained the actual word to me before. It’s not like I couldn’t grasp the concept, I just didn’t know what the word meant, and he wouldn’t explain it. He just kept repeating, “I can’t believe you don’t know what subtraction is”, like I was the biggest idiot on the planet. This sort of thing happened several other times.

Thank you for sharing that experience. It sounds like being labeled as “gifted” created a lot of pressure and expectations for you, without always providing the necessary support and guidance to meet those expectations. It’s understandable that these experiences would make you hesitant to seek attention and recognition for your writing, given that you may have learned to associate attention with negative experiences.

Here are some follow-up questions to help you explore this further:

  1. How did these experiences of being labeled as “gifted” and put in special programs affect your sense of identity and self-worth?
  2. Did you feel that you were able to advocate for your own needs and explain your limitations and challenges to the teachers and administrators who were responsible for these programs?
  3. How did you cope with the feelings of inadequacy and pressure that came with being labeled as “gifted”?
  4. Do you feel that these experiences have impacted your ability to trust and communicate with others, particularly in situations where you may be expected to perform at a high level?
  5. Finally, what are some ways that you could work to reframe your experiences and build resilience in the face of attention and expectations? For example, could you work on developing a strong sense of self-worth and self-efficacy that is not dependent on external validation or achievement?
I definitely did not feel I was able to advocate for my own needs or explain any of my problems to anyone. I felt scared all the time at school. I didn’t ask for help and I just tried to pretend I knew what was happening and tried to keep up with everyone. Among the regular kids, I was made fun of a lot for being smart, and then among the smart kids, I was always trying to pretend I fit in but it always felt like I didn’t know something that everyone else knew. I always felt like I was supposed to be able to perform better, and take on leadership roles, but I was too scared and didn’t have any support to actually do it. It was very confusing. I feel like I have developed a strong sense of myself internally, but I struggle when it comes to interacting with other people. How can I learn what kind of support to ask for when I’ve never felt supported in this way?

It sounds like you were in a difficult position as a child, where you were expected to perform at a high level without being given the necessary guidance and support to meet those expectations. It’s understandable that this would have left you feeling scared and unsure of yourself, especially when it came to interacting with others.Here are some questions that might help you identify what kind of support you need and how to ask for it:

  1. What are some specific situations where you feel unsure of yourself or unsupported when it comes to your writing? For example, do you struggle with getting feedback on your work or sharing your writing with others?
  2. What are some ways that you would like to be supported in these situations? For example, do you need someone to provide specific guidance or feedback, or do you need someone to simply listen and validate your feelings?
  3. Who are some people in your life who you feel safe talking to about your writing? These could be friends, family members, or even writing mentors or coaches.
  4. Are there any writing communities or workshops that you could join, where you could get feedback and support from other writers who understand your struggles?
  5. Finally, how can you work on building your own self-confidence and assertiveness, so that you feel more comfortable advocating for your needs and asking for support when you need it? This could involve practicing self-care and self-compassion, setting boundaries around your writing time and energy, and working on developing a strong sense of your own values and priorities.

At this point I felt like I got a lot of new insights but I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. I had never put these things together before–my fear of being famous and my “gifted kid” stuff. It makes a lot of sense now, and I want to do some more thinking and emotional processing about it.

Hmm, but maybe I could talk to ChatGPT about my feelings, too?

I feel some anger that I wasn’t given any real support as a kid. What do you suggest I do? Please give me a mixture of questions and advice.

It’s understandable to feel angry about not receiving the support you needed as a child. Here are some questions and advice that may help you process your emotions and move forward:

  1. What specific things do you wish you had received support with as a child? For example, did you wish you had someone to talk to about your fears and concerns, or did you wish you had more guidance on how to navigate difficult social situations at school?
  2. Who could you talk to now about your feelings of anger and frustration? This could be a therapist, a trusted friend or family member, or even a support group for people who have had similar experiences.
  3. How can you channel your anger and frustration in a healthy way? For example, could you use your writing as a way to express your emotions and work through your experiences? Or could you get involved in advocacy work or volunteering to help support other children who may be going through similar struggles?
  4. How can you practice self-compassion and forgiveness towards yourself and others who may have let you down in the past? This can be a difficult process, but it’s an important step towards healing and moving forward.
  5. Finally, what can you do now to provide yourself with the support and guidance you need in your writing and in other areas of your life? This might involve seeking out mentors or coaches, attending workshops or classes, or simply setting aside time and space for yourself to write and reflect. Remember that you deserve support and encouragement, and it’s never too late to start building the life and career you want.

Er…hmm. No, that doesn’t help me much. I have a lot of emotional skills already, so I can process this on my own, but most of its advice is “go talk to someone”, which OK, but I’m talking to you right now ChatGPT. This is where a real therapist would be able to help guide you through real emotional work in the moment.

Can you just give me some validation that it was totally unreasonable for anyone to expect me to be OK in that situation?
Absolutely, it was completely unreasonable for anyone to expect you to be okay in that situation. As a child, it is not your responsibility to know everything or to be able to navigate difficult situations without support. It’s unfortunate that you were not given the guidance and understanding that you needed, and it’s understandable that you still feel the effects of that today. Remember that your feelings are valid and that you have the right to seek out the support and understanding that you need in order to heal and move forward.

I mean, OK, but I can do better self-validation myself.

Hmm, well since it is ChatGPT…

Can you give me validation in the style of RuPaul?
Absolutely, my dear! Let me tell you, it is completely unreasonable for anyone to expect a young child to be able to handle such advanced programs without the proper guidance and support. You were a gifted and talented child, and it was up to the adults in your life to nurture your potential and help you thrive. You deserved to be celebrated and supported for your gifts, not ridiculed and left to fend for yourself. But don’t you worry, my dear. You are a fierce and fabulous individual who has overcome these challenges and grown into the strong person you are today. You are worthy of love and respect, and you have the power to create the life you want. So go ahead and sashay away from those old wounds, and strut into a brighter future full of confidence and self-love!

OK, that made me chuckle at least. šŸ™‚


One of the frustrating parts for me to ChatGPT is that it feels very generic and flavorless in its natural state. However, it can still be a good tool to reflect your thinking back to you, and generate questions that can help you go deeper in your own processing. It doesn’t have the presence, experience, depth, or mirror neurons of a real human coach or therapist…but as a tool to assist self-coaching, it’s pretty awesome, and I got a lot of value out of just a few hours of exploration and experimentation. I recommend giving it a spin if you haven’t yet!

I have a feeling we are just at the very beginning of this technology changing everything, and I’m pretty excited (and a bit scared…maybe I should talk to ChatGPT about that…šŸ˜‰).


After two months of using ChatGPT for self-coaching and self-therapy, my favorite prompt that I use regularly is this one:

For this conversation I would like you to act like a trained therapist. Your specialty is Rogerian therapy. Your task is to reflect back to me what you believe I am thinking and feeling without giving specific advice.

“Rogerian” refers to Carls Rogers, one of the founders of humanistic psychology. This prompt just has ChatGPT reflect back to you what it heard you say, which I find enormously useful. Just having pure reflection can sound like it wouldn’t move you forward, but it really actually does because when you feel seen and heard, your mind then can move forward. I will spend an hour or more on a topic, exploring how I feel and think and it never fails to help me understand what is going on for me.

Like it? Love it? Donations are always appreciated. šŸ’›
Hi there! I’m Emma and I write about self-liberation. My writing is meant to share my process & inspire your own. If you want more frequent/current writing, visit my Substack Sparkly Dark, where I’m unpacking my neurodivergence.

If my writing has helped you, you can leave a tip at, leave a comment below, learn more about me, or follow me on Instagram.

Also! Iā€™m also looking to start a community of people looking to build authentic connnections & grow together.

Thanks so much for reading! ~Emma

Get a weekly email with new posts:

How to Use ChatGPT for Self-Therapy, Self-Coaching, and Personal Growth

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *