Although therapy has come a long way in recent years, and modern therapists know how to design treatment plans to meet individual goals, therapy still carries something of a stigma. You might worry that you will be forced to sign up for years of laying on a couch talking about your mother, or that seeking therapy means something is wrong with you. In reality, seeking therapy is a sign of strength, as it shows that you are ready to do the difficult work necessary to make your life better. Therapy takes many forms, including brief therapy that lasts for only a few sessions. While it can be challenging, the rewards of therapy are undeniable. Yet many people don’t know when it is “appropriate” to seek therapy. World Mental Health Day is October 10, 2015, making this a great time to discuss this complex issue. Here are 8 signs that you should seek a therapist:
1. Your Feelings Are Overwhelming
We all experience the highs and lows of life. When you have conflict with a parent, a poor report at work, or a breakup with a significant other, it is normal to feel anxious and sad. Most of the time, you are able to talk it over with loved ones and bounce back within a few days. Sometimes, however, your feelings are more intense. If you begin to restrict your life due to anxiety, have trouble finding happiness in ordinary things, spend a great deal of time crying or obsessing over a situation, or feel like there is a constant shadow over you, it is time to consider seeking professional advice.
2. You Feel Disconnected
For some people, their extreme emotions manifest not in outward signs such as crying or anger, but internally. This can cause you to feel disconnected from the people and activities around you. Whether you go through the motions without finding joy or give up on previously cherished activities altogether, you spend a lot of time feeling like you are one step removed from the action. If this persists, it is a strong indicator that you should consider seeking a therapist.
3. You Have Trouble Functioning
Exhaustion, brain fog, and an inability to cope are common signs of depression and anxiety. You might feel tired and drained all day long, have trouble focusing on important information, or become unusually forgetful. Going through your daily routine feels like a chore, and you count down the hours until you can go home and sleep. Yet at night, you toss and turn, unable to get high quality rest. If any of this sounds familiar, considering seeking the help of a professional therapist.
4. You Have Experienced a Serious Loss or Trauma
Grief is one of the most painful and complex processes humans will ever face. While some people do manage to get through it on their own, many people find that therapy is incredibly valuable in helping to work through the process. If you have been through a trauma or lost a loved one—whether through death or a painful breakup—consider seeking therapy. This can help you move through the stages of grief and minimise your chances of getting stuck in a particular stage.
5. Your Relationships Are in Trouble
If your relationships are crashing and burning around you, it may be time to enlist the help of a professional in sorting them out. It is common for people who are in distress to inadvertently alienate their loved ones, furthering their sense of isolation and loneliness. Your friends and relatives might express concern for you, or they may feel frustrated and turn away altogether. Either way, a therapist can help you work through your personal difficulties and find new ways to reconnect with your loved ones.
6. You Are Turning to Substances
Substance misuse can be insidious. One day you are simply enjoying happy hour with friends, and the next thing you know you are relying on alcohol, pills, or another substance to get through the day. Take a hard look at your current consumption patterns—even food could become an emotional crutch. If your patterns of consuming any substance have radically changed, consider seeking the help of a therapist.
7. Your Work or School Life Is Suffering
It is common for people in crisis to have trouble focusing and remembering important information. This is often reflected in performance at work or school. If your grades or performance reviews have slipped, it might be time to unravel your issues with a competent therapist.
8. You Want to Make Sense of Your Situation
While most people seek therapy due to a crisis, it is not the only reason. A therapist can be a valuable resource in helping you make sense of your current situation. Whether you are vaguely dissatisfied at work, contemplating a major life change, or uncertain where your relationship is going, a therapist can help you step back and analyse the factors in an objective, non-judgemental fashion.
If you are seeking compassionate, understanding counselling from a highly trained and qualified therapist in London, I invite you to contact Martin Cox at Achieving Balance today on 020 7096 8854 for a free, no-obligation 20 minute consultation. I tailor the therapy specifically to each client in an approach that provides great flexibility in frequency, session length, timing, duration, and even location. Let’s take the first step toward your emotional health and well-being together.