Hint #1 You May Benefit From Therapy…If You’re Asking
If you’re asking, chances are you need some kind of help. Maybe it’s not therapy. I’m not saying therapy is for everyone, but it might be helpful for you to meet with a therapist to talk openly about what is bothering you and if therapy would be helpful. A consultation isn’t a commitment for treatment.
Hint #2 You May Benefit From Therapy…Concern
If someone you trust and love, who sincerely cares for you, suggests therapy out of real concern (and not as a joke. I really hate that) take it seriously. If you don’t agree, ask them why they think that, because it took guts for them to say you might need therapy to your face. Really listen.
Hint #3 You Might Benefit from Therapy if…
- The problem is distressing to you or someone close to you.
- It interferes with some aspect of life, home, family, work, school.
- The problem, issue, behavior, emotional distress, consumes too much time in your day every day, week after week.
- You feel ashamed. The problem so embarrassing you try to hide it from others.
- You’ve rearranged your lifestyle, work or educational ambitions to accommodate the problem.
- You’ve tried to self-treat, like using alcohol or drugs inappropriately to alter your mood.
- You use your friends and family as if they are counselors.
The American Psychological Association advises:
Most of us face struggles at some point in our lives. These struggles may include stress at work, difficulty with a romantic partner, or problems with a family member. Alternatively, struggles may include emotional symptoms such as depression or anxiety, behavioral problems such as having difficulty throwing useless items away or drinking alcohol too often, and cognitive symptoms such as repetitive upsetting thoughts or uncontrolled worry. Sometimes, life’s struggles can be eased by taking better care of yourself, and perhaps talking about the issues with a supportive friend or family member.
But there may be times when these steps don’t resolve the issue. When this happens, it makes sense to consider seeking the help of a qualified licensed psychologist.
The Very Best Way To See If you Might Benefit from Therapy…
Here’s the thing, the best way to find out if you need, or could benefit from, therapy is to see a therapist. Within the first two or three sessions with a good therapist you will both know if whatever it is that’s bothering you is best treated with psychotherapy. There could be a chance that what you need is a referral to a relationship counselor, an executive coach or a psychiatrist who can prescribe the right medication for you.
A good therapist will help you make a plan to either continue with psychotherapy, give you a referral to another modality of treatment that is better for what you’re struggling with or consider another level of treatment, like in-patient or residential treatment.
Sophisticated People Benefit from Therapy
When I was in my mid-twenties, my dad had the nerve to suggest that maybe I should see a therapist.
My shock was the shock of the well-defended. I mean, I knew I was just fine. Having survived my early twenties, which was a genuine shit-show, I had my B.A., a decent job, and rented a little house with some nice girlfriends. How dare my dad suggest I needed therapy! I was fine, dammit!
Gently, which wasn’t like my dad at all… come to think of it, that should have been a clue about how serious he was… he asked me to see a psychologist just to humor him. Grudgingly, I went.
my dad’s intervention probably saved my life
Looking back, my dad’s intervention probably saved my life. After a couple of sessions with Dr. Greenbaum, who really did wear cozy cardigan sweaters and decorated his office with African masks, he told me I was depressed.
His diagnosis made me laugh. What?! Me, depressed? How could that be? I didn’t cry all the time. I got to work. I had friends. I wasn’t drinking too much.
Gently, again with the gentle, (Here’s a tip: If you want to tell someone something you really want them to hear, don’t yell. Speak low.) Gently, Dr. G. pointed out that, sure, depression could present the way I said, i.e. crying all the time, not getting out of bed or the house, isolating, feeling hopeless, suicidal. But depression could also feel more like being numb, no serious lows, no joyful highs, nothing. Not crying, but not genuinely smiling about anything much. Going through the days as an observer, not a participant. Playing it safe. Hiding my true self. Living day-to-day without direction.
Palm smack to the forehead! I guess I was depressed. I guess I really did need therapy.
It is truly sad that sophisticated people that I’m close to, who I know would benefit from therapy, baulk at the suggestion. They feel that going to a therapist is something to feel ashamed about, or they say things aren’t “that bad”. They insist they can handle their depression or anxiety by themselves even though they’ve lived with the low annoying buzz-kill of emotional discomfort for way too long.
My response: Sure. Maybe you could get to where you want to go without a therapist. But consider this: You can get to Toronto by walking, but why would you, when you can drive?
Let me help you find your own personal mental health Ferrari.
Contact me. I’ll set you up.
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