For people who are used to handling things alone, it can be difficult to know when to seek professional help. Like most folks, you probably brush off your problems and wait for them to go away on their own. And that seems to work most of the time. It works so well that you don't realize those problems have started to collect, cluttering up your relationships, career, or your mood. Whether you've been noticing signs of depression for a while, or you recently went through a bad break-up, it may have crossed your mind that talking to someone other than friends or family might help. (Friends and family are GREAT sources of support, if you've got good ones in your life.) But how do you know when you "need" therapy?
The Short Answer
Whenever you want! People can always benefit from therapy, even if they think their problems are too big, personal, or not that big of a deal. Research from the Gottman Institute says couples stay unhappy for an average of 6 years before seeking counseling. That's a long time to stay annoyed if you don't have to. If something is holding you back, therapy is a great place to figure it out.
When to Make the Call
If it's on your mind, make the call. There's a reason therapists usually offer a free consultation. It's OK to call and say "I'm thinking of starting therapy, but I'm not sure if I need it. I keep on [whatever annoying thing about your life you want to change] and I don't know if that's something people go to therapy for." If nothing else, you'll get a clearer sense of what the issue is, how much it's affecting your life, and if it's worth it for you to start working on it. (Yes, you can get this in a free consultation.) (Yes, it's very common for people to decide it's not worth working on right now.)
Benefits of Therapy
Remember when you went from using a flip phone to your first smart phone? It took some getting used to, but suddenly all this extra stuff was available to you? And you were like, "I can't believe I was relying on outdated equipment to get stuff done." Do you see where I'm going with this? Therapy can give you more tools to be better at what you want to do.
Therapists provide hope. We help you imagine your life as it could be, and we offer tools and insights to help you get there. Depending on a therapist's style and approach, you'll usually get a mix of:
- Day-to-day practices you can use to make better choices,
- Some of your most obvious (or not so obvious) emotional habits reflected back to you, and
- Your therapist will work alongside you to figure out how you can replace tired old habits (emotional and otherwise) with ones that serve you today.
Think about how your life could be different, and decide if that's something you're ready to work toward. The time is going to pass anyway - you might as well use it!
For help figuring out if you're ready for therapy, call (562) 704-4736 for a free consultation. Prospect Therapy welcomes individuals and couples of all genders and orientations.