Guided Self-Help Consultations

Guided Self-Help Consultations

I am committed to helping people understand themselves and what they need to do to become emotionally and psychologically healthy. With this in mind, I write, create videos, and provide in-person workshops. However, self-help guidance is not always enough. You may find some ideas unclear or be unsure how to apply them effectively to your life. Or, you may prefer to be taught these ideas and how to apply them to your life in a one-to-one format. If so, then Guided Self-Help Consultations (GSHCs), offered 45-minute video or phone appointments, may be for you. GSHCs are a service in which I share my professional experiences, insights, and suggestions as clearly as possible so that those who find my work helpful can apply it to their lives – and grow from it.

In addition to offering GSHCs, I offer therapy in New Jersey and New York as a licensed psychologist. While there are similarities between the GSHCs and psychotherapy, they are different activities, offering different kinds of help. Psychotherapy is a health care service and is usually reimbursable through health insurance policies. This is not true for GSHCs. Both GSHCs and psychotherapy use knowledge of human behavior, motivation and behavioral change, and interactive counseling techniques. The major differences are in the goals, focus, and level of professional responsibility.

The focus of GSHCs is the clarification, development, and implementation of concepts and strategies offered in my self-help resources, including my books, articles, and videos. The information and clarification I provide in GSHCs are advisory and intended to help clients continue their self-help journey. This service can help clients reach their goals of enhanced personal satisfaction in their lives. GSHCs may offer psychoeducation in the areas of developing compassionate self-awareness, attachment styles, how a client’s attachment style may affect the client’s life, and skills for creating healthier relationships with self and others. In the service of these goals, it may help clients learn the importance of, and develop, self-awareness in the domains of STEAM (sensations, thoughts, emotions, actions, and mentalizing), as well as develop compassionate self-awareness. GSHCs also use counseling techniques, such as visualizations, relaxation exercises, stress management training, support for developing a healthier lifestyle, and motivational counseling.

By contrast, psychotherapy is designed to identify, diagnose, and treat mental and nervous disorders. The goals of psychotherapy include alleviating symptoms, understanding the underlying dynamics which create symptoms, changing dysfunctional behaviors which are the result of these disorders, and developing new strategies for successfully coping with the psychological challenges which we all face. Most research on psychotherapy outcomes indicates that the quality of the relationship is most closely correlated with therapeutic progress. Psychotherapy patients are often emotionally vulnerable. This vulnerability is increased by the expectation that they will discuss very intimate personal data and expose feelings about themselves about which they are understandably sensitive. The past life experiences of psychotherapy patients have often made trust difficult to achieve. These factors give psychotherapists greatly disproportionate power that creates a fiduciary responsibility to protect the safety of the clients and to “above all else, do no harm.”

The relationship in GSHCs is specifically designed to avoid the power differentials that occur in the psychotherapy relationship.  The client sets the agenda and the success of the enterprise depends on the client’s willingness to take risks and try new approaches. The relationship is designed to be more direct and challenging. You can count on me in GSHCs to be honest and straightforward, asking powerful questions and using challenging techniques to move you forward.  You are expected to evaluate progress and when the GSHCs are not working as you wish, you should immediately inform me so we can both take steps to correct the problem.

Because of these differences, the roles of guided self-help consultant and psychotherapist are often in potential conflict and I believe that, under most circumstances, it is ethically inappropriate for me to play both roles with a client, whether concurrently or sequentially.  Positive change is difficult enough without having to worry about role confusion. This means that if either of us recognizes that you have a problem that would benefit from psychotherapeutic intervention, I will refer you to appropriate resources. In some situations, I may insist that you initiate psychotherapy and that I have access to your psychotherapist as a condition of my continuing as your coach.

It is also important to understand that the guided self-help consultation service is a professional relationship. While it may often feel like a close personal relationship, it is not one that can extend beyond professional boundaries both during and after our work together.  Considerable experience shows that when boundaries blur, the hard-won benefits gained from such a relationship is endangered.



After reading “Insecure in Love” I knew I had to work with Leslie. The concepts in the book were a revelation and helped shine a light on specific interpersonal and relationship issues I had struggled with for a long time. I had participated in some form of mindfulness practice consistently for the last 10 years but working with Leslie she helped me take it much deeper. The concepts from “Insecure in Love” as well as new techniques she introduced me to over the course of our work together really helped deepen my awareness of myself and helped me heal from recent and old traumas alike. She has a gift for asking insightful questions that help take you deeper and I couldn’t be happier with the support I received from her.



I participated in a Guided Self-Help Consultation and it was a very valuable experience.  I came to the phone call having read the book Insecure In Love along with an awareness of my challenges and progress made so far.  What also made it so meaningful was identifying (ahead of time) what I wanted to take away from the phone call.  

Dr. Becker-Phelps asked many good questions to gain an understanding of my experiences.  She also offered several suggestions on how I can continue on my path of self-awareness and self-improvement.  Specifically we discussed the Window of Tolerance (what it is and how I stay there) and the power of slowing down when using relaxation techniques.   I anticipate scheduling another phone session.

Thank you Dr. Becker-Phelps! 

Thank you from the Mile High City


I’ve just completed five sessions of guided self-help consultations with Leslie that have literally been a revelation. As someone who’s consistently pursued personal growth for years, I consider myself pretty self aware. By guiding me through the STEAM process, however, Leslie has helped me begin to uncover and understand long buried fears that have stopped me from moving forward in certain areas.  Although there are no quick fixes, continuing to use STEAM and practice compassionate self-awareness are propelling me on a new path of healing that’s already making a difference in my life.  I started with one session as I wasn’t sure how the consultations would work for me, and was very pleased with the focused guidance and support I received. Leslie is caring, direct and great at what she does. I’ve found the consultations a truly valuable part of my journey.  

Jen from CA