Signs It Might Be Time to See a Therapist: Myths vs. Truths

You might want to consider seeing a therapist if:

  • You find that your emotions aren't controlled.  
  • You are experiencing anxious or intrusive thoughts. It's normal to worry, but when worry takes up a significant part of your day or presents in physical symptoms, it might be time.
  • You are experiencing apathy- loss of interest in usual activities or the world around you or even life in general. Also, if you begin to experience some social withdrawal as a result. It is normal to have some alone time and introversion is normal but if you feel distressed or fear, it might be time to consider therapy.
  • If more days than not, you experience hopelessness- losing hope or motivation. Feeling as if you have no future.

Some common thoughts or things people say about therapy:

  • "If you go to therapy they will make you take meds."  TRUTH:  medication is not your only option when it comes to making necessary emotional or behavioral changes in your life. Your therapist might suggest that medication along with therapy would be more helpful in your situation. But you should never feel like medications are being forced on you and if you do, try switching to a new therapist who makes you feel listened to. It's okay to be upfront about your concerns with taking medications.
  • "You just need to pray and believe more."  TRUTH: as the client you get to make this judgment. But therapists are taught to value the religious beliefs and culture of their clients. You can choose a therapist who utilizes more religious approaches.
  • "Only crazy people see a therapist." TRUTH:  you don't have to be "crazy" to participate in therapy. The vast majority of outpatient clients are not delusional, hearing voices, or seeing hallucinations. More often, therapy clients are seeking help to deal with the effects of current or long-term stressors, or they wish to change patterns of thinking, feeling, and behavior that don't work anymore.
  • "Therapists blame everything on the parents." TRUTH:  discussions about one's family of origin often do occur, especially if it impacts the current situation. These discussions evolve naturally, such as when reviewing the roots of a particular attitude or behavioral pattern. The focus of therapy is usually on improving current functioning and relieving emotional suffering.
  • "Once I start I'll have to go on forever."  TRUTH:  Many times Outpatient Therapy is under 10 sessions. Some conditions require more. Often therapy is held weekly for 50 minutes. Sessions can be spread out if desired with a few booster sessions scheduled later if needed.
  • "Talking won't help or I tried before and it wasn't helpful."  TRUTH:  if your symptoms persist, it might be wise to entertain additional avenues of intervention and to review the factors that could impact your experience.  These could be your level of motivation and readiness to change.   It could even be circumstances such as social, emotional, or spiritual factors. The relationship with the therapist might also be a contributing factor.  You might get different results with a different therapist.
  • "What if someone finds out?"  TRUTH:  therapy is confidential. No one will find out unless you tell them. Therapists can explain the conditions under which they have to disclose information to others (such as if someone is in danger, a child is being abused, or a court order).

Just know that you don't have to be in crisis to see a therapist. Many people assume that the therapist will just guide you, but you have to know what you want to get out of it. You are the boss of your therapy so you get to decide how it goes. A therapist assesses how you're doing, asks the right questions and helps move you toward your goals by offering tips, tools and techniques that will help.

So in closing I have some tips you can consider:

  • First you need to consider what you want to get out of therapy and what don't you like about your current situation.
  • Secondly, you have to understand that therapy won't fix anything right away, nor can the therapist.
  • Third, consider what style of therapy you feel might be best for you. What I mean is consider if you are someone who just wants to talk and process or if having homework assignments would be better for you.
  • And last, don't be shy about asking for what you want or what you need. It takes time and this is someone new it's not about making your therapist proud of you or worrying that they'll be upset about your progress. It's about you getting the right help from the right person when you need it most.

Do you have questions about whether you might be ready to see a therapist?  Indya offers a free consultation to answer your questions and help you assess your readiness for counseling.  Reach out today!