Why Should I Go to Therapy? 8 Signs It’s Time to See a Therapist

GoodTherapy | 8 Signs You Should See a Therapist

Is it Time to See a Therapist? Probably!

It’s time to see a therapist. Psychotherapy, talk or talking therapy, counseling, or simply therapy — no matter the name it’s known by, mental health counseling can benefit people struggling with emotional difficulties, life challenges, and mental health concerns.

Why Therapy?

Therapy can help improve symptoms of many mental health conditions. In therapy, people can learn to cope with symptoms that may not respond to treatment right away. Research shows the benefits of therapy last longer than medication alone. Medication can reduce some symptoms of mental health conditions, but therapy teaches people skills to address many symptoms on their own. These skills last after therapy ends, and symptoms may continue to improve with therapist touch bases.

How Common are Mental Health Issues?

Mental health issues are common. Recent statistics from the National Alliance on Mental Health show 1 out of every 5 American adults lives with a mental health condition, while 1 in 20 adults experience a serious mental health condition each year. 1 in 6 U.S. youth age 6-17 experience a mental health disorder.

But only about 40% of people with mental health issues get help. Untreated mental health issues often get worse and may have other negative effects. They could also lead to:

  • Inability to work or go to school
  • Difficulty in relationships or taking care of children
  • Increased risk of health issues
  • Hospitalization
  • Suicide

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people in the United States between the ages of 10 and 34. About 90% of people who die by suicide in the U.S. lived with a mental health condition.

The best option for anyone contemplating suicide is to get immediate help is reaching out to a suicide helpline through phone, text message, or online chat. You may be encouraged to call or visit the nearest emergency room. A therapist can help support you going forward, once you are no longer in crisis.

Do I “Need” Therapy?

It may be difficult to watch a loved one deal with mental health challenges, but telling someone that they should go to therapy or that they need therapy can be stigmatizing or confrontational.

Encouraging someone you care about to look into possible therapy options, even offering to review potential therapists with them, is generally a good way to show support. People who feel forced into therapy may feel resistant and find it harder to put in the work needed to make change.

When any type of mental health or emotional concern affects daily life and function, therapy may be recommended. Therapy can help you learn about what you’re feeling, why you might be feeling it, and how to cope.

Therapy also offers a safe place to talk through life challenges such as breakups, grief, parenting difficulties,  COVID impacts, or family struggles. For example, couples counseling can help you and your partner work through relationship troubles and learn new ways of relating to each other. Note that crisis resources, not couples counseling, are typically recommended for abusive relationships.

The GoodTherapy registry might be helpful to you. We have thousands of therapists listed with us who would love to walk with you on your journey. Find the support you need today!

When Should I Consider Therapy?

It may take some consideration before you decide you’re ready for therapy. You might want to wait and see if time, lifestyle changes, or the support of friends and family improves whatever you’re struggling with.

The American Psychological Association suggests you consider a time to see a therapist when something causes distress and interferes with some part of life, particularly when:

  • Thinking about or coping with the issue takes up at least an hour each day
  • The issue causes embarrassment or makes you want to avoid others
  • The issue has caused your quality of life to decrease
  • The issue has negatively affected school, work, or relationships
  • You’ve made changes in your life or developed habits to cope with the issue

If you experience any of the following emotions or feelings to the extent that they interfere with life, therapy may help you reduce their effects. It’s especially important to consider it’s time to see a therapist if you feel controlled by symptoms or if they could cause harm to yourself or others.

Possible signs you need to see a therapist

  1. Overwhelmed. You might feel like you have too many things to do or too many issues to cope with. You might feel like you can’t rest or even breathe. Stress and being overwhelmed can lead to serious physical health concerns.
  2. Fatigue. This physical symptom often results from or accompanies mental health issues. It can indicate depression. Fatigue can cause you to sleep more than usual or have trouble getting out of bed in the morning.
  3. Disproportionate rage, anger, or resentment. Everyone feels anger at times. Even passing rage isn’t necessarily harmful. Seeking support to deal with these feelings may be a good idea when they don’t pass, are extreme compared to the situation, or if they lead you to take violent or potentially harmful actions.
  4. Agoraphobia. People with agoraphobia fear being in places where they might experience panic attacks or become trapped. Some people may become unable to leave their houses.
  5. Anxious or intrusive thoughts. It’s normal to worry about things from time to time, but when worry takes up a significant part of your day or causes physical symptoms, therapy can help you deal with it.
  6. Apathy. Losing interest in usual activities, the world around you, or life in general can indicate mental health issues like depression or anxiety.
  7. Hopelessness. Losing hope or motivation, or feeling as if you have no future, can indicate depression or another mental health condition. Feeling hopeless from time to time, especially after a period of difficulty, isn’t uncommon. But when it persists, it may lead to thoughts of suicide.
  8. Social withdrawal. Many people feel better when they’re able to spend at least some time alone. Introverted people may need even more time alone than others. But if you feel distressed around others or fear being with other people, therapy can help you understand and deal with these feelings.

What If I’ve Already Tried Therapy and It Didn’t Work?

Sometimes therapy doesn’t “work” right away. Even in an ideal therapy situation, it can take time for symptoms to improve. – months or years. Going to therapy and seeing no change may cause frustration. Perhaps you haven’t found the right therapist, so it’s worth it to continue your search for help. If you’re still experiencing any of the symptoms above, therapy should still be an option. Don’t stop your quest to improve your mental health.

It can help to look for a therapist who treats what you’re experiencing. If you don’t have a diagnosis, you can talk to potential therapists about your symptoms. Most therapists will let you know if they’re able to treat your concern. If they can’t, they may be able to recommend someone who can.

Keep in mind different approaches may be better for different issues. If you didn’t feel heard in your previous therapy, or if your symptoms have changed since your last therapy session, a different therapist might be exactly what you to move forward.

What are the Benefits to Seeking Therapy?

If you’re considering therapy, you may be thinking about the possible drawbacks. Cost might be a concern for you. You might also be aware that therapy is often difficult. Trauma or other painful events from the past can be frightening to remember and discuss with someone. Working through challenges isn’t easy, and therapy isn’t always a quick fix. Make sure that when you’re ready to see a therapist that you can be honest with yourself and with your them.

But if you’re willing to do the work, therapy can be rewarding. It’s a safe, judgment-free space where you can share anything, with a trained professional who is there to help.

Here are a few benefits of therapy:

  • You’ll learn more about yourself. Therapists listen to your story and help you make connections. They might offer guidance or recommendations if you feel lost. Therapy can empower you to take action on your own.
  • Therapy can help you achieve your goals. If you aren’t sure of what your goals are, therapy can help you clarify them and set realistic steps to meet them.
  • Therapy can help you have more fulfilling relationships. Whether you’re single or in a relationship, therapy can help you address difficulties relating to others, such as insecurity in relationships or difficulty trusting your partners.
  • You’re more likely to have better health. Research supports a link between mind and body wellness. Untreated mental health issues can impact physical wellness. On the other hand, people in good emotional health may be more able to deal with physical health issues that arise.
  • Therapy can lead to improvement in all areas of life. If you feel like something is holding you back from living life as you envision it, therapy can help you address this. When you aren’t sure what’s keeping you from making change, therapy can help you discover the answer.


Even if you aren’t sure you want to commit to therapy, many therapists offer a free first session or phone consultation to talk through what you’re dealing with. Based on your symptoms, they might encourage you to get help. Begin your search for a therapist today!

If you believe you may need help beyond or in addition to a therapist, GoodTherapy Recovery Treatment Centers provide additional options to help beat addictions.


[Original article submitted by Crystal Raypol]


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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.

  • Leave a Comment
  • Sam W.

    April 29th, 2019 at 9:25 PM

    It’s good to know that going under therapy is way more effective in treating some mental health conditions than taking medication. I will talk to my mom about bringing our eldest brother into counseling. My brother has some intense anxiety disorder. He sometimes reacts violently to things. Hopefully, by taking him to an adult counselling can help improve his mental health.

  • s

    November 19th, 2023 at 8:46 PM


  • Onah

    August 18th, 2019 at 5:55 AM

    I am having emotional problems. I just need a therapy in my life right now.

  • The GoodTherapy Team

    August 18th, 2019 at 9:55 AM

    Hi Onah,

    Thanks for your comment. If you would like to consult with a mental health professional, please feel free to return to our homepage, http://www.goodtherapy.org/, and enter your postal/zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area. If you’re looking for a counselor that practices a specific type of therapy, or who deals with specific concerns, you can make an advanced search by clicking here: http://www.goodtherapy.org/advanced-search.html

    Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. From this list, you can click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information.

    The GoodTherapy Blog can also be a valuable resource for finding some of the information you are looking for. Please feel free to browse our thousands of mental health and therapy-related articles.

    If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, in danger of hurting yourself or others, feeling suicidal, overwhelmed, or in crisis, it’s very important that you get immediate help! Information about what to do in a crisis is available here: http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

  • Dennis

    October 14th, 2019 at 1:37 PM

    I appreciate you sharing this information on what to look for when trying to decide if you need to visit a therapist or not. I have been feeling very down lately. Visiting a therapist seems like it would help me a lot.

  • Lloyd

    November 25th, 2019 at 8:05 AM

    It was helpful that you mentioned in your article how pursuing therapy can be beneficial in order to learn more about yourself and help you in determining what steps you need to take to better yourself. My wife and I are considering pursuing counseling services in order to improve our relationship with one another. We’ll look into different therapy options to see which would be best for our individual personalities.

  • Anonymous

    December 12th, 2019 at 11:52 AM

    I like how you mentioned that therapy can assist in improving mental conditions. My sister is thinking about contacting a family counselor because she feels that her marriage could be stronger. It seems like a good investment to seek a reputable professional who has the experience to help strengthen my sister’s relationship.

  • Charlotte

    February 10th, 2020 at 4:13 PM

    Thank you for explaining that if you feel overwhelmed to the point of feeling like you can’t rest it might be time to seek help. My mom has been having a lot of difficulties adjusting to her new lifestyle post-divorce. I think she should find a good psychologist who has experience with patients going through a divorce who can help her.

  • Lyla

    February 25th, 2020 at 7:59 AM

    I’m glad you mentioned that excessive anxiety or worry and intrusive thoughts can be reduced through therapy. I have been experiencing a lot of social anxiety over the past 6 months, and it is starting to heavily distract me while I’m at work. It sounds like I should definitely look into my local therapy options.

  • Kylie

    February 28th, 2020 at 10:05 AM

    Love this… especially the part about how sometimes it doesn’t work for some people, or some disorders. But I do think too many people stay away from therapy because they just don’t know what to expect! I did a whole podcast episode on this in the hopes that with more information, people would be more likely to make an appointment!

  • Faiza

    February 29th, 2020 at 12:26 PM

    Thankyou so much for this topic! Need help for someone who is just withering away and it’s painful to watch someone who is your beloved child and family.

  • Jesse

    March 10th, 2020 at 11:26 AM

    I like how you mentioned that if mental health issues are left untreated, then they might get worse and have some other negative side effects. My brother is considering looking for a mental health counselor because he noticed last week that he would have a psychological breakdown while at work due to the stress level of his job. I think it’s a good idea to consider hiring a reputable professional that can help him get his mind back on track in order to perform his tasks while working and not be stressed.

  • Liz

    March 24th, 2020 at 11:27 AM

    I like how you mentioned that a loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy can be a sign of a mental health issue like depression. I used to love drawing and playing video games, but for the past six months, I have been feeling apathetic and fatigued and only want to sleep all day. It sounds like therapy would be a good choice for me at this point.

  • Thomas

    April 20th, 2020 at 3:16 PM

    I appreciate you helping me to understand that it is important to see a therapist if something is causing your quality of life to decrease. My wife has been struggling with a lot of anxiety ever since she became pregnant and we can’t use medications to help her feel better. It seems like it would be a really good idea for us to find a counselor that she can visit.

  • Levi

    April 27th, 2020 at 6:00 PM

    I love that you said people who are suffering from mental health issues must seek help themselves. I agree that we must not push them to get help because they might feel stigmatized or pressured to get better, which would make it harder for them to accept help. My brother, who served in the army, is having recurring anxiety and panic attacks. I’m afraid he might be suffering from PTSD. I’ll gently tell him that I could help him look for mental health services that could help him understand his feelings and anxieties. Thank you so much for your article.

  • megan

    July 22nd, 2020 at 9:33 AM

    I appreciate that you elaborated on this article about the reasons for going to therapy and how it can even help with goal achievement to o clarify them and set a realistic path to get there. I’ve been struggling for the past three years with my emotions, goals, and how I feel about achieving them. I will definitely take into consideration what you said and will start looking for a therapist near me.

  • Zoe

    October 5th, 2020 at 8:44 AM

    Thanks for telling me that it is about time to consult a professional if my negative thoughts are consuming more than an hour of my day. I spend a lot of sleepless nights just pondering on sad memories and I’m afraid that there might be something wrong with me. I hope I can easily find a counselor that can help me improve the condition of my mental health.

  • Leo

    November 23rd, 2020 at 6:36 AM

    A Warning-May of the issues mentioned in the article could also be signs of high functioning autism. Therapists are rarely able to recognize this syndrome-which absolutely, 100% does not respond to therapy at all. However you could have it. How would you know? Believe me from experience, your therapist will not know. So maybe think about that for a minute before you undergo therapy that can waste years of your life is you are autistic.

  • Mike

    December 7th, 2020 at 6:33 PM

    Thank you for this article.

  • Angela

    April 20th, 2021 at 12:42 PM

    My favorite part of the article is when you said that therapy can improve all aspects of a person’s life since it helps you to move forward from anything that may be holding you back. My brother is a very outgoing person but lately, he’s been so withdrawn and quiet ever since he failed a class. I think he will benefit greatly from going to therapy and I hope he gets the help that he needs the soonest he can.

  • anonymous

    May 13th, 2021 at 4:42 AM

    Many of the comments on this blog are written in the same style and seem like a sales pitch from the authors of this blog. For instance, multiple people wrote: “I like how you mentioned….”.

  • Dr K.

    June 12th, 2021 at 3:13 AM

    I want counseling for loneliness, anxiety depression, insomnia, emotional insecurities, lack of confidence in professional work, I am aged 58

  • Sara GT

    June 14th, 2021 at 7:01 AM

    Dear K., If you think counseling with a therapist makes sense, you can start finding a mental health professional in your location by entering your city or ZIP code into the search field on this page: https://www.goodtherapy.org/find-therapist.html. Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. You may click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. If you need help finding a therapist, you are welcome to call us. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Mountain Time, and our phone number is 888-563-2112 ext 3. Kind regards, The GoodTherapy Team

  • Lou DM

    August 22nd, 2021 at 12:50 PM

    I feel I need a therapist after just about every visit from my sister who comes for a few days once a year and lives about 2,000 miles away. She’s 14 years younger than me (I’m 71 / she’s 57) and I am left feeling like she feels she’s better than me, more intelligent than me and more ‘with it’ than me. She can be condescending, inconsiderate and has a number of tactics (e.g. age shaming) to manipulate me into doing what she wants. For example, we visited someone in the evening and when I suggested it was time to go she loudly proclaimed “oh, we’ve got a senior in the house!”. I feel bad about myself weeks after she leaves and am considering pretending to be away during her time here next year. Just don’t want to go through this anymore. Alhough my feelings will eventually pass, I just need to talk to someone to know whether or not my feelings are justified or I’m overly sensitive.

  • Andres

    September 24th, 2021 at 11:02 AM

    Thanks, this really helped and was very informative. I really apreciate it.

  • Jacob

    June 21st, 2022 at 1:04 PM

    Do not call the suicide hotline. They will call the police on you, and make your situation a lot worse and you could end up with felony charges, and rotting in prison when the cops decide you were threatening them or you’re black.

  • Eli

    June 24th, 2022 at 12:22 PM

    Last week, I talked with my sister about what happened with her ex-boyfriend, and I’m really worried about how she’s handling it all. It really helped when you described how feelings and experiences could affect our daily activities and what to do if that happens, so I think it’s time I speak to my sister about therapy. Thanks for the information on knowing when it’s time to seek a therapist’s help.

  • Dana

    September 21st, 2022 at 3:44 AM

    Therapy is quite an education. It also provides intellectual stimulus that is lacking in my menial employment. Therapists deny it, but it sometimes has the feeling of them being one’s paid friend for 50 minutes. Getting back to my first sentence, talk therapy hasn’t worked for me in over 30 years. It’s an education but it scratches the surface but merely makes a dent. Of course I’m in the small minority for whom it does not work and my titrated meds have plateaued with me being suicidal on rare occasions. Readers of this, or any site should realize that there is NO, THAT IS TO SAY, NO cure for depression. It may only keep it at bay.

  • Someone

    December 20th, 2022 at 1:22 PM

    I have a really low self-esteem and i feel like nobody cares about me and i would be ready to cut everybody off of my life right now. What does that mean??? Idk sometimes im happy but i feel like im just burying my feelings.

  • Tohnain

    February 26th, 2023 at 8:31 PM

    I’m also suffering from dippression , too many disappointments , hatred

  • Charlotte

    February 27th, 2023 at 12:39 PM

    Dear Tohnain, talking to someone when you feel this way can be helpful. To find a therapist with experience in depression, please enter your city or ZIP code into the search field on this page: https://www.goodtherapy.org/find-therapist.html. Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. You may click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. Please reach out directly if you need help finding a therapist. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Mountain Time, and our phone number is 888-563-2112 ext 3. Kind regards, The GoodTherapy Team

  • Treasure

    March 11th, 2023 at 2:45 AM

    I’m dieding everyday in senilct please

  • Charlotte

    March 16th, 2023 at 1:01 PM

    Dear Treasure, that sounds really difficult and I understand how talking to someone might be helpful. To find a therapist in your area, please enter your city or ZIP code into the search field on this page: https://www.goodtherapy.org/find-therapist.html. Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. You may click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. Please reach out directly if you need help finding a therapist. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Mountain Time, and our phone number is 888-563-2112 ext 3. Kind regards, The GoodTherapy Team

  • Kaleb

    August 1st, 2023 at 4:16 AM

    So I have a hard time telling anyone anything big and I shut down and don’t open up even if sometimes it’s something small that a person makes a decision on and it doesn’t help that I do things at a 4th grade level, no lie

  • Mike

    November 7th, 2023 at 5:33 PM

    I’m a 54 year old male. I was abused as a child by my father but physically and mentally. I’ve never talk to a professional about this. My wife asked me over the years to go and get help. I’m not very good about talking about my self to strangers . Can bringing all those memories back up cause me more harm than good?

  • ALL

    March 8th, 2024 at 7:29 AM

    Great Share. Recognizing the need to consult a therapist is essential to avoid further harm to your well-being and relationship with others. Therapists can provide great help and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

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