When should I seek therapy?

Therapy offers lots of benefits to our mental health, but do you need therapy right now? Amelia Peck, LMFT has some great ideas as to whether or not therapy is right for you.

Life has a way of hitting us with the unexpected when it is least convenient for us. Some things that come our way we manage better than we thought we could. However, other things are more challenging and we find ourselves in a cycle that we can’t seem to get out of. Whatever is happening in your life, therapy might be something to help you learn more about what is keeping your suck and continue moving forward.

Reasons People Seek Therapy

Life Transitions

As you move through life’s milestones, you may find yourself in unfamiliar territory. You may begin to experience anxiety in ways you haven’t felt before. Maybe even some depression. A therapist can be a great support here because it should offer the experience of an unbiased third party to offer insight into the stress around your situation.  For example, if you (or your child) have always lived at home and now find yourself across the country at college, it might be hard to adjust to building new social supports and routine outside of what you’ve always known. Or after college, putting that degree to work is tough. Using skills in the real world or practicing “adulting,” as many call it, can make someone vulnerable to feedback or criticism they haven’t experienced before. Many people report situations like this impacting their anxiety and mental health.

Common transitions that lead people to seek therapy are engagement and marriage. It’s a great safe space to explore some cycles that you find yourself in but haven’t taken the time to explore. Many people even opt for pre-engagement counseling to make sure they are on the same page with their partner before beginning a marriage. Using this type of treatment to build a foundation together can ease all kinds of anxiety and stress that a wedding (or thinking about a wedding) can bring on.

On the other side of one transition is another. Divorce is a huge transition. There are so many reasons a marriage may come to an end, and no matter what that reason is, make sure you surround yourself with support. The confidential support of a therapist is beneficial to many in this time that can stir up very complex emotions.

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Some people start therapy after receiving a new medical diagnosis.

Major Life Events

While transitions can be challenging, and major life events can leave you perplexed or feeling isolated. Learning of a diagnosis, having experienced an accident, or even finding yourself suddenly unemployed can be a time to seek additional support. Often, depending on the event and how it impacts regular routine, many report feeling depressed or more anxious about money or family members. Therapists can offer different vantage points to help you get unstuck and find a new way to approach a situation.

Family Conflict

Families are complex. They just are. Family is who we can feel most vulnerable with, who we want to prove ourselves to, and with who no matter how old we are, we still feel like a little kid that struggles to be heard. As families, an individual’s struggle can feel like something the group needs to take on as a whole. There are therapists who specialize in family therapy as there are many nuances to treating an entire unit of people, so that is something to consider when doing your research.

Marriage Therapy

I love it when I hear someone say that a therapist saved their marriage. But that isn’t always the case. Some couples have had to endure times together that do not lead to coming out together on the other side. Just as people can realize the strength in their relationships through therapy, some decide the best path is to separate.

Emotional Challenges

Some people experience events that lead them to seek support through therapy. Others experience a certain level of emotional challenge throughout their life. In many situations, therapy isn’t about ridding yourself of these symptoms. It can be a tool to learn to live with them and manage them in life and relationships.

How Do I Find a Therapist?

If you have moved from wondering, “Do I need a therapist?” to, “I want a therapist,” there are several routes you can explore to find the best fit for you.

  1. Churches and schools often have lists of therapists they have vetted and are familiar with.
  2. Referrals from friends and family. Don’t be afraid to ask people you know if they have gotten help and how their experience was. This can also be helpful if your cultural or religious background needs to be integrated into therapy. Someone who knows those attributes could help you connect to someone with that slant.
  3. Psychology Today is a giant database of therapists from all over the country. Their licenses are verified and you can easily search for therapists in your area and with specific specialties. You can also contact them easily so that you can get your process started.

Some people meet with their therapist for years, whereas others just need a listening ear to navigate certain seasons of life. Therapy, along with support from family and friends, can be an important part of your healing process.

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Amelia PeckHealth & Food

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