How Do You Know If You Need Therapy?
Try this simple test to help determine if you need therapy. Put your hand on your heart, is it beating? Then, you need therapy. Okay, that might not be completely accurate, but as one of my former professors once said, there are very few people in the world who wouldn’t benefit from therapy. We all have stuff that would be helpful to work through, with an objective person who does not have any motives other than to help you.
It would be great if everyone went to therapy to process things in their lives, but not everyone has a genuine need for therapy. Some people can find a good friend to listen, a religious outlet, or a support group to help them work through issues without therapy. Some people need therapy for help in a more structured way with a person required to keep confidentiality.
Do You Need Therapy?
Going to therapy has been a controversial topic for many years. Going to therapy used to hold a stigma of being “crazy” or that something was wrong with you. The mental health stigma is getting better, but it can still take some courage to make the decision to go. So to be asking yourself if you need therapy can be a tough question. Consider some of the following signs it may be time to seek out professional help.
1) Your Emotions are Harder to Handle
We all deal with emotional issues from time to time, especially when a difficult life event happens. When you start to notice that you are more edgy, sad, crabby, angry, or generally more moody than usual, it might be time to seek help. Changes in the usual mood can be a normal part of life, but when the changes seem to cause more issues or last longer than expected, it might be time to talk with a therapist.
2) You Feel Withdrawn
Feeling like you want to stay home and enjoy a quiet movie night is great sometimes. However, if you typically enjoy going out with friends and have no desire to do so, there may be some patterns to keep an eye on. Ignoring friends or family, spending more time alone, and avoiding connection with others may be a sign that you are struggling with more than just sadness.
3) People Have Told You to Go to Therapy
This one is tough. People can use this in a hurtful way rather than in a helpful way, but if people have mentioned seeing a therapist or seem worried about you, it might be time to find a therapist. When people close to you encourage you to get help, they may see changes that you don’t notice, and their concern may be in the right place.
4) Something Traumatic Happened
Not every person who experiences a traumatic event will need therapy. Some events are really big and hard to handle alone! When it becomes hard to think of anything else, it impacts your sleep or makes it difficult for you to relax or calm your body, you may need the help of a trained therapist.
5) You Are Using Substances, Sex, or Food to Cope
Using alcohol, food, substances, or sex as ways to cope with emotion or stress may indicate a need for professional help. These coping strategies are often used to mask the pain of emotions or trauma. Of course, these behaviors can lead to more problems, so it’s good to seek therapy when the patterns are being used to cope with painful feelings.
6) You Don’t See Any Hope
If you are struggling to find a purpose for living or wanting to kill yourself, you need to seek help. There are people willing to help you to feel better and sort through the feelings of hopelessness. Feeling down and frustrated with life situations can happen after disappointing events, like not getting a promotion. However, if these feelings stay longer than a few days or consume your life, the problems may be deeper than situational disappointment. Any time you have thoughts of killing yourself, you need to get help.
Making the decision to set up a therapy appointment can be a nerve-racking decision. It can also be one of the most important choices you make for your life. Remember that your new therapist is there to help you with your needs and goals. They are not judging you, and their focus is to help you make things better in your life.
There is nothing wrong with getting help. I know that sounds a bit cliché, but I am going to say it again. There is nothing wrong with getting help. You are not crazy; you are human. Humans are not meant to solve all the problems alone. We get help with many areas of our life, such as growing food, household repairs, medical advice, and raising children. We are biologically designed to rely on the help of other humans. There is no shame in getting help to process your emotional needs.