Updated: Oct 30, 2020
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 go 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 a certain amount of powerlessness to 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 negative change to 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 where 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: not sleeping well, not eating well, not taking care of your hygiene, feeling like your thoughts are racing and you can’t control them, 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:
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