People go to counseling and therapy for a variety of reasons. Often, people seek therapy for the first time because someone close to them--a family member, friend, or doctor--has suggested they get help. Others seek counseling because they have identified specific goals or issues that they wish to work on. In some cases, a person may be mandated to attend therapy as part of a court ruling or by a parent or guardian (if the person is a minor).
A common misconception is that people who go to therapy are "crazy." On the contrary, having a mental health condition is no different than having a physical ailment; there need not be shame in seeking treatment. Also, most therapy clients are people struggling with common, everyday issues. There is virtually no "right" or "wrong" reason to enlist the help of a mental health professional. The help of the right therapist can promote self-actualization, empower self-growth, improve relationships, and reduce emotional suffering. A therapist or counselor is there to work with clients collaboratively on whatever is most distressing or important to them. Often in therapy, a client and the therapist will explore much more than just the client's initial presenting problem--that is, the main problem that brought the client to therapy. Together, the client and the therapist will decide the goals of therapy, and if the therapy should be short- or long-term.
Want to learn more about why people go to therapy? The following is a list of some issues commonly treated in therapy: