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Is therapy a good idea for me?

There are many reasons for starting therapy, and each person has their own individual need for therapy and reason for starting. Just as the need for therapy varies from person to person, so does the course of therapy. Where some might need a single session, some might need several and others might want to check in and out of therapy over the years.

We might still experience prejudice about psychotherapy only being relevant for people with psychiatric diagnosis or big mental health issues. But that is not the case at all. Just as we do checkups with the doctor when we have a sore back or a stomachache, we can look to therapy when we experience emotional pain and soreness. Unfortunately, many people postpone going into therapy because they feel their issues are not big enough or important enough to deal with, or they might feel embarrassed seeking professional help. Maybe you don’t have experience with sharing your emotional life, or you come from a community where it’s not common to talk about being in therapy. But therapy does not need to be a major event, and you certainly don’t have to be sick to be in therapy. Therapy can work as a preventive measure, to make sure the issues you experience do not escalate.

Just as we take care of our physical health, we should also take care of our minds. Body and mind are tightly engaged with each other, and if we ignore the difficult thoughts and feelings we carry from time to time, they are likely to find a physical expression. For instance, through physical pain or tension. Some experience difficulties sleeping or eating, or they might have headaches or pain in their back or shoulders. Sometimes we can get so used to carrying a mental burden that we forget that we don’t have to carry it alone or bear the physical pain that comes with it. I’ve often met clients who spend years struggling with low self-esteem, trauma, symptoms of anxiety and stress and even suicidal thoughts, before they asked for professional help. When we carry these issues alone for a long time, it makes it extra heavy. When you finally let go of that burden, it can be a huge relief. The first important step is to take yourself seriously. If you experience not really feeling well, no matter if you can point to a reason or not, or if it feels like a minor or major thing, you are right to acknowledge that issue. By taking your pain seriously, you acknowledge yourself, your own worth and importance. You are always deserving of help and support with whatever troubles you.

There is no issue too big or too small to bring up in therapy. Often clients will bring up a topic thinking it’s something minor, but discovering that this topic contains important realizations and meaningfulness. It also happens that clients reach a point where there are no more issues that are necessary to bring to therapy. This is an excellent point to reach, because it allows us to focus on why things are working well now, and maintaining the relevant skills for when life is once again throwing us off our feet. We will always encounter resistance and crisis in life, and it has never been the case that we should manage it all on our own. Humans are social creatures and we heal our wounds when we are allowed to fully express ourselves and receive acknowledgement of our pain. It is through the relationships with ourselves and with others that we find healing.

If you are in doubt about whether therapy is the right path for the situation you are in, it might be helpful to imagine what you would tell a friend in the same situation. If your close friend told you about the thoughts, feelings, and experiences that you are having now, would you see it as relevant seeking help? If the people closest to you knew what you were dealing with, would they want you to get help and support in the process of moving forward? Often, we have an easier time acknowledging and showing compassion for others than ourselves, which makes it harder, but also even more important, that we reach out for the help we deserve.

If you can answer yes to one or more of the following, therapy will likely be a right choice for you

  • I experience being stuck in certain patterns, thoughts and habits, that are not beneficial to me

  • I’m lacking help and guidance about major life decisions or relationships

  • I have experienced major change or rupture in my life, and I don’t fully feel like I have processed what happened

  • I am worried about my mental and/or physical health and I notice symptoms that I think are a bad sign

  • I experience having lost energy/passion/joy/meaning and I don’t know how to find it again

  • I need a safe space to talk about and discuss my inner thoughts and feelings without necessarily sharing it with friends or family

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