Understand Yourself Better

The articles and resources presented here are essentially to do with self-help. The self-help industry, for indeed it is an industry, covers a wide range of topics from a wide range of perspectives. There  is a lot of sound advice out there, but there is also a lot of nonsense. I will address elsewhere some of the limitations of self-help and the ways in which it can fail to deliver on its promises. For now, I want to focus on the rationale underlying what you will find in these posts and pages.

A Psychological Model

A lot of the content is based on a cognitive behavioural model of human experience. While CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is a well-established form of psychotherapy, its underlying principles provide a very useful model (or framework) within which to understand our daily experiences. These principles will be examined in more detail throughout the site.

Motivation, Change and Choices

If we want to make changes in the way we conduct our lives and to make choices that will bring us closer to our goals, then it is important we understand how these processes work. More about this later.


How often have you set out to make important changes in your life, only to find yourself giving up or returning to your old and familiar ways? If this is true for you, then congratulations! You are officially not a robot. Hopefully, the advice and guidelines you come across here will be realistic and non-prescriptive. What works for me may not work for you. Experiment and adapt. Small changes grow into bigger changes over time. As Winnie-the-Pooh observed…


“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”

Caveat – Health Warning

There are some psychological problems that are too severe or complicated to be amenable to self-help. If you feel this applies to you, then please seek professional help. This is particularly the case if you want to harm yourself in some way or want to harm others.

About the Author…

Derek Lee has worked as a clinical psychologist in the National Health Service for more than 30 years. The vast majority of this time was spent working with people who had drug and alcohol problems. Derek also has extensive experience of working with people struggling with complex and enduring psychological problems in both hospital and community settings. He has taught psychology at undergraduate and post-graduate levels. He has run workshops for a wide range of staff, including police surgeons, social workers, GPs, psychiatrists and mental health nurses. He has also trained voluntary sector staff in substance misuse and mental health charities.

Derek has a lot of experience in running therapy and psycho-educational groups, including anxiety management, relapse prevention, bipolar disorder, social skills training, improving self-esteem, and motivation. Creating this “Understand Yourself Better” resource seems to be the next logical step in this journey.

Acknowledgements and Attributions


I have benefited greatly over the years from the teaching and supervision I have received from other psychologists, without whom I would not have had the career I enjoyed so much. As far as possible, I try to acknowledge and accurately attribute the material I cover here, but it is not possible to do this 100 percent of the time. A lot of the ideas come from the psychology cloud of knowledge that includes received wisdom, common sense and maybe even mythology. The presentation of material is uniquely mine except where otherwise attributed. Please contact me with any corrections or omissions and I will do my best to rectify.