Home » Articles » Psychology » How do you know if you need psychological therapy?

How do you know if you need psychological therapy?

If you have not been feeling right emotionally, you might be wondering if counselling could help, but you are not sure if you need therapy; I hope this article will help. I am a psychologist and have been practising for two decades. I do not often get the opportunity to see the questions clients grapple with before coming to see me, but I do know that most have the question, ‘How do I know I need therapy?’

Recognizing the need for psychological therapy can be a complex process. It often involves deeply understanding your emotions, behaviours, and thought patterns.

Today, I want to help clarify the therapy process by discussing some things that might suggest a need for psychological therapy, such as feeling sad or noticing a change in your behaviour.

I shall also touch on ways therapy can help as well as look at some things that may stop you from attending counselling, such as financial constraints, not sure if therapy is right for you, overcoming stigma or just not sure how to go about seeing a therapist.]

Whether you attend therapy with me or someone else, I shall give some information on how to find the right therapist, set goals, and measure progress.

do i need therapy dr elaine ryan logo

Recognizing the Need for Psychological Therapy

Recognizing the need for psychological therapy is the first step towards feeling better. In order to do this, involves recognising the signs that a professional therapist can help.

These signs, or psychological therapy indicators, can manifest in various ways. They can be emotional, behavioural, or even physical.

Here are some key indicators to look out for:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness or anxiety
  • Significant changes in behaviour or thought patterns
  • Physical symptoms that have psychological roots

The PrioryGroup lists more indicators that include drug and alcohol misuse.

Persistent Emotional Distress

Persistent emotional distress is a common indicator of the need for therapy. This distress can manifest as feelings of sadness, anxiety, or hopelessness.

These feelings may persist for weeks or even months. They can interfere with daily activities and overall quality of life.

If you find yourself constantly battling such emotions, it might be time to consider therapy.

Behavioural Changes and Disruptions in Daily Life

If you notice a change in your behaviour, or a loved one’s behaviour for that matter, it might indicate a need for therapy. Changes to look out for include backing away from usual social activities, changes in eating or sleeping patterns, or decreased performance at work or school.

Disruptions in daily life can also be a sign. If you find it increasingly difficult to carry out routine tasks or maintain relationships, therapy might be beneficial.

Remember, these changes are not always negative. Even positive changes, like sudden risk-taking behaviour, can indicate underlying issues.

Physical Symptoms with Psychological Roots

Physical symptoms can also be indicators of psychological distress. These can include headaches, stomachaches, or other unexplained physical discomforts. You might have already attending your GP with physical symptoms only to be told they are coming from anxiety or panic. In that case your GP may have already referred you to counselling.

The Multifaceted Benefits of Therapy

Therapy is not just about addressing mental health disorders. It offers a range of benefits that can improve various aspects of your life.

These benefits can include improved coping strategies, enhanced relationships, and personal growth.

Coping Strategies and Mental Health Improvement

Therapy can equip you with effective coping strategies. These strategies can help you manage stress, anxiety, and other emotional challenges.

By improving your coping skills, therapy can significantly enhance your mental health. It can help you navigate life’s challenges with greater ease and resilience.

Relationship and Interpersonal Skill Enhancement

Therapy can also improve your relationships. It can help you develop better communication skills, manage conflicts, and build healthier relationships.

These interpersonal skills are not just beneficial for personal relationships. They can also enhance your professional relationships and overall social well-being.

Personal Growth and Self-Awareness

Therapy can foster personal growth and self-awareness. It can help you understand your emotions, behaviours, and thought patterns.

This self-awareness can lead to personal growth. It can help you make positive changes, break unhealthy patterns, and live a more fulfilling life.

Overcoming Barriers to Accessing Therapy

Despite the numerous benefits of therapy, many people face barriers to accessing these services. These barriers can range from financial constraints to societal challenges.

Many services offer low- cost counselling where you might meet a trainee, you can read more about low cost and sliding scales here.

However, it’s important to remember that these barriers can be overcome. There are resources available to help you navigate these challenges and access the therapy you need.

Financial and Societal Challenges

Financial constraints can be a significant barrier to therapy. However, many therapists offer sliding scale fees, and some insurance plans cover therapy.

Societal challenges, such as lack of transportation or time constraints, can also be barriers. However, options like online therapy can help overcome these challenges.

Stigma and Misconceptions About Therapy

Stigma surrounding mental health can deter people from seeking therapy. It’s crucial to challenge these stigmas and promote mental health awareness.

Misconceptions about therapy can also be a barrier. Understanding the therapeutic process and its benefits can help dispel these misconceptions.

The Therapeutic Process: What to Expect

Embarking on the therapeutic journey can be daunting. However, understanding the process can alleviate some of the anxiety.

The therapeutic process is a collaborative effort between you and your therapist. It involves exploring your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours in a safe and supportive environment.

Finding the Right Therapist and Building a Therapeutic Alliance

Finding the right therapist is a crucial step in the therapeutic process. It’s important to find someone you feel comfortable with and trust.

Building a therapeutic alliance with your therapist can enhance the effectiveness of therapy. This alliance is based on mutual respect, trust, and understanding.

Setting Goals and Measuring Progress

Setting goals is an integral part of therapy. These goals should be realistic and achievable and align with one’s values and aspirations.

Measuring progress in therapy can be challenging, but it’s an essential part of the process. Regular check-ins with your therapist can help assess your progress and adjust your treatment plan as needed.

Conclusion: Taking the First Step Towards Mental Wellness

Recognizing the need for psychological therapy is the first step towards mental wellness. It’s a courageous act of self-care that can lead to profound personal growth and improved quality of life.

Remember, seeking help is not a sign of weakness but a testament to your strength. With the right support, you can navigate life’s challenges more effectively and cultivate a healthier, more fulfilling life.

Further reading

What to expect from therapy