We can all agree that making big changes that are good for you is a great idea. One of these changes could be major, such as getting help for an addiction, eating disorder, or mental health crisis. Or it could be something on a smaller scale, like gaining more confidence or learning better coping strategies.
You may find yourself wondering if it is a good idea to go to therapy to improve yourself. But before you make the decision, consider some key questions for making that call.
This will help you decide if treatment is the way to go. These specific questions have been recommended by these experts – therapists and social workers – to help make the decision-making process smooth.
Should I go to therapy? 10 questions to ask yourself first
1. Am I seeing unhealthy patterns in my life?
Many of us have unhealthy habits or patterns that don’t serve us well. Asking, Karen Osterle, LICSW, “Do I see a pattern in my reactions or behavior that I don’t understand and/or need to let go of?” A great way to determine if a treatment is right for you.
2. Do I suffer from self-love?
Austrell brought up something that really resonates: self-love. She suggests asking, “Are there aspects I don’t like or can’t accept?” She goes on to say that guilt, shame, and/or perfectionism can be powerful forces.
“If you have not yet developed the ability to clearly understand your own motives and actions, the way they may have been affected a little by your past experiences, you have no fixed means of seeing them, and the inner turmoil they can cause, as anything other than deterministic,” she says.
What does Osterle mean point blank? Your struggle with loving yourself may be deeply rooted, and therapy can help you dig through.
3. Do I feel hopeless and unmotivated?
Ruthie Callay, LCSW, says, “Often, people may notice that they feel sadder, unmotivated, hopeless, or more fearful than they used to be. Sure, we all go through periods when we feel down, but if it lasts longer than seems typical, it may There should be cause for concern.”
Kalai gives some examples of this, including: “Things that used to bring you joy are not bringing you pleasure anymore; you are having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or feeling rested; you may be distancing yourself from friends and family; it may be your job.” Suffer because you don’t have the same drive as you did before.”
4. Was I feeling confused?
“Do you find your life overwhelming or unmanageable? Do you feel more angry and frustrated than you want to be?” If you answered yes, Christine McInnes, LMFT says therapy can be key to helping you manage these feelings of anxiety, frustration, and anger.
5. Do I suffer from persistent anxiety?
Jill Whitney, LMFT suggests asking yourself two key questions if you’re bringing up the idea of therapy and you’re on the fence about making the call:
“Do you feel like you’re trapped in something, whether it’s a job or a relationship? Is your anxiety getting in the way of living and enjoying your life, keeping you from doing things?”
6. Am I getting advice but not changing my behaviour?
Deborah M. Gonzalez, LCSW raises an important issue: Friends are good for venting, for complaining, for having someone to agree with, and for empathy. But if you have feelings or behaviors that you want to change that you aren’t able to change on your own, want guidance on how to handle an upsetting situation, or find yourself overwhelmed with your life, a therapist is a good option.
This is a huge factor in determining whether treatment is right for you. Ask yourself: “Am I taking advice from friends but finding it difficult to make changes?” If the answer is yes, then it’s time to get therapy, not just support from your friends.
7. Do my coping skills need to be modified?
“Do I want to learn better coping mechanisms to deal with life’s stressors? Do I want to work on being the best version of myself?” Dr. Tala Joharchi suggests taking a deep look at yourself with these two questions before signing up for therapy.
8. Am I dealing with a crisis?
“Do you go through an event in life where being non-judgmental would be helpful?” asks Patrick Tully, MA, LMFT. If you know you’re in crisis, Tully says, it may be best to seek professional help.
9. Do I suffer from abuse or addiction?
Ruthie Kalay points out that if you’re struggling with abuse or addiction, treatment is really pivotal in helping you manage these tough issues.
10. Do I want better relationships?
Many of us want better relationships. Osterle shares a key question many of us would benefit from asking ourselves: “Do I have more conflict than harmony in my most important relationships?”
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Because your mental health is so important, as well as input from therapists and social workers, we asked ChatGPT for other in-depth questions to ask yourself if you’re still on the fence about going to therapy:
- How did my feelings affect my daily life?
- Do I feel like I’m struggling to cope with certain situations or relationships?
- Have I recently experienced an important change in my life that caused me distress?
- Do I feel like my current coping mechanisms are not working for me?
- Have I experienced past trauma or abuse that I haven’t fully addressed?
- Do I have anxiety, depression, or other mental health problems?
- Do I feel like my thoughts or feelings are controlling me?
- Am I having trouble sleeping or am I experiencing physical symptoms that may be related to stress?
- Do I feel like I need a safe and supportive space to talk about my thoughts and feelings?
- Do I want to work on personal growth and self-improvement?
If you said yes to a few of these, consider reaching out to a professional in your area.
How do you know when it’s time to see a therapist?
Without a healthy mental condition, you may end up living a miserable and even harmful life for yourself and others. Knowing when you need help taking care of your mental health is crucial to taking care of yourself.
Here are some signs that it’s time for treatment:
- You are having problems processing things in your life.
- You have emotional outbursts that affect your mood and the relationships around you.
- You feel like you’re on autopilot and not fully present.
- You need a third person with an unbiased opinion on situations to talk to.
- You feel stuck or overwhelmed.
- Your mood gets in the way of your daily life.
- You have experienced a trauma or are going through a major transition in your life.
Former MTV personality and Columbia University alumnus Laura Lifshitz writes about divorce, relationships, parenting, marriage, and more for YourTango, The New York Times, Women’s Health, Working Mother, and PopSugar.