Do I need therapy?

In this blog, we will look at signs that will help you recognise if you or someone you know needs therapy. 

Do I need therapy?

You may need therapy if some of the signs below apply to you. Signs you should seek professional therapy are: 

  • You could use an unbiased, confidential person to talk to.
  • You feel overwhelmed.
  • You Are Having Difficulty Regulating Your Emotions.
  • You don’t feel like you’re operating at full capacity…or even close to it.
  • Conflicts in your relationship.
  • Appetite loss or excessive eating.
  • Abuse of substances.
  • Irritability.
  • Loss of interest in activities.
  • Productivity decline.

It can be stigmatising to tell someone they need treatment or that they should go to therapy. It can be painful to see a loved one struggle with mental illness, but it’s critical that people make the decision to get care on their own—as long as they aren’t endangering themselves or others.

It’s usually a better approach to demonstrate support if you encourage someone you care about to check into different therapy alternatives, even if you offer to review potential therapists with them. People who are pushed into treatment may become resentful and find it difficult to put in the effort necessary to change.

While counselling can help people work through difficulties that lead to suicidal thoughts, it isn’t always the greatest option for people in crisis. If you are in a crisis, you can obtain immediate assistance by calling, texting, or chatting with a suicide helpline. Once you are no longer irrational, a therapist can assist you in moving forward.

When to see a therapist?

When a mental health or emotional problem interferes with daily living and function, treatment may be suggested as an answer to the question. Therapy can help you understand how you’re feeling, why you’re feeling it, and how to deal with it.

Therapy also provides a secure environment in which to discuss life’s hardships, such as breakups, loss, parenting issues, or family conflicts. Couples counselling, for example, can assist you and your partner in resolving relationship issues and learning new ways of relating to one another. When it comes to violent relationships, crisis resources are usually recommended rather than couples counselling.

If one or more concerns are giving you distress and interfering with your everyday life, according to the American Psychological Association, it may be time to seek counselling. 

And, if you ignore a mental health problem, you run the danger of:

  • Having trouble keeping relationships
  • Finding it difficult to care for yourself or others
  • Struggling at work or school
  • Experiencing an increase in health issues and/or hospitalization
  • Suicide

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

You could use an unbiased, confidential person to talk to.

People often compare talking to a therapist to talking to a buddy, but this is not the case. A therapist is objective and neutral, does not become exhausted or burdened by your visits, and is someone you can completely trust to keep your information private. “We have no hidden agendas or vested interests; we simply want the best for you,” says Dr. Anderson of the University of Michigan. “We assist you, the expert in all things you, in delving into the hows and whys of your own mind, body, and spirit in order to smooth out those wrinkles.” We don’t always give recommendations or explain what to do; instead, we help to summarise, repeat, or connect some of the information you’ve shared with us.”

This isn’t the kind of chat you’d have with a friend. Maybe you’d like to chat to a friend about these issues, but you don’t feel supported by your family—or you’ve tried to talk to them about it and they’ve been unhelpful. According to clinical and forensic psychologist Angela Lawson, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, “all of these are signals that you would benefit from talking through your problem with a therapist.”

You feel overwhelmed.

According to Barkholtz, overwhelm is a huge and broad clue that therapy can be beneficial for you, because overwhelm can be produced by a variety of factors, including relationships and external events, as well as your own feelings. We typically can’t absorb and cope with things when we’re overwhelmed, but a therapist can help us do both, she says.

All of those sentiments can be named, identified, and understood with the help of therapy. For example, perhaps you’ve recently been overcome by rage and irritability, which is a regular occurrence these days. Dr. Gordon notes, “Mental health specialists assist in the identification of environmental and internal variables that contribute to irritation.” “Is it, for instance, anxiety or stress? Is improved communication required? Do you think you need to take more self-care breaks to feel less tense? Therapy is a technique for dealing with challenging feelings and events in order to improve one’s well-being and relationships.”

When thinking about distress, here are some issues to consider:

  • Do you or someone close to you spend some amount of time every week thinking about the problem?
  • Is the problem embarrassing, to the point that you want to hide from others?
  • Over the past few months, has the problem reduced your quality of life?

When thinking about interference, some other issues may deserve consideration:

  • Does the problem take up considerable time (e.g., more than an hour per day)?
  • Have you curtailed your work or educational ambitions because of the problem?
  • Are you rearranging your lifestyle to accommodate the problem?

Keep in mind that a problem may be less bothersome to you than it is to those around you. This does not necessarily imply that you are in the know and that your friends or family are reacting inappropriately to you. Rather, this circumstance says that you should consider why others who care about you are upset.

You Are Having Difficulty Regulating Your Emotions

Anxiety and rage, for example, might be difficult to control at times. While you may be able to manage some emotions successfully, there may be one or two that appear to get the best of you on a regular basis.

A therapist can assist you in identifying the exact anger management techniques that are most effective for you. They could also assist you in developing anxiety-reduction tactics that can help you feel better sooner. A therapist can help you build a plan to guarantee that your emotions serve you effectively, no matter what feelings you’re dealing with.

You don’t feel like you’re operating at full capacity…or even close to it.

We all get unhappy, angry, or fatigued from time to time, but it doesn’t always affect our lives, relationships, or objectives. A change in our optimal functioning, according to psychologist Riana Elyse Anderson, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, is a red flag that we need help.

“If getting out of bed seems like a tonne of bricks is laying on you, or you’re annoyed with everyone while running errands,” she tells SELF, “it suggests you’re working differently than your baseline.” 

“Right there is data.” It enables you to say, “Hmmm, I’m not feeling as good as I used to, and I’m not doing the things I used to like as easily.”

According to Wise, fluctuations in our mood or worry can impair our concentration, decision-making, and even memory, affecting our capacity to complete tasks.

Therapy can assist you in determining why these changes have occurred and how to return to a more optimal state of functioning. For example, if you’re having difficulties getting out of bed, you could use a strategy known as behavioural activation to arrange delightful activities throughout your day to motivate you.

Conflicts in your relationship

Your marriage or relationship might be strained by a variety of factors. For example, having a child or having a financial disagreement. Most people put off seeking couples counselling for far too long. You may restore respect and strong communication to your relationship with an open mind and the correct therapy.

Appetite loss or excessive eating

Pay attention if you’re eating a lot or if you’re not hungry at all.

Abuse of substances

You could be using substances to cope with deeper worries if you’ve been drinking heavily or using drugs. Therapy or addiction counselling may be able to assist you in gaining a better understanding of why you are abusing substances, as well as helping you cut back and quit.

Irritability

Be aware if you find yourself feeling considerably irritable or impatient much of the time. Is your mood straining your relationships? Consider whether you could use some support to work through what’s bothering you.

Loss of interest in activities

Another sign that you need therapy is a sense of “flatness.” This is a problem, especially if you find yourself avoiding activities you once enjoyed or avoiding social situations altogether. “All of those are really important signs to pay attention to,”.

Productivity decline

Do you find it difficult to concentrate at work or at home? Those who are dealing with a mental health issue may notice a drop in productivity. You could be distracted by negative thoughts, or you could be unmotivated.

From the standing of the counsellor

It’s important to assess the client in terms of what they want out of therapy. This is critical when it comes to deciding on the best model for the client. The most common models for individual therapy are psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, person-centered, solution-focused and mentalization based. It is worth mentioning that the latter is considered more appropriate when it comes to working with current or recent cases of trauma, while also showing great results when used in conjunction with other analytical methods.

The counselor needs to know how it will be set up beforehand. We would lead you through the “human” aspects of setting up a counseling session. The leadup is just as important! This aspect refers to the counseling setting, where some clients might feel more comfortable sharing things with you than in other situations. Warmth and friendliness make all the difference when it comes time to speak openly with one another! If this initially makes your client feel like they can trust you, they will feel more inclined to open up about their true desires/qualms with life that may have brought them to counseling in the first place.

What we recommend for Counselling

Professional counselling

If you are suffering from depression or any other mental disorders then ongoing professional counselling could be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.