Updated: Jul 7
How do people really know when they need therapy? It requires one part insight and one part desperation. The difference between you and the person who won’t consider counseling is your Superpower: Awareness. Most of the time when people see a therapist, they realize that they have been handling issues poorly for quite some time and are desperate for things to change and heal. It doesn’t always require an emotional emergency. Counseling can become a lifeline for people who feel at a loss to conquer whatever they’re struggling with. One of the things that makes it difficult when people enter counseling from this space, is that people feel defeated and have a certain amount of powerlessness over their mental health concerns.
So how can you determine if you need counseling? I guess it's probably best to start off by acknowledging that everyone can benefit from counseling. Even if you feel like you can manage every situation and emotion in your life well, you can still gain insights about yourself and learn more skills for managing your life. Counseling doesn’t have to be something you only seek if things are going wrong. A counselor can serve as a sounding board to process, check-in, and ensure you are addressing any issues to the best of your ability. It's kind of like going to a doctor for an annual check-up. Except I can promise there will be no phalanges in any orifices.
There are some signs that you may need counseling for more than a check-up though. The main sign is a significant adverse change in how you’re handling your life. Or, if you’ve been dealing with the mental health issue long term, you can’t really remember a time when you handled various aspects of your life well. We describe this clinically as an impairment in functioning.
Other signs that you may need to get some help:
feeling overwhelmed by even little things, getting irritated over little things,
and thoughts of harming yourself or someone else.
Clearly, that isn’t a comprehensive list of every potential thing that could be a sign that you need counseling. Truly, if you aren’t happy with something about your life and don’t have a solution for it, getting counseling could be super helpful for you. Really, you have nothing to lose from getting counseling, you can always walk out and never come back. No one needs to know you were there, but you possibly have something to gain.
If in crisis:
Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor
Free 24/7 support at your fingertips
US and Canada: text 741741
UK: text 85258 | Ireland: text 50808
If in need of emotional support but unable to access counseling or are financially unable?
SAMHSA’s National Helpline –
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