This question has probably crossed your mind at some point. It’s a good question. The line between needing therapy and not needing therapy isn’t clear, and if you’ve never been to therapy before it can be even more confusing. Here are some more questions to ask yourself to figure out if you need therapy:
Am I having trouble sleeping?
Insomnia, early waking, and struggling to fall asleep could be due to a medical condition, reduced sleep hygiene, or certain medications. If you’ve ruled those out, you’re likely experiencing some anxiety that is keeping you awake at night. This is especially true if you find yourself waking up thinking about things you need to do the next day, worrying about the future, or analyzing a problem. If this sounds like you, therapy can help. A therapist trained in anxiety treatment can help you develop skills to manage your racing thoughts and calm your mind so that you can sleep.
Do I overthink things?
Humans are natural problem solvers, and nearly everyone overthinks from time-to-time. If you find yourself overthinking or analyzing problems consistently – especially if it feels like you can’t control it – you may be experiencing anxiety or depression. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help. CBT consists of techniques that you can use to calm your mind and change your thinking habits, allowing you to stop the overthinking cycle. Treatment for overthinkers, overachievers, and anxiety usually includes some form of CBT.
Am I thinking about death? Mortality? Even suicide?
If you are having suicidal thoughts, you deserve to get help. No one should suffer through suicidal thoughts alone. (If you are having suicidal thoughts right now, please contact your local crisis center. If you are in the United States, you can call 911 or contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255).
Even if you aren’t thinking of ending your own life, if you are finding yourself thinking about death, what would happen if you died, how people might react, or even if people would care, therapy can help. No one deserves to live with the weight of wondering if people would care if they lived or died. A therapist trained in depression treatment, trauma therapy, or crisis intervention can help.
Would it help just to talk to someone?
The greatest benefit of therapy is being able to talk to someone openly about anything that is bothering you. Sometimes there are situations that we just need to get off our chest, and it’s easier to do that with someone who doesn’t know the people in your life. Therapists are also required by federal law to maintain your privacy, which isn’t true of life coaches and relationship coaches. If you think you would feel better getting something off your chest with the safety of knowing that your friends, family, and colleagues will never hear about it, a trained therapist can help.
Am I struggling to get out of bed/get out of the house/do the things I want to do?
If you wake up each morning dreading the day, or you find yourself unable to get out of bed, or if you can only get out of bed with a Herculean effort, you may be struggling with symptoms of depression. Working with a therapist who can help you figure out your values, create a plan for the future, and help you understand the neurobiology of emotions and how to manage them can help ease your suffering.
Am I frustrated with my career, my goals, or my life?
Many of us have setbacks and detours in life. If you find yourself frustrated with your career path, with where you are in life, or with feeling like you don’t have a purpose, therapy can help. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) consists of skills and mental exercises to help you understand your core values, identify your purpose in life, and figure out plans for how to get to where you want to be. If you feel lost in life, therapy can help you find your path.