At some point in our lives, we all experience periods of stress, overwhelm, sadness, conflict and confusion. When you are feeling off, it can be hard to know if it’s time to seek professional help (like seeing a therapist). Thankfully, there are some signs indicating that you definitely should see a therapist immediately.
However, too many of us think about seeing a counsellor or therapist for a very long time before making the decision, uncertain if it’s the right choice for us.
In this post we share 10 signs you need therapy. So before you book a session for counselling, be sure to read through this post.
Wondering If You Need to See A Therapist?
Therapy isn’t just for people with mental illness as some believe.
Many people don’t struggle with a major mental health difficulty, and they have resources and support in their lives that helps them remain resilient even in the face of difficult stressors or other troubles. On the other hand, some people’s lives are severely impacted by their emotional struggles, and for these people, therapy may be the minimum they need just to keep their lives from falling apart.
However, the vast majority of others fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. They’d probably be alright if they never saw a therapist, but there are likely several aspects of our lives, work, or relationships that we could improve with some good work in therapy.
If you are in the middle of the two extremes, here some reasons you may need therapy;
- Clarifying your values and strategizing about the most effective path toward them
- Learning to communicate directly and assertively in relationships or the workplace
- Building self-confidence in social situations
- Acquiring more effective parenting skills and techniques
- Working through complicated grief or loss
Moreover, in addition to improving traditional mental health struggles, therapy can also be a powerful and efficient way to make progress on personal goals or aspirations.
Side note: The terms therapy and counselling can be used interchangeably as they are both used to describe a range of talking therapies where you share what is bothering you, and are listened to in a way that helps you understand yourself and situation better.
10 Signs You Need Therapy
You constantly feel overwhelmed
We all get tired and frustrated at some point. Life isn’t always easy and no one has it all figured out. If you feel like you have so many things to do or run out of strategies to cope with the issues of life, then you need help. Perhaps you feel stressed, frustrated and overwhelmed more often than normal and its interfering with your daily activities.
It’s a sign you should see a counsellor who can help you figure out reasons behind any unexplained overwhelm as well help you make better life choices that work for you.
Your emotions feel intense
Do you find yourself flare up at the slightest provocation? We all get angry and sad, but how intense and how often? Does it impair or significantly change your ability to function?
Feeling overcome with anger or sadness on a regular basis could indicate an underlying issue. When an unforeseen challenge appears, do you immediately assume the worst case scenario will take place? This is an intense form of anxiety that can be deliberating.
These intense emotions are often a residue of experiences you have had in the past that you have not examined or healed. If your life gets more constricted because you’re avoiding a lot, it is probably time to see someone. A counsellor creates a safe space for you to deal with these intense emotions.
You’ve suffered a trauma and you can’t seem to forget it
The loss of a family member or loved one, a breakup or job loss can be enough to require a bit of counselling. We tend to think these feelings are going to go away on their own, but that this isn’t always the case.
Grief from a loss can impair daily functioning and even cause you to withdraw from friends. If you find you aren’t engaging in your life or those around you have noticed that you’re pulling away, you may want to speak to someone to unpack how the event still affects you.
On the other hand, some people respond to loss with a more manic reaction such as hyper-engagement with friends and acquaintances or an inability to sleep. These are also signs that it is time for professional help.
You have unexplained medical conditions
If you are emotionally upset, it can affect your body. Research confirms that stress can manifest itself in the form of a wide range of physical ailments, from a chronically upset stomach to headaches, frequent colds or even a diminished sex drive. Also unusual complaints like muscle twinges that seem to come out of nowhere or neck pain can be signs of carried stress or emotional distress.
You feel stuck where you are
Another sign you need counselling is feeling like you are constantly doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same negative results. Sometimes in life we just feel trapped and that’s not what we want. If you feel like you’re stuck in a place you don’t want to be in, and you can’t figure out how to fix it, you may need to seek professional help.
You use substance to cope
If you find yourself drinking or using drugs in greater quantities or more often – or even more often thinking about drinking or drugs — these could be signs that you’re hoping to numb feelings that should be addressed.
Moreover, that substance could even be food. Changes in appetite can be another sign that all is not well. Both over-eating or not wanting to eat could be signs that you are dealing with stress or struggling with something else.
You feel disconnected from your favourite activities
If your friend meet-ups and family gatherings have lost their previous joyfulness, it can be a sign that something is wrong. If you’ve lost the excitement in doing your favourite activities, or feeling like there’s not a lot of purpose, or feeling a general sense of unhappiness, seeing a therapist could help you regain some clarity or start in a new direction.
You feel your relationships have strained
Do you have trouble communicating how you really feel — or even being able to identify it in the moment? If you find yourself feeling unhappy during interactions with loved ones on a regular basis, you might make a good candidate for couples or family therapy. If your life seems fine on the surface, but you can’t seem to maintain a healthy relationship for a long time, seeing a therapist can help you identify the issue.
You crave a new perspective
If there’s something in your life that you’ve been trying hard to accomplish but just can’t quite seem to make happen, it may be that there are subtle psychological or emotional factors causing friction and preventing you from succeeding. You may need some growth and changes. Seeking an unbiased perspective from a counsellor could help you find answers that work for you personally.
You just really need to feel listened to
Sometimes you may find yourself in a situation you really can’t talk to anyone about for fear of being misunderstood. Maybe it’s a breakup or an issue you feel your loved ones aren’t ready to listen to, such as your struggles with your thoughts or sexuality. Whatever your reason, a counsellor is what you need.
WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT AT YOUR FIRST THERAPY?
We have talked about the signs you may be needing therapy. Let’s give you an idea of what you should expect once you are ready to book your first therapy session. Whatever your reason for seeking help, you would be more at ease and get better results if you know what to expect.
At your first session, the therapist would typically start by making you feel comfortable. The therapist would introduce himself or herself and begin asking certain questions about you and your life such as;
- Why you sought therapy
- Your personal history or current situation
- Any difficulty at home or work or relationship
You should ensure you participate actively. Therapy is a team effort so don’t sit there. Be open. Be prepared. Ask questions and be very honest about your feelings.
However, be sure to go to your first session with realistic expectations. Therapy is not a quick fix, it’s a process. With some efforts on your part and a strong relationship with your therapist, it can be the best tool for resolving your problems.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO SEE A THERAPIST?
Cost is another great concern for most people, however, it is often possible for people to access free or low-cost therapy. The average cost of therapy generally ranges from $65-$250 per hour or more. In most areas of the country, one can expect to pay $100-$200 per session. Moreover, when people pay for therapy through insurance co-pays, it varies widely from just a few dollars to $50 or more.
THE TAKE AWAY
So ‘Do you need therapy?’
There isn’t an exact right reason to see a therapist. There are many valid reasons to seek counselling which are equally important.
But whether you need therapy is usually the wrong way to look at things. The better way to approach the question of trying therapy is whether or not you could benefit from it.
Therapy is about mental health, and health means a lot more than feeling less badly. It means growth, resilience, understanding, and strength. Unfortunately, many people who may not need therapy but could benefit from it tremendously never even consider it because of misguided beliefs about what therapy is.
Most people think therapy is like going to see a doctor to get an illness cured. Some even think of therapy as some sort of moral re-education process. But therapists don’t have magic pills or special wisdom about how to live your life “the right way.” Rather they provide a structured and systematic opportunity for personal growth, all done in the context of a supportive and non-judgmental relationship.
How often you need to see a therapist depends on the issue for which you sought therapy. Some people come to therapy with a specific issue or concern that a brief solution-focused therapy is required. This would often last six to eight sessions. Others may come to therapy to explore issues that run a little deeper. This type may require seeing a therapist for several months to years.
In need of counselling? Book a session with us. We provide you with experienced therapist who are willing to help you live a fulfilled and well-balanced life.
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