Perhaps you’re curious about therapy but you wonder if you really “need” it. Especially in pandemic times when we are chiefly aware of the suffering of others, we may be even more prone to minimizing our own suffering because of the impression that others have it worse. The self-judgment of “not suffering enough” may be among the reasons one might put off starting the process of therapy. Of course, suffering is relative, and any amount of suffering warrants the right to seek help.
Albeit this is not an exhaustive list and there are countless motivations to start therapy, here are just a few of the reasons a person may choose to talk to a therapist:
1. Recently experiencing a stressor, loss, or traumatic event
Seeing a therapist in the wake of experiencing something difficult can help. Therapy offers a comforting space to process, learn helpful coping skills, and heal.
2. Changes in mood
A noticeable change in your mood can indicate a need to further explore what may be at the root of it. Mood changes include:
- Feeling down or irritable most days
- No longer enjoying things you used to
- Feeling hopeless, worthless, and/or excessively guilty
- Frequently feeling worried or “on edge”
- Often feeling overwhelmed
- Feeling “stuck”
3. Changes in sleep and/or appetite
Perhaps you’re having a difficult time getting to sleep or staying asleep all night. On the contrary, you may often oversleep and still rarely feel well-rested. As with sleep disturbances, changes in appetite can be a sign that something psychological needs to be addressed. Loss of appetite and weight loss or overeating and weight gain alike can be the result of psychological distress. Of course, changes in sleep and appetite can be related to medical issues as well. For that reason, it’s a good idea to also talk to your doctor about these changes to rule out an organic (i.e., non-psychological) cause.
4. Impairments in functioning
Feeling “off” can unfortunately lead to functional impairments, such as:
- Poor performance at work or school
- Difficulty concentrating on tasks
- Difficulty making decisions
- Avoiding certain environments because of a specific fear
- Compulsive or impulsive behavior leading to negative consequences
Therapy can be an effective way to proactively address unhelpful behavior patterns and underlying emotional processes.
5. Feelings of shame and/or loneliness
Are there things you do or think about that you feel you couldn’t share with your friends or family? We may hold back from sharing aspects of ourselves with others, especially when we feel shame around our own thoughts, behaviors, or experiences. Keeping these aspects of ourselves hidden likely only leads to further shame and feelings of loneliness which, left unconfronted, can perpetuate unhelpful behavior and lead to great suffering. Therapy provides a safe place to approach that which we may otherwise avoid.
If the symptoms described here resonated with you, know that help is available from the safety of your own home. Great Lakes Psychology Group makes it easy to get started with online therapy. If you’d prefer to start online therapy in the wake of the pandemic but anticipate that you’d prefer to switch to in-office therapy at some point, you have the option of choosing a GLPG therapist located in your community.
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