Should You Be In Therapy? Here's How To Tell

Popular culture would have us believe that seeing a therapist is a sign of weakness, or only for those with severe mental illness. But, like our physical health, our mental and emotional wellbeing should be approached from the perspective that prevention is key.

Even if you’ve jettisoned the stigma, how do you know when it’s the right time to find professional support? The signs below may indicate that a counselor or therapist could help enrich your life in one or more areas (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and relational) and bring balance back to your whole self.

Emotional Signs:

1. You often feel overwhelmed, out-of-control, or like you “can’t catch a break.” These feelings can contribute to persistent edginess, which negatively impacts how we feel about ourselves and the world around us.

2. You feel disconnected from your emotional world, leading to a numbness that makes it difficult to connect to yourself or others.

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How Therapy Can Help:

A counselor can help you explore and process feelings of being overwhelmed, reconnect to yourself, and explore your personal needs/boundaries. Therapy facilitates the process of accepting the things you can’t change, taking personal responsibility for, and making a commitment to shifting the things you can.

Physical/Behavioral Signs:

3. You’ve stopped taking care of your body. Nourishing our physical selves has a great deal to do with our mental and emotional health. This means eating balanced meals, drinking plenty of water, and exercising.

4. You cope by over-indulging: whether it’s food, work, exercise, shopping, gambling, sex, alcohol or drugs (including prescription), over-engaging in certain activities can be a sign that we’re trying to escape, rather than heal from intense mental and emotional challenges.

How Therapy Can Help:

A counselor can help you explore the nature of your over- or under-engagement in behaviors. They can also help you determine your goal and work towards it, whether that goal is to develop and commit to healthier ways of coping, or to become more accepting and loving toward yourself.

Mental Signs:

5. Your mind seems to be working against you. Your thoughts are more often on the past or future than on the present moment, resulting in uncomfortable emotions.

6. You’re unable to shake negative thoughts about yourself or concerns about how you think others perceive you. Even when you try to talk yourself out of them or use affirmations, the thoughts just keep coming back.

How therapy can help:

A counselor or therapist can help you strengthen your connection to the present moment. Getting lost in the past or future can lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, or hopelessness. A therapist can also help you explore the core beliefs behind the negative thoughts, find ways to counteract those thoughts, and redefine your core beliefs.

Spiritual Signs:

7. You find yourself saying, “I’m so busy. I just wish I had time to relax,” but continue taking on new responsibilities. When you do have the opportunity to relax, you’re not able to enjoy it. You feel valuable based on the things you do rather than simply by being you.

8. You stop doing things you love – or don’t have anything you love to do. Whether you go for a walk, watch sunrise or sunset, have a meaningful conversation, engage in a spiritual practice, or partake in your favorite activity, your life is made more meaningful by participating in practices that inspire you and make you feel passionately alive.

How therapy can help:

A counselor or therapist can help you rediscover or establish activities or practices that bring meaning and passion to your life. They can facilitate an exploration of your connection to the innate worthiness of you as you are, and help you let go of the feeling that gaining worth requires action.

Relational Signs:

9. You have a friend, colleague, or loved one who is encouraging you to seek counseling to help you enrich your life. Or, perhaps you’re questioning the future of your relationship or having increased conflict. You’re not sure why you feel this way or what you should do about it.

10. You have a loved one, friend, or family member who is ailing from significant physical, mental, emotional, or relational distress. They may be struggling more deeply, but the role of supporting that loved one can take its toll on your mental and emotional well-being.

How therapy can help:

With a counselor, you can discover how taking care of yourself leads to more authentic and meaningful relationships and makes you better able to support those you love. A therapist will also help you explore your relationship patterns and history, helping you to learn how to build a relationship that helps you and your significant other live to your full potentials.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock


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