Before we dive into all the benefits that come with carving out time in your schedule for self-care, I think it is important to acknowledge that times are HARD. Therapy does not have to mean that you are “crazy” or “something is wrong.” That is an old school thought and it needs to be put out on the curb with all the other trash. Therapy is what the client makes of it. If you invest time in yourself, there will always be a positive outcome.
Also- therapists do not gossip about their clients, they do not share the personal information that is shared with them. We are bound by HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) to keep all conversations confidential unless there is an expressed intent to harm self or others.
1. You are in a big transition period
Look, if you are getting married, divorced, pregnant, post-partum, going through a loss, finishing school, or any other transition in life.. this point goes out to you. Therapy can help fine-tune what the next steps are. It can ease uncertainty and identify priorities. Therapy does not have to be a long-term need, it can be solution-focused.
2. You are feeling isolated, alone, or out of control
Have you ever heard the saying that stability is an illusion and change is continual? Well, this is a sad fact of life. I rolled my eyes too the first time I heard that. Therapy can help to ease the symptoms of change. If you think of mental health similarly to physical health, consider these feelings to be symptoms. When we have a symptom, well, the first thing that I do is google what could possibly be going on, but, after that, we seek treatment by a professional. These feelings are symptoms of something bigger.
3. Your coping skills are not working anymore
When going through a new challenging time, the coping skills or defense mechanisms that you’ve always relied on may not work anymore. After each difficult experience, you gained a new coping skill. This time will be no different. Therapy can help establish healthy coping skills that can be used for all the difficult times to come.
4. You just need someone to talk to that isn’t family or friends
Family and friends are the building blocks of a fulfilled life, but sometimes in difficult situations, you need more. Someone who isn’t biased, who will look at it from a therapeutic perspective and will not be offended or tell you how you should respond. This is why therapists exist.
5. You want to make a change in your life
Life is full of repetitive tasks, behaviors, and patterns and that isn’t a bad thing. If you are considering a big change such as school, a job change, moving, or relationship, talk to a therapist to help gain some perspective and set realistic and achievable goals.
6. You are having symptoms of mental illness
Do you suffer from anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or any other mental illness? Do not let your treatment lapse. It is important to continually see a therapist or have a therapy that you can see when things get hard. We do not let physical illnesses get out of hand before seeing a doctor. Same concept.
7. You just want to feel better
Maybe you don’t know what you feel but know something is off. Therapy is a form of self-care, a healthy coping skill, and can help develop strong goals that lead to overall happiness.
Mental, emotional, and physical stress can lead to serious consequences. Deal with your stress, do not, I repeat, do not push stress down, and ignore it… It will come back to haunt you.
9. You are misplacing your emotions
Let me explain, this goes along with stress, grief, uncertainty, fear, and all the other emotions that we experience. If you are at the grocery store yelling at the cashier over something minimal because there is built up anger, you are misplacing your emotions. There has to be an outlet when things are hard. Therapy is an emotional outlet in a safe, HIPAA protected environment.
10. You just want to try therapy
In graduate school, I had a professor that always said, “every therapist needs a therapist.” Try it. If it isn’t for you, that’s fine. Just know that the mental health stigma and mental health crisis that currently exists because being vulnerable and looking inside for solutions to life’s problems seems too difficult.