How do you know if you need therapy? The first sign is that you are considering therapy in the first place. I assume you’re here because you’ve had a gut feeling inside you that this might be something to try (or try again). You might be here because someone else recommended therapy to you. You might experience chronic emotional symptoms. You may have a diagnosis. You might be at a crisis point.
The therapists are people who have decided to dedicate their work to helping others. If you’re wanting to try therapy, hopefully you’re first and foremost someone who wants help right now.
Talking things through with an outside person is a huge advantage of therapy and it’s different from talking to a family member or a friend in a critical way—it’s private and confidential. There is no risk that your private thoughts will be shared with someone who shouldn’t hear them. Instead of being all tangled up in the web of your thoughts and sliding into the spiral of your catastrophic thinking, we place your thoughts and feelings out on the table and calmly put them back together in a way that brings you more clarity. The idea is that you’ll gain some working knowledge about yourself and others that you can then apply in your everyday life.
It’s normal to seek advice on things that you struggle with. We go to a doctor for a physical problem. We go to a lawyer for legal advice. We go to therapists for psychological support. A therapist is someone who is professionally trained to untangle complex emotional and relational dynamics. They are trained to help you spot and work through the barriers that keep you from relating in the way that you want. They help you with developing your inner and outer resources to support your wellbeing.
As a species we’ve always had avenues of guidance when things got hard. For a very long time, we’ve went to shamans and priests. Today, some of us may still lean on religious clergy but we more often go to teachers, mentors, coaches, and therapists. What do all of these figures have in common? They are people who can hold an unconditional, wise presence for us when we need it.
So: how do you know if you need therapy? Ultimately the only person that will know for sure is you. Unless you are mandated for therapy, there is nothing forcing you to seek therapy. My thoughts? If you are feeling challenged right now by life and wanting support for yourself or your relationships, therapy can help.