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Is Therapy Right for Me?

So you think you can benefit from help, but aren't sure if therapy is the right solution. Here are five signs to help you decide if you should consider working with a therapist.




At some point in our lives, most of us will face difficulties and challenges that can be overwhelming. While some people may be able to navigate these issues on their own, others may benefit from professional counseling or therapy.


So exactly what is counseling and is it same as therapy? Both are support services that are offered as a form of psychotherapy. The APA Dictionary of Psychology defines psychotherapy as "any psychological service provided by a trained professional that primarily uses forms of communication and interaction to assess, diagnose, and treat dysfunctional emotional reactions, ways of thinking, and behavior patterns (2023). Counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists are some of the licensed professionals that are available to support you.


But how do you know if this is the kind of help you're looking for? When I first considered therapy, I looked into it for someone else. I thought I had my life together, but this other person seemed to need some help. I later realized that we were both experiencing challenges that were keeping us from functioning well. The difference was in our behavior. While the other person expressed themself through turbulent behavior, I held all of my stress inside of my mind and body while trying to carry on with life. The problem was it was making me sick, tired, frustrated, and stressed.


The reality is it can be difficult to know if and when you need therapy. Let's explore some signs that may indicate that you could benefit from therapy.



Sign #1 - Persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness


It is normal to feel sad or down from time to time, but if you are experiencing persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, it may be time to seek counseling. This might look like difficulty getting out of bed everyday or crying for what feels like no reason at all. These feelings may be a sign of depression, which is a common mental health condition that can affect your overall well-being.


Sign #2 - Difficulty managing stress


If you are struggling to manage stress, it may be time to seek counseling. Stress can have a significant impact on your physical and mental health, and it can be difficult to manage without help. For me, struggling with stress looked like having a lot to do but unable to do anything because my thoughts were focused on all of my problems, what could go wrong, or who was to blame.


Counseling can provide you with the tools and techniques you need to manage stress more effectively.


Sign #3 - Relationship problems


If you are experiencing problems in your relationships, whether they are romantic or platonic, it may be time to seek counseling. Relationship problems can be incredibly stressful and can impact your overall quality of life. I found myself questioning if I was enough for my partner, which didn't have me in a loving place. I had so much going on that I had no time for social interaction and I felt guilty for not being as connected as I wanted to be with family.


If you're experiencing challenges, a counselor can help you to navigate these difficulties and develop healthier communication patterns that can repair and strengthen relationships that you want to restore.


Sign #4 - Traumatic events


Experiencing a traumatic event can make it difficult to deal with memories, emotions, and anything that might trigger you to replay the event(s) over and over again. I tried to pretend that I was not bothered by past experiences, but certain tv shows, conversations, places, and people would lead me to feel unsafe even when there was no active threat.


If you are struggling with stress related to an event that caused you to experience horror, helplessness, or injury, it is important to seek professional help. A counselor can help you to process the event(s) and develop coping strategies to support you to move forward.


Sign #5 - Major life changes or transitions


Major life changes, such as a divorce, the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, or chronic illness can be incredibly difficult to navigate. When we have been exposed to situations that we have never experienced before, it can begin to feel overwhelming. I experienced the loss of my grandmother, a shift in my marriage, and big changes at work back to back. This was the moment when I decided that enough was enough and sought help for myself.


Counseling can provide you with the support and guidance you need to cope with these changes and move forward in a healthy way.


It's okay to ask for help

If you are experiencing any of the above signs, it may be time to seek professional counseling. A counselor can provide you with the support, guidance, and tools you need to overcome challenges and improve your overall well-being. Don't hesitate to reach out for help when you need it. If you need help today, call the Mental Health Hotline at 866-903-3787.





References:


American Psychological Association (2023). Psychotherapy. In APA Dictionary of Psychology. Retrieved from https://dictionary.apa.org/psychotherapy

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