Many people go around feeling that something is not quite right. They aren’t as happy as they once were or don’t feel at ease the way they used to. What they typically do to snap out of a slump no longer works as well or at all. Possibly, they slipped into this state so gradually that they didn’t realize its seriousness until it became a 24/7 condition.
Often when we find ourselves feeling this way, we think it will pass, and that we can get ourselves out of it, despite mounting evidence to the contrary. In many cases people wait until their actions or state of mind affect their relationships or their jobs before they seek help.
Unfortunately, therapy has had a stigma – that needing it implies there is something wrong with you, or that you are weak because you can’t just power through on your own. Because of this, people are sometimes ashamed to go to therapy. Today, however, more and more people see it as a tool, and no different than going to the dentist or doctor to stay healthy or get help with a specific problem. Therapy can provide the support and motivation you need to get through a rough time or deal with an issue.
Therapists are trained to be non-judgmental, unlike family or friends who are often too close to be objective or don’t always refrain from voicing opinions and dispensing advice. Talking to a therapist about a personal issue can be easier than talking to someone you have an emotional connection to because therapy is confidential and the therapist has no interest in the outcome, other than helping you. Therapists also have a deeper understanding of human nature and can work with you to move beyond the current situation. (Tartakovsky and Tuckman, 2016) “A counselor can help you to clarify your goals, create feasible strategies that consider the obstacles you are likely to face, and act as a supportive partner in the process,” writes Nadia Persun, PhD. (Persun, 2016)
When should you see a therapist?
Going to therapy is a personal decision, and there are no hard and fast rules about when is the right time. There are, however, some indicators that therapy would be beneficial:
- You have significant distress in your life that affects your ability to function adequately at work, at school, at home, or elsewhere. Perhaps you can’t concentrate, or you’ve lost your drive and enthusiasm, or simply feel overwhelmed. Nothing you’ve tried has made a difference.
- Your relationships are negatively impacted. Your friends and family no longer want to hear about your problems, and begin to pull away.
- Lashing out, becoming violent or abusive toward those around you is a serious indication that you need outside help.
- You overuse or abuse something to alleviate symptoms. This may be a substance or activity that is perfectly fine in moderation, but becomes a problem when it is used to self-medicate. Using alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, pornography or even food to feel better, or overdoing activities such as gambling, shopping, spending time online and exercising can be problematic.
- People notice and say something to you. You may not realize others notice your moods or behavior, and when they do it is natural to become defensive and ignore what they are saying, but this is another indication that you may benefit from talking to someone.
Therapy is not just for when things are bad
Therapy is not just for when you have hit rock bottom or are in a crisis. As long as you are ready and open to change, therapy can be a benefit to you. “Although therapy can address some pretty painful subjects, it doesn’t need to be all about pain and suffering,” says clinical psychologist Ari Tuckman. “Therapy is often more about understanding yourself and others differently and learning how to cope with the sorts of things that most people deal with at one point or another: relationship dissatisfaction, loss, anger, uncertainty over the future, transitioning from one situation to another, etc.” Tuckman adds that therapy can help you navigate these common experiences and set yourself up for success.
There are many types of therapy and many therapists specialize in more than one type in order to accommodate a range of needs. If you have questions, or would like more information, contact Maria Droste’s Access Center at 303-867-4600.
Persun, N. (2016). Who Needs Counseling? 10 Therapy Myths Dispelled. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 14, 2016, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/who-needs-counseling-10-therapy-myths-dispelled/
Tartakovsky, M./Tuckman, A. (2016). Therapists Spill: 11 Myths About Therapy. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 14, 2016, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/therapists-spill-11-myths-about-therapy/
Grohol, J. (2014). 5 Sure Signs It’s Time to See a Therapist. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 15, 2016, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/02/18/5-sure-signs-its-time-to-see-a-therapist/