Beginning therapy can improve your mental health. Research shows that psychotherapy is an effective form of treatment for a variety of mental health issues.
Counseling provides individuals with the support they need to handle life challenges and any mental health concerns they’re facing.
A good therapist will teach you how to cope and handle problems on your own.
While mental health issues are common, studies show that only about 40 percent of adults living with a mental illness receive treatment. Left untreated, mental illness can progress and get worse.
Seeking therapy for the first time can be a terrifying experience. That being said, if you’re struggling and feel your mental health deteriorating, it may be time to reach out for help.
You may also know that you’re struggling but not be sure if you need to go to therapy. Let’s look at some signs that it’s time to talk to a therapist.
1. Your Coping Skills Are Unhealthy
We all find ways to cope with life’s challenges whether our coping methods are healthy or not. Experiencing negative thoughts or difficult emotions can cause us to use unhealthy coping skills.
Sometimes people use substances like alcohol to deal with their problems or they may engage in self-injurious behaviors.
Working with a therapist can help you develop healthy coping skills.
For a list of more unhealthy coping skills, check out this post.
2. You’re Experiencing Mood Swings
There are times when we all have changes in our mood; however, if you notice that you’re mood swings last for an extended amount of time, it’s time to seek therapy to address the issue.
There are numerous reasons why your mood could be shifting and by going to counseling, you will be able to get to the root cause.
3. You’ve Experienced a Trauma
Trauma can happen to anyone and can take a toll on your life and overall health. When we experience a traumatic event, the trauma gets stored in our bodies. Therapy can help you recover from trauma even if the traumatic event occurred years ago.
If you decide to seek therapy for trauma, it’s important to see a trauma-informed therapist because they understand the impact of trauma and have the training to help you work through it.
4. Your Relationships Are Unstable
Another sign you need to go to therapy is that your relationships aren’t doing well.
Maybe you’re constantly arguing with your significant other or you’ve been falling out with all of your friends.
If you want to salvage your relationships and nothing else is working, it’s time to talk to a therapist.
5. Your Symptoms Are Affecting Your Work
When we’re struggling with our mental health, it begins to negatively impact every aspect of our life.
If you’re having trouble managing your emotions while at work or you find it difficult to concentrate or be productive, this may be a sign of a mental health problem and it could be helpful to seek support.
A therapist can help you process your emotions and develop new skills so that your symptoms don’t continue affecting your work.
6. Your Eating and Sleeping Habits Have Changed
Mental health conditions like anxiety and depression can have a negative impact on your appetite and sleeping habits. It could be that you’re eating or sleeping too much or too little.
Either of these can be harmful to your physical health and need to be addressed as soon as possible.
7. You’re Going Through a Major Life Transition
Going through life transitions can be difficult. Whether you’re going through a breakup, starting a new job or becoming a parent, these transitions might be causing you to feel stressed. While change can be a good thing that brings a lot of excitement, it may take time to adjust.
We will all experience a significant amount of change at some point in our lives. Some of us will be able to adapt to change easily while others will find it difficult to cope.
Talking to a therapist can provide you with the support you need to adjust to your life changes.
8. You’re No Longer Interested In Activities You Once Enjoyed
While it’s normal for your interests to change over time, losing interest in all the activities you enjoy is a sign that something is wrong. It could be a sign that you’re experiencing depression or anxiety.
Working with a therapist can help you uncover and work through why you’re no longer interested in the things you used to enjoy. The two of you will work together to come up with a plan to include more enjoyable activities.
9. You Suspect You Have A Mental Illness
It’s never a good idea to try and self-diagnose yourself but most times, you can tell when something is off.
There are numerous mental illnesses and people who struggle with them experience a wide range of symptoms.
You might believe you have a mental illness but be too afraid to seek help. It’s important to know that with effective treatment, most mental illness symptoms improve. There’s nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to receiving treatment for your mental health.
How to Find a Therapist
You might be ready to look for a therapist but not know where to start. Through browsing around online, you will find an influx of mental health and therapy resources. There’s so much information that it can become overwhelming.
When it comes to finding a therapist here are a few things to consider:
- Do a phone consultation and have questions prepared to ask your prospective therapist. This will help you determine if they’re a good fit for your needs.
- Think about what you’re hoping to get out of therapy. Once you start working with a therapist, the two of you will come up with a few therapy goals for you to work towards.
- Have realistic expectations. Don’t go into therapy expecting to be cured or feel better after one session. Therapy takes time to work.
- Keep in mind that it’s ok if the first therapist you see isn’t a good fit. Some people go through multiple therapists before finding one who they have a connection with. Don’t lose hope if you realize you need to find a different therapist.
Once you’re ready to start looking for a therapist, you can try using any of these resources.
Open Path Psychotherapy Collective is a network that provides in-person and online mental health care at an affordable rate.
The psychology today website provides a directory of therapists.
Therapy for Black Girls is a platform dedicated to making mental health topics accessible. They offer a directory of therapists for those seeking counseling.
Talkspace makes therapy more accessible compared to traditional therapy because it’s an online therapy platform. Once you sign up, you’ll be matched with a licensed therapist in your state who will support you through messaging and video sessions.
It’s Ok to Seek Therapy
Admitting that something is wrong and choosing to seek treatment takes courage. If you’re experiencing any of these signs and you’ve tried other methods of coping or improving your mental health but nothing seems to help, it could be time to try therapy.
Due to the stigma surrounding mental health and therapy, many people refuse to seek help or feel ashamed that they need therapy. Know that there is nothing wrong with receiving help when you’re struggling.
Deciding to go to therapy can be a deeply rewarding experience. All of us will experience ups and downs but if those ups and downs are interfering with your daily life, talking to a professional who will help you work through what you’re struggling with can make a huge difference.