When Should I Go See a Therapist?

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[image by Ted Percival]


This is a great question and was actually brought to my attention by a comments thread over on Facebook. In fact, one can Google this question and you will find a variety of answers, ranging from very specific things, to a more broad and general feeling of “feeling down” or “depressed.”

There is a not a right or wrong answer here, so let me just suggest a few reasons why you might want to go see a therapist.

  1. A general feeling of needing to talk with someone about some various things going on in your life.  These things can be serious (“I feel like taking my own life.” To more general, “I have just been feeling off…not sleeping…and wanted to talk with someone about this.”).

  2. You are looking for an unbiased, non-judging, caring person to listen to you.  In therapy speak, we might refer to this as unconditional positive regard. A lot of people feel like they can’t find this acceptance with friends, family, or their church, so therapy is often a good place to start. Now I’m not saying that all therapist will practice this, but I think really good ones do.

  3. Someone in your circle of influence (friends, family, co-workers) notices that there are some things in your life that are concerning to them, or that they feel like you might need someone to talk to about them.  So often people end up in therapy due to the suggestion and encouragement of others.

  4. Because you want to grow.  Therapy is not all about working on issues of depression, anxiety, fear, etc., but can be a great environment for personal growth (spiritual, emotional, physical, psychological).  There aren’t many places in your life where you can be in an environment that helps you grow , but a therapist is able to get a different perspective and help foster this growth with their experience, knowledge and tools.

  5. You are experiencing some minor or major life transitions.  Divorce.  Marriage.  Pregnancy.  Death.  College.  Career.  Etc.  These transitions and others often bring out new feelings, challenges, fears, etc. in a person, and it’s helpful to have a guide along that journey.

  6. You have no one else to talk to.  This could literally mean you can’t think of anyone to talk to, or there isn’t anyone who would really understand what it is you are going through.

  7. You are wanting anonymity as you seek help and work through the issue.  Therapy operates under very specific ethical guidelines regarding confidentiality, etc., and this may be important to you as you seek help, rather than going to your pastor, family member or friend.

  8. You are more specifically able to identify what it is you are struggling with, and you want a professional to help you.  This could be depression, anxiety, bi-polar, ADHD, fear, adultery, abuse of any kind, etc.

  9. Many of us don’t take the opportunity to explore the deeper meanings in our own life, or to wrestle with key issues of identity.  We often live on the surface, and never get beyond the things in life that just make us feel good and comfortable.  Seeing a therapist is a great opportunity to really find out who you are, and to be known.

  10. You have seen the positive benefits of therapy in the lives of those around you.  So you want to give it a try yourself.

  11. You might not have any reason, but simply the curiousity of the positive ways it could benefit your life are appealing to you.

  12. You are looking for some hope in your life.

Okay, those are just 12 reasons for when I think it would be beneficial for someone to go see a therapist. I’m sure there are more, but this is where you help me out.

What reasons are there for going to see a therapist?

Did any of the above reasons resonate with you?

0 Comments

  1. by Jenni Clayville on July 2, 2009  1:47 am Reply

    great post.

    i hope more and more people go to therapy. it really helps balance us out.

    i'm pretty sure i'll be in therapy for the rest of my life :)

  2. by Justin on July 2, 2009  1:13 pm Reply

    Thanks, good stuff.

  3. by MICHELLE on July 18, 2009  10:49 am Reply

    I need to see a therapist. Can anyone recommend a good one here in Manila? My marriage's going through a lot right now that's more than I could handle.. And it's affecting all my decisions; career, social life, plans.. Pls pls help me out!

  4. by Elsie on November 20, 2011  12:02 am Reply

    I have anxiety about death, I'm only 18, but whenever I have time to think or whenever I stop being distracted or I don't talk to many people in a day, it completely over whelms me and I get panicked and start crying, and I don't know what to do about it. I try to distract myself but as soon as I stop, I start thinking about it again, and I need sleep! I can't get to sleep right now and have been crying for over an hour. I'm so afraid of dying. I don't know what to do.

  5. by Gretchen on December 3, 2011  6:53 pm Reply

    That actually helped. Didn't know if I should see one or if my reasons really qualified to go to one, but this convinced me and gave me the courage I needed.

    Thanks!

  6. by rhettsmith on July 2, 2009  2:34 am Reply

    Jenni,

    Awesome. I wish more would go to therapy also :-)

    I think a lot of people, especially those who are continually wanting to grow and gain new insight, find a good rhythm for being in and out of therapy over a long period of time. Sometimes people just check in every few months to sometimes going every couple of years.

    Thanks for sharing.

    rhett

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