Therapy can be a helpful and healing experience for people who are looking to cope with stressors, or just wanting to improve their quality of life. When you consider that 88% of people who have received some form of therapy felt improvements to their condition - even after just one session - it’s clear that therapy can be effective for many people with a variety of concerns.
Do I need therapy?
There are many reasons to see a therapist or counselor. You may need counseling after a traumatic experience, or if you are having difficulty with your relationships. It may be something as simple as just not feeling like yourself.
If you're struggling with unpleasant thoughts or emotions, you may be wondering, "Do I need counseling?" Whatever the reason, therapy can help, in part, because it allows you to share these experiences out loud in a private and safe setting. Something simple, like knowing you are not alone in your experiences, can have a lasting and profound effect on the way you view your life.
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5 reasons to consider seeing a therapist
If you find yourself thinking or saying the following things, it may be time to consider seeing a therapist.
- I have recently experienced a traumatic event, major life change or personal loss.
After experiencing a traumatic event, it's common to feel symptoms such as avoidance, mood disturbances, hyperarousal, and reexperiencing. Trauma counseling can give you the tools to cope with these symptoms and can be very effective in aiding your recovery. Grief counseling can help you cope with a events like the loss of a loved one, the diagnosis of a terminal illness, or divorce. Grief is a common emotional response when a person experiences loss. Grief not only refers to feelings of sadness, but also anger, regret, or guilt. It’s difficult to navigate the grieving process alone. That’s why it’s important to see a therapist if you are finding it difficult to move on.
- I use drugs, alcohol, sex, or other behaviors to cope with everyday stress.
While it’s common for some people to have a beer or glass of wine after a long day or when celebrating, it can become problematic if you engage in this behavior frequently, or to the point that it interferes with your responsibilities and relationships. Risky behavior is a sign of mental illness, and substance abuse or addiction are often co-occurring disorders. These behaviors are unhealthy coping mechanisms. Rather than facing the problem at hand, engaging in risky behaviors like substance and drug abuse means you are avoiding the problem, making it worse.
A therapist who is experienced in treating substance abuse and addiction can teach you healthy coping mechanisms that will allow you to lead a functional life.
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- I don’t feel like myself. My emotions are becoming too much to handle.
Feeling stress is normal. However, feeling emotions so extreme that you are unable to function or take care of everyday responsibilities is a sign of something more.
For example, when a daily activity like waking up for work causes such intense anxiety that you are calling-in sick and your job performance is suffering, it might be time to speak to a therapist to identify the underlying issues that are causing you to panic.
If you are avoiding situations or responsibilities because of how you might feel, or if your emotions are causing you to think of self-harm, then you should seek the help of a therapist as soon as possible. Therapy can help you understand your emotions, find the root cause, and give you tools to cope.
- I can’t find the energy or willingness to do things I used to enjoy.
Sometimes your emotions can be so debilitating that you avoid going out, spending time with friends, or partaking in your favorite hobby. If you find that this is the case, consider speaking to a therapist.
While it’s normal to feel sad or stressed in response to common life experiences, it becomes problematic when it interferes with living your life fully, both in your personal and professional life. If you find yourself unable to get out of bed or wanting to be alone rather than doing the things you typically enjoy, it could be a sign that you are experiencing something more than just sadness or stress. A therapist can help you identify these feelings and work with you on returning to a way of life that you enjoy.
- My relationships are strained. I’m arguing with loved ones and my friendships are suffering.
When we feel unpleasant emotions, the people closest to us also feel the effects. You may find that you are impatient, irritable, or indifferent towards the people that you love. You may lose your temper more easily or find that you don’t want to spend time with them at all. What’s important to know is that what you are feeling is not permanent and may be the cause of something treatable, like depression or anxiety. Consider couples therapy or family counseling to help repair your strained relationships.
Therapy can help you navigate life’s most challenging obstacles. If you are considering speaking with a counselor, we have counseling centers in Central Florida or you can visit our newest counseling center in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Our counselors specialize in individual, family, couples, group, and child therapy. We can help you work towards living a better life.