How to Know When It’s Time to See a Therapist

At some point in your life, you may have considered the idea of seeing a therapist. Truth be told, you’re not alone. Many individuals out there have come to understand the benefits of undergoing mental health counseling and are thinking of trying it. However, perhaps you’ve either talked yourself out of therapy or told yourself, “This is just a phase. My problem will go away on its own over time,” but has it? 

Given that you’re reading this specific article, going to therapy is probably the best step for you to take. If you keep trying to convince yourself that you don’t need therapy but are still wondering if it’s suitable for you, then you should know that it won’t hurt you to give it a shot.

So when should you approach a therapist? Keep in mind that you don’t have to be diagnosed with a mental health issue to do it. In a nutshell, if something’s bothering you or you simply need someone to talk to, then that’s good enough of a reason to try therapy. Read on to discover how to know when it’s time to see a therapist.

Image from Pixabay by RobbinHiggins

Definite Signs It’s Time to See a Therapist

Because of hardships and challenges you might encounter, balancing your responsibilities at home and at work or dealing with the usual daily stressors can be confusing. They could be overwhelming, too, negatively affecting other aspects of your life. With that said, here are some indications that you’ll most likely benefit from working with a therapist:

You’re Extremely Stressed

Life is filled with stressful moments, and every day you may have to face them. If stress isn’t appropriately addressed, it can lead to being moody, irritable, short-tempered, or frantic. Additionally, it may cause emotional distress, intense emotions, negative thinking patterns, substance abuse, or mental health problems.

If you need help to manage stress, therapy can help. Licensed mental health care providers would be able to guide you in managing all kinds of stressors. You can either search for one online or ask relatives or friends for recommendations.

You’re Having a Hard Time Controlling Your Emotions

Does your anxiety or anger spiral out of control to the point that it affects your relationships with loved ones? If that’s the case, it’d do you a world of good to talk to a therapist to help you figure out why the situation’s happening in the first place.

Perhaps you’re facing issues you’re trying to suppress, or you can’t seem to pinpoint what’s stressing you out. You can sort out such matters with a therapist. With their help, you’ll learn how to handle your emotions in order to have healthy relationships with everyone around you.

You Resort to Bad Coping Mechanisms

If you rely on bad coping mechanisms like drinking or binge eating whenever you’re stressed or fatigued, then therapy can introduce you to positive coping strategies. While it’s fine to unwind after a long day by having a glass of wine, if you reach for an alcoholic drink every time you feel tense and then it becomes a daily routine, then you might end up with substance abuse issues.

Negative coping mechanisms would only worsen the situation. What’s more, drinking too much can lead to mental health conditions such as substance abuse disorder or, worse, depression. So if life challenges have become unbearable and you’re not sure how to overcome them the healthy way, don’t be afraid to consult a therapist.

You’re Struggling to Reach Your Goals

Do you think something’s hindering you from achieving your goals? Are you struggling to be the best version of yourself? Perhaps there’s an underlying mental health condition like depression that’s stopping you from reaching your full potential. Remember that some mental health issues may not trigger physical symptoms; rather, they manifest in your emotional state or behavioral patterns. That’s why you might not realize right away that you have them.

Don’t let your problems or issues get in the way of your success. With a therapist, you can discuss whatever it is that’s bothering you and blocking you from reaching your goals. Therapy can help you if you have motivational problems or your perfectionism prevents you from making significant progress. Additionally, if you feel stuck or have the tendency to procrastinate, conversing with a therapist may help you move forward with ease.

You Have Relationship Problems

If you’ve just gone through a breakup or divorce, are having marriage problems, experience sibling rivalry, or find it hard to navigate interpersonal relationships, a therapist can help you. 

Relationship problems aren’t uncommon, especially in families or marriages. What they often have in common is a lack of communication and compromise. Furthermore, especially in married couples, both parties need to learn problem-solving, acknowledge each other’s feelings, and accept each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

A therapist can assist you and the other person in working out relationship problems, keeping your current relationship in check, and establishing respectful boundaries.

You Want to Be More Self-Aware

Self-awareness is the ability to focus on your actions, thoughts, and emotions. If you’re highly self-aware, you can evaluate yourself objectively, manage your emotions, align your behavior with your values, and understand how others perceive you.

If this is a trait you’d like to develop, you can do so by turning to a therapist. A trained professional will enable you to discover the possible reasons that you have trouble regulating your emotions and have self-limiting beliefs. Most importantly, they’ll make it possible for you to have a higher level of cognitive processing.

You’re Going Through Some Difficult Life Changes

Did you just lose your job or move to another city? Maybe parenthood’s starting to take a toll on you, or a loved one’s physical health is slowly declining, causing you to worry about them night and day. No matter how challenging the life changes or transition you’re struggling with, a clinical psychologist or a counselor can make things easier for you.

A therapist will help you navigate big transitions, adopt positive coping skills, and keep your mental well-being intact even in the most trying situations. After several sessions, you’ll be more emotionally and mentally prepared for the changes you’re going through or about to go through. That way, in the future, you’ll be able to handle whatever curveball life throws at you.

You’re in Dire Need of Parenting Support

Parenting is tough, especially since it’s a 24/7 job. You need to work to support your children’s needs and put food on the table, and you have to ensure that they receive as much love and care as possible.

There’s no crash course on being a parent. That’s why it’s understandable if sometimes you just want to break down and hide in a closet out of frustration and exhaustion.

Should you be feeling that way right now, take a few deep breaths and relax. There’s a solution to every problem, and one route you can take is to undergo therapy. In doing so, you’ll get the chance to talk about your parenting concerns and learn what you can do about them based on your circumstances.

Your kids deserve nothing but the best, but you have to look after yourself, too. A counselor or therapist can provide you with parenting support if you’re a single parent, having difficulty raising a child with an illness, or struggling to cope with your home life.

You Need Help Overcoming a Traumatic Event

No one wishes to go through a horrifying life event, but of course, nobody can control the future, either. If you recently experienced a traumatic event like a car accident or witnessed something disturbing, a therapist is undoubtedly needed for you to recover. What you’re going through could be post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is a disorder that develops in individuals who experience traumatic, scary, or dangerous events. They experience persistent flashbacks or nightmares of what happened to them, which impacts their behavior. For instance, a person who’s had a car accident may refuse to drive again out of intense fear. A therapist can help you overcome a traumatic situation and guide you in moving on with a positive disposition in life.

Your Mood Is Affecting Your Work and Relationships

Do people often tell you that you’re moody and unpredictable even though you don’t have premenstrual syndrome or PMS (for women) or you’re not hangry (hungry + angry)? If you’ve noticed that you’re cranky all the time despite having no reason to be, it’s probably time to speak to a therapist.

You might be experiencing mood changes because you’re overstressed or have an underlying mental illness. Should your moodiness get in the way of your work or relationships, then you have to find a way to manage your emotions. That’s what a clinical psychologist or therapist can help you with.

Your Mental Health Issues Are Impacting Your Appetite or Sleep

Do you sleep too much yet still feel exhausted all day? Do you keep tossing and turning at night because your mind can’t seem to stop running? Sleeping too much or too little could be a cry for help.

On the same note, suppose it’s your appetite that’s become different. If you’re eating too much because of stress, or if you have no appetite because you’re struggling emotionally, then it’s a must to consult a therapist.

Any unexplainable changes in your sleeping or eating habits have to be assessed by a mental health professional. Therapy can help people who are suffering from insomnia or eating disorders.

You’ve Lost Interest in Activities You Used to Enjoy

Do you love outdoor activities but have stopped going on adventures because you’ve been feeling down for a while? If you suddenly lose interest in your favorite activities or hobbies, it’s a good idea to see a therapist.

It’s normal to change hobbies or jump from one pleasurable activity to another, but if you completely lose interest in all the activities that make you happy, that may be a sign of a more serious issue. One big possibility is depression.

A therapist can help you uncover the reasons you no longer want to partake in certain activities and, eventually, get your life back on track. Together, you and your therapist will create a plan to incorporate hobbies back into your daily life. It’s ideal for a person to have hobbies or pastimes because they make for a healthy mind and allow for both productivity and fun.

You Feel Sad Most of the Time

Do you feel sad for no reason, and it’s been going on for a long time now? When your sadness starts to take a toll on your psychological well-being and affect your work performance and family relationships, consider seeking help.

Perhaps you’re having problems with your low self-esteem or other factors like work pressure or a recent negative experience. Or you feel as though something’s missing in your life, but you can’t determine what it is.

A good therapist will be able to teach you how to pay more attention to your feelings so you can take action accordingly. In time, you’ll improve the quality of your life, make the right changes, and develop a positive mindset. Life’s too short to dwell on sadness, and going to therapy means choosing to be happy.

You Suspect You Have Symptoms of Mental Illness

If you have symptoms of a mental illness, be it low energy, extreme mood changes, or even hearing voices, then that’s a sure sign that you require mental health therapy. Anything that doesn’t feel normal anymore has to be addressed immediately.

Take charge and seek treatment from a mental health professional if you don’t understand what you’re experiencing or can’t figure out what’s going on in your mind. The key to recovering from a mental health illness is early intervention.


When Should You Seek Help From Mental Health Professionals?

Talk to a mental health expert if you’ve been in a depressed mood for more than two weeks. The same is true if your persistent sadness interferes with your ability to perform well at work or in school.

How Long Does It Take to Know if a Therapist Is Right for You?

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), it takes about 15 to 20 sessions to know if your therapist is a good match for you. Furthermore, you should be able to notice the positive impacts of counseling after a month or so.

Where to Seek Therapy

If you’re still on the fence about opening up to a therapist regarding your problems, first of all, what do you have to lose? Secondly, you probably googled “how to know when it’s time to see a therapist” and found this post, which could mean that deep inside, you recognize that therapy is a viable solution to the issue you’re struggling with.

Don’t think twice and schedule a therapy session at Counseling Now. We offer online counseling for Ohio and Kentucky residents. From booking an appointment to attending live therapy sessions, all you need is a stable internet connection and your device of choice. Start making changes for the better with the help of Counseling Now.

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