Back in the old days, the concept of “self-talk” and “inner monologue” were not widely accepted by the therapeutic community. They just didn’t admit that everyone talks to themselves! So a patient would innocently say things to a psychiatrist like, “I told myself, ‘Don’t do that, you’ll get in trouble,’ but I did’t listen.”
Unbeknownst to the patient, this would set off a a firestorm of activity inside the psychiatrist’s mind. “Talking to himself? That’s an auditory hallucination, isn’t it? No, it isn’t. Yes, it is! That’s means he’s schizophrenic. No, it doesn’t. Yes, it does! Good thing I don’t do that. Yes, I do. No, I don’t! Shut up!”
Fortunately, all the professionals have realized that self-talk is perfectly normal, whether it’s done internally or out loud. Everybody does it. Whew! And in many cases it’s helpful, too. People with a habit of saying, “Let’s see…” while they take in the world around them before deciding what to do next are using the phrase to focus themselves, and that’s good.