Is Therapy Right for Me? 8 Signs You Should Seek Counseling

Defocused urban night sceneIn our fast-paced society, more and more people find it challenging to juggle unrealistic work and home life demands. We frequently have to deal with high levels of daily stress, which negatively affects our physical and mental health. Many of our most common physical ailments, such as headaches, digestive problems, high blood pressure, insomnia, and an impaired immune system, can in many cases be attributed to stress. The same is true for many of our psychological issues, including anger, irritability, depression, and anxiety.

Finding ways to lower our stress levels is therefore extremely important for our overall health. Eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep, and meditating on a regular basis are all factors that can contribute to a more balanced lifestyle. When these self-care techniques fail to help us to feel better, seeking help from a third party may be beneficial.

Some of the signs that might indicate therapy could be helpful in your situation include the following:

  1. Feeling sad and unmotivated. If you have had feelings of hopelessness, decreased energy, sadness, irritability, thoughts of suicide, feel overwhelmed and unable to cope, or are no longer finding pleasure in activities you used to enjoy, you may be dealing with depression and may benefit from talking to a professional.
  2. Excessive worry. If you feel as though your anxiety is interfering with your ability to do normal activities and/or you are unable to sleep at night due to ongoing rumination about your difficulties, you may want to consider seeking help.
  3. Trauma or abuse. If you have experienced any type of traumatic event or abusive relationship, coming to terms with your experience by talking to an empathic other can be extremely helpful. Trauma and abuse can leave long-term scars that, if left untreated, can negatively impact your life, relationships, and ability to experience joy or happiness.
  4. Relationship problems. If your relationship has become unfulfilling and you feel you are no longer able to communicate effectively with your significant other, seeking out couples counseling can be a helpful step in getting your relationship back on track.
  5. Difficult life transitions. We all face difficult life situations at times–the loss of a job, a move to a new city, a divorce, or the loss of a loved one. When difficulties such as these arise and you find it difficult to move on, talking with a therapist can be an effective way to process your feelings and work through any lingering grief.
  6. Addictions. If you are struggling with any type of addictionsubstance abuse, an eating disorder, gambling, or sex addiction—this could be a sign you are trying to cope with unresolved issues or feelings in unhealthy and inappropriate ways and may obtain benefit from professional help.
  7. Obsessive or compulsive behaviors. If you are spending too much time double checking to make sure you have turned off the stove, obsessively washing your hands, or are consumed by compulsive thoughts, receiving therapy could be extremely beneficial in getting your life in order.
  8. Children excessively acting out. If your child or children have been misbehaving and you are at your wit’s end trying to figure out what to do, talking with a professional who has experience with children’s issues can be helpful. A therapist can frequently provide you with some additional parenting tools to make your life easier.

In addition to helping with the issues above and others, obtaining professional help may provide you with more insight and awareness. Although it can sometimes feel scary to take the first step to reach out, reducing your symptoms and learning to cope in healthier ways can make doing so more than worthwhile.

© Copyright 2015 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Wendy Salazar, MFT, therapist in San Diego, California

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • MaryCatherine

    November 30th, 2015 at 10:15 AM

    I have to say that I feel the most pressure to act but the least motivation to act this time of the year.
    There is something about everything that is going on aorund me that while it energizes certain people it leaves me feeling worthless and dragging.
    I’m not sure if it is the season or if it is something else but it is like clockwork pretty much every year.

  • Jillaina

    November 30th, 2015 at 2:58 PM

    I feel like this is one of the most important decisions that you could ever make in your life. It might not feel like it is the easiest conclusion to come to, but you know what? You can learn more about yourself in one or two therapy sessions than you may have ever learned in your life without it. That has been my personal experience with it anyway, and I would never want to change that even though some of what I have learned has been tough to accept. But hey, I’m still here and still me, maybe even a better version of me than I was before.

  • tehehe

    December 1st, 2015 at 9:49 AM

    next time my sisters kids are here being rowdy I ll tell her to go to therapy hahaha question is would she listen? probably not! Little sister never right

  • Creed

    December 2nd, 2015 at 9:13 AM

    And usually it’s the ones who DO need it are the ones least likely to listen and go!

  • camille

    December 3rd, 2015 at 2:56 PM

    You are going to be the only one who truly knows whether this is the right step for you to take.
    I know that it can feel scary, thinking about laying it all out there on the line for someone else to see and hear.
    But if true understanding and healing is what you seek, I would much rather do that with someone who has experience in guiding others through that kind of transition.
    Hard? Yes
    Worth it? Yes

  • lo

    December 5th, 2015 at 7:37 AM

    When I first graduated from college and got a job in a larger city I was so excited because I just knew that this was going to be that start of something grand for me in my life.
    But I was so wrong. I had a very hard time making this adjustment to being so far away from what I still considered to be home, had a hard time managing the move, the stress, and I guess in many ways the loneliness of being on my own. Eventually things fell into place but I probably could have used a little helping hand at that time but never evener thought about going into therapy and seeking a little help that way.
    I wish that I would have, it probably would have made the whole transition a lot smoother for me.

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