I am often asked by friends and family members if I think they should go to therapy for various concerns they have. My answer is usually, “it depends.” One of the biggest factors that will determine what you get out of therapy is whether you are motivated to work on yourself, including increasing your self-awareness and changing behaviors that are no longer serving you.
There are many different types of therapy available, and many different types of therapists to choose from. Research has found time and time again that the factor that most influences whether you will see good results from therapy is your relationship with your therapist. This means that when you are looking for a therapist it is so important to find someone that seems like a good fit for your personality, and someone that you feel truly comfortable with.
Therapy can be a great option for improving your mood, relationships, and overall functioning at work, school, and home. However, it’s something that you need to be ready to invest the time, money, and energy into.
Sometimes people hold off on going to therapy because they want to try to handle what they are going through on their own. They may also not know the warning signs of different mental health conditions, or they’ve heard stereotypes about therapy over the years that are keeping them away. Sometimes people don’t need therapy in order to deal with what they are going through; however, sometimes it would help make that struggle a lot easier to deal with.
Do You Need Therapy?
People use therapy for different reasons. Some people go to therapy as an act of self-care and use it in order to maintain a healthy mental state. Others go when they notice emotional or behavioral problems that are causing them distress.
The American Psychological Association suggests that an individual can benefit from therapy when something is causing enough distress in their lives to interfere with the way they live. As you might expect, that looks different for everyone.
For example, you might have feelings of anxiety sometimes that you try to control and keep inside. You are still able to get through your day, but you’ve noticed the anxiety impacting your life more and more. Therapy can be a good option when:
- The things that you are worrying about are on your mind for several hours a day.
- You want to avoid others (including people you care about) because of the anxiety.
- You have tried to develop your own coping techniques, but they aren’t working for you anymore.
- Your quality of life has decreased.
If you feel controlled by your symptoms, therapy is a great option. It can help you take control again and learn how to manage your symptoms in a safe, healthy way.
A Better Way to Cope
Everyone tries to find ways to deal with uncomfortable emotions when they come up. Some coping mechanisms are helpful. Others are harmful.
Therapy can take you beyond just trying to cope with the negative feelings. Once you’re able to get to the root of an issue with a therapist, you can learn the skills needed to resolve the problems that are causing the symptoms in the first place.
As a result, you might start to feel less overwhelmed and less fatigued. Feelings of fear and/or hopelessness may fade. While therapy isn’t some kind of “quick fix” or instant cure for any mental health condition, it puts you back in the driver’s seat of your own mental health. Therapy can be a great strengthening tool to help you work through your symptoms, rather than trying to make them disappear overnight.
If you’re still on the fence about whether therapy is right for you, feel free to contact me. We can discuss any questions you have about whether therapy might be a good choice for you and your current situation.