When should you consider therapy?

When should you consider therapy?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, over 30 million Americans are in need of assistance managing their feelings and problems that seem beyond their control, whether these problems are individual, with a family situation, a marriage or relationship, substance abuse, depression, stress, anxiety, or loss.

While we all have challenging days, you should consider therapy if:

You feel an overwhelming sense of helplessness and your problems don’t seem to be resolving on your own. Tens of millions of Americans seek professional advice every year. Being able to combine your previous attempts at working through your emotions with the perspective of someone who is certified in helping you find a solution is a helpful combination.

You are finding it difficult to carry out everyday activities. If you are having trouble getting out of bed in the morning or completing important tasks like succeeding in work, caring for your children or pets, or caring for yourself, you will likely benefit from speaking with a therapist.

If you worry excessively or feel on edge or anxious. A therapist can help you identify what may be causing your anxiety or nervousness and can help you develop habits and perspective to work through it.

You are taking harmful actions against yourself or others, such as excessive eating or drinking (or not eating enough), abusing drugs, or becoming overly aggressive.

Your body seems to be reacting to stress. If you have unexplained recurrent headaches, body aches, tense muscles, or a chronically upset stomach that can’t be explained by a doctor, there’s a chance these may be signs of carried stress or emotional distress.

Your relationships are strained. If you’re having trouble communicating how you feel or even being able to identify your emotions, you may benefit from seeing an expert. If you find that you dread or feel unhappy during interactions with loved ones on a regular basis, you may want to consider couples or family therapy.

Eight questions to consider when choosing a therapist

Eight questions to consider when choosing a therapist

How does it feel to sit down with the therapist?

Do you feel like you will be comfortable talking about your thoughts and emotions with this person?

Do you trust this person’s wisdom or experience?

When choosing a therapist, you should feel confident in the advice and recommendations they give. If you find yourself questioning much of what your therapist is saying, that person may not be a good fit for your situation.

Are you comfortable asking this therapist questions?

Your relationship with your therapist, regardless of how long or short your relationship lasts, is dependent on having an open two-way communication. If you pick the right therapist for you, you should feel comfortable asking questions or for more information when something doesn’t make sense to you.

Do they offer a free consultation?

A good therapist will be willing to have a 10- or 15- minute phone consultation with you so you can get a feel for whether or not the person will be a right fit.

What sort of process are you looking for?

Are you looking for a therapist who is solutions-focused? Or do you want to take longer to talk through things over a longer period of time?

What is your new therapist’s qualifications and experience?

What school did they graduate from, how long have they been in practice, and what sorts of clients do they typically work with? Does this therapist specialize in any subjects and if so, why? It’s okay to ask your therapist questions to ensure you are comfortable with them and with the help and guidance they offer.

How do they handle crises or emergencies?

There are sometimes occasions where you may need to talk between sessions. What happens if you need to speak with your therapist before your next appointment? Can you leave a message on their answering machine or send them an email? How long would they take to respond in that situation?

How do they feel about your specific situation?

Ask your therapist what they think of your situation. Do they seem interested in working with you and confident that they can help?

Please feel free to give call or send an email to schedule a free 20-minute phone consultation.

5 Questions you will probably be asked at your first therapy appointment

5 Questions you will probably be asked at your first therapy appointment

You may appreciate knowing ahead of time the topics that may come up early in a therapy relationship.

The first and most important that your therapist will want to discuss with you is what do you want to get out of therapy? Are you attending sessions because you’re looking to change something about yourself? Are you trying to accept or acknowledge something tough? Are you trying to overcome something?

Your therapist will probably ask you how long you have been experiencing symptoms of distress or other emotions that motivated your search for therapy. Knowing this answer can help guide conversations over time.

Your therapist will also ask you questions about your current situation and your personal history. You don’t have to divulge every tiny detail right away; just tell what you think is right to share given the questions.

Your therapist will also want to know more about your relationships. Do you have friends whom you see regularly? Do you have a partner or kids, and how do things currently feel with them? Are you close with your family? Insight into your relationships provides important information and sometimes even the process alone of expressing how you feel about your relationships can make you feel better.

A therapist may also ask you to share any major life circumstances or problematic habits you wish to discuss. You may not want to fix or change this behavior as part of your therapy goals, but it will help the therapist to see the whole picture, as these issues may be affecting your overall happiness and therapeutic goals.