Do you need therapy?
Taking the first step into starting therapy to better your mental health can be nerve-racking. Almost half of Americans will experience a mental illness at some point in their lifetime. Despite their pain, most of these people will not seek psychotherapy. Although there are many reasons that people fail to seek therapy, including lack of funds and fear of being stigmatized, sometimes people find the whole process of finding a therapist intimidating. Deciding if you need therapy first begins with how much your mental illness affects your life or how motivated you are to improve as an individual. Is your mental health interfering with your work, your personal life, or your professional life?
The importance of therapy
Research has shown that verbalizing feelings can have a therapeutic effect on the brain, which can help your self-esteem and relationships. Therapy, whether treatment-centered or preventative, can help an individual learn to manage their emotions, solve problems, and develop healthy coping skills to overcome life stressors. An individual does not necessarily have to go through a significant life event or trauma to enter into therapy sessions, nor do they have to be diagnosed with a mental illness. An individual can want to undergo therapy to develop better life skills and coping skills and improve his or her relationships.
However, there are certain circumstances where an individual should undergo therapy. Maybe an individual experienced a significant life setback or struggled with financial issues, relationship trauma, or extreme anxiety. It can be possible to bounce back from these struggles, but sometimes these struggles can get the best of us, and we need to seek treatment from a mental health professional.
Many different types of therapy can be used to help you overcome your struggles. Therapy is not a one-size-fits-all approach. As a result, finding a therapist with who you feel comfortable and who will work with you to find the best individual therapy approach is incredibly important.
Why should you seek therapy?
You are experiencing unexpected mood swings: You go from happy to angry to sad within days to a week. Other people may notice it to the point that they express their concern for you, or your mood swings are subtle that only you feel the change. Regardless, unexpected mood changes can be a sign that you may be struggling with depression or bipolar disorder. A therapist can help you get to the root of the problem.
You are experiencing harmful thoughts: Suicide, self-harm, negative self-talk, or thoughts of harming others are red flags that you should seek therapy. Therapy can help you work through these thoughts and hopefully prevent you from harming yourself or others.
You are using substances to cope with your feelings: If you are turning to drugs, alcohol, or food regularly to soothe your negative feelings, you may be chartering unhealthy waters. Substances are often used as a temporary Band-Aid to cover up underlying mental health disorders. Often, it is possible to acquire a substance use disorder or eating disorder while self-medicating for underlying mental health triggers.
Your relationships are strained: Whether you are struggling to maintain family ties, friendships, or intimate relationships, relationships take quite a bit of dedication, patience, and effort. If you are struggling with a potential mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression, you may feel like you are working to communicate with the people closest to you. Maybe you find yourself spending more time alone, burning bridges with people you care about or losing your temper more often. If this is the case, you may benefit from talking to someone about your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
Below are the following questions to ask yourself that can determine whether therapy is right for you:
I am concerned about a behavior, feeling, or something I am doing
This behavior has been getting worse over time
I have attempted to stop or reduce this behavior on my own, without success
I have been relying on my support system to help me through my current struggles
I am finding it more difficult to cope than normal
I am having trouble concentrating at work or school
I have talked to friends or family about this behavior that is bothering me
I have researched to learn more about the behavior that is bothering me