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How do I know if it’s time to seek therapy?

Updated: Jul 26, 2023

You may have noticed that conversations about therapy seem to be taking place now more than ever. For many of us, these discussions began when we were isolated in our homes during COVID-19 and they continue as we try to find our new normal post-pandemic. There’s no denying that mental health has become somewhat “trendy” over the last few years—TV shows such as “In Treatment” and “Couples Therapy” have developed a cult following, teenagers are openly sharing their struggles with mental health on TikTok, and apps like Better Help and Talk Space are being advertised on almost every podcast.

Individual using mobile device
Telehealth

So why are so many individuals still finding it difficult to seek out therapy? There are a number of barriers that may prevent someone from seeking help with their mental health: social stigma, cultural attitudes, or simply not knowing how to locate a therapist in your area. Regardless of what the barrier may be, therapy can benefit anyone. Below are a few signs that it may be a good time for you to seek out therapy.

#1: You’re having difficulty coping with daily life.

When unexpected situations arise in our lives, such as a breakup or a global pandemic, it’s typical to find it more difficult to deal with the stresses of every life. We may notice ourselves feeling on-edge, overwhelmed, or even on the verge of an emotional outburst. Therapy can provide a place to process unexpected changes and learn concrete strategies to deal with the emotions that come with them. For many individuals, coping with difficult thoughts and feelings was not something that was taught or even modeled in our households. This can create challenges in adolescence and adulthood as we face obstacles and navigate life transitions. Having a solid arsenal of tools to help manage thoughts and feelings when they arise is vital to our ability to function and feel our best. Therapy can provide a space for children, adolescents, and adults to become familiar with different ways of coping so that they can identify which tools work for them.

Women in deep thought
Mental State

#2: You find yourself feeling stuck in patterns of thinking or behavior.

Our brains love familiarity. So it’s easy to find ourselves repeating patterns, even if we have identified that these patterns are harmful to us. Whether it’s drinking, negative self-talk, mental comparison, or excessive social media use—when we find ourselves feeling stuck in unhelpful patterns our self-confidence and trust can take a hit. Therapy can be beneficial in helping you explore what is keeping you feeling stuck in these behaviors while empowering you to identify steps toward change.

Woman looking down
Focus on you

#3: You struggle to establish and maintain boundaries with yourself and others in your life

We have become all too familiar with the idea of burnout since the start of the pandemic. One of the biggest factors that can contribute to burnout is a lack of boundaries or inability to express our needs. Boundaries are the limits we set for ourselves in order to ensure that our needs are being prioritized and met on a consistent basis. In a society that often asks us to prioritize our jobs before our health, boundaries can be difficult to establish and may even feel selfish. A lack of boundaries can look like people-pleasing, continually committing yourself to activities or interactions that feel draining, or consistently struggling to manage time and stick to routines. Each of these behaviors can leave us feeling anxious, resentful, and powerless. Therapy can provide tools to begin establishing and enforcing personal boundaries.

Man listening intently
Listen to yourself

If you’re still uncertain if now is the right time to seek out therapy, consider some of the warning signs that may be popping up in your life. It can be helpful to reflect on what it is in your life that you would like to change and what areas you feel you may be needing more support. Regardless of what brings you in, therapy can offer huge benefits to anyone who is willing to show up and be vulnerable.

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