How do I know if I need therapy?
If you’re typing this phrase into Google right now – “How do I know if I need therapy?”, wondering if you need to get extra support and whether or not therapy could possibly be a good resource for you right now, this post is for you.
You may have had something sudden, abrupt and painful just happen – a bad breakup, an unexpected layoff, the death of a loved one.
Or you might be sitting with this gnawing sense inside of you that life isn’t meant to feel this hard and heavy.
This idea of seeking out therapy may have been brewing for some time and today it’s caused you to reach for the keyboard and see if really, truly, therapy is something that might be right for you now.
While no one can tell you exactly what the best course of action for you is right now, here are five signs you may need therapy:
- You feel preoccupied with the issue. You may wake up thinking about what’s going on for you and fall asleep thinking about it, too. When you’re in the shower or on the commute to work, you mind races, turning the distressing issue (or issues) over and over again in your mind. You may be going about your day, not thinking about it and then suddenly the issue pops back into your mind, jolting you. These are signs that something’s clearly taking up quite a bit of your mental and emotional space and it would be worth getting extra support to work through it.
- You feel like you’re burdening/wearing out your friends and family talking about the issue. Now, emphasis on the “you feel like.” This doesn’t objectively mean you’re wearing out your friends and family but you may start to get a sense that you just can’t bring this issue to your loved ones any more for fear of emotionally burdening them. In these times, when you feel like you can’t use your social supports anymore to help you process and work through your issues, this is a good time to seek outside professional support.
- Or you feel like you can’t bring up the issue at all with anyone you know. Or, perhaps, the issue is such that you can’t and don’t want to bring it up with anyone you know. Maybe it involves your partner who all your family and friends know and love and you don’t want to sour their opinion of them. Maybe it’s an issue that you have pain and shame around and frankly just don’t feel comfortable opening up to anyone you know in your personal life because you’re worried how their opinion would change if they knew what was really going on for you. When you feel like you can’t talk to anyone else about what’s going on, that’s a great time to get into therapy.
- You’ve reached the limit of your “emotional toolbox.” You’ve tried everything you know how to do – problem solving, making lists, distracting yourself, sitting with your emotions, even some meditation – and still, you’re struggling. You simply don’t have the tools in your toolbox to deal with this particular issue at this particular time and you need more support than you can give yourself. Now would be a great time to work with a therapist to develop more tools in your toolbox.
- You’re simply curious about therapy and want to! Again, if you typed this phrase into Google “how do I know if I need therapy?” I want you to imagine that some part of you already knows you may need therapy and frankly, might want to. This is a great reason to explore therapy even if the other four bullet points above aren’t completely true for you
How therapy can support you.
Therapy isn’t a silver bullet. It’s not like a prescription medicine you take and 30 minutes later your symptoms alleviate.
Therapy is, however, designed to address the root causes of what created the suffering in the first place, leading to potentially longer lasting and more transformative change.
Therapy will take place between you and a trained, trusted licensed mental health professional in a confidential environment.
There you’ll be able to open up – potentially for the very first time – about what’s really going on for you and your therapist will help you unpack the issues, sort through the many thoughts and feelings you have about it, and help you arrive at answers, decisions, and solutions that feel best and right and true for you.
Your therapist will NOT have an agenda for you. Unlike friends and family who can be so well-meaning but who can still often have biases and unconscious agendas for you, your therapist will only act as a guide to help you arrive at the answers that feel best to you.
You won’t be alone on this journey. You will have a guide in your therapist.
I’ve been to therapy before but I didn’t like my therapist. Should I try again?
In a nutshell, YES!
Truly, it largely doesn’t matter where your therapist got their degrees from. It mostly doesn’t matter how long they’ve been licensed or what other additional trainings they’ve had.
What matters the most is the quality of the relationship between you and your therapist.
If you have a good relational fit with your therapist, if you feel safe and good and understood by this person, it will be good therapy.
If you haven’t had a positive therapy experience in the past, if you didn’t click with your therapist the last time you tried to go to therapy, it’s absolutely worth still exploring therapy again.
Here at Evergreen, we do screening consult calls with anyone and everyone who reaches out to us so we can assess exactly who the best-fitting therapist for you might be.
If you’re curious about starting therapy again and getting some support, please feel free to reach out to us to set up a complimentary consult call so we can match you with the best therapist for your situation.