Do I Need Therapy?

Have you been thinking about counseling, but you don’t know if it’s right for you? It’s normal to start thinking about how counseling interventions can help improve your life, but like any significant life choice, it could take some time to decide if and when you’re ready. Mental health counseling isn’t one-size-fits all and each approach to improving your mental health is both highly personal and specialized. However, there are some tell-tale signs that you might be ready to start receiving help from licensed mental health doctors to improve your life.

According to the American Psychological Association, one should start to consider therapy when something causes distress and starts to interfere with daily life. Below are some guidelines to consider if this could be the case for you:

  • Thinking about or coping with an issue takes up at least an hour of every day

  • The issue causes embarrassment or makes you want to avoid others

  • Your quality of life starts to decrease because of the issue

  • The issue has negatively impacted your school, work, or relationships

  • You’ve made changes in your life or have developed adverse habits to help cope with the issue

There are also other tangible ways to know when it’s time to get help based on your changing daily activities. For example, changing sleeping patterns, whether you’re sleeping more or less than normal, is usually an indicator of distress, as sleep and mental health are inextricably linked. Along the same lines are changing eating behaviors. Mental health can manifest in physical ways and may cause you to lose your appetite or binge on food, signaling that your emotions may be overwhelming you. 

If you think your habits are changing in a detrimental way, but you’re not quite sure, create a habit tracking system where you track how many times you eat, exercise, talk to loved ones, sleep, etc. to see if these factors change over a period of time. By being more aware of your emotions and behaviors, you’re helping yourself to understand the way you change over time which could get you closer to achieving a healthier mental state. If you decide to pursue therapy, a therapist will benefit from seeing these behaviors tracked over time to chart successes and pitfalls.

Therapy can improve one’s mental state greatly, but like any medical practice, it might not be necessary for you. Take stock of the situations happening in your life and consider what it would be like for a professional to help you find ways of getting through it. Seeking out therapy can be empowering, but it is a deeply personal choice that isn’t always easy to make. Research your options and should you choose to pursue mental health counseling, Joshua Tree Counseling is here to be your advocate and support system.