Everyone’s experiences are valid and mental health impostor syndrome—the feeling of not deserving treatment because we’re not suffering “enough”—is real. If you think you would benefit from therapy, you deserve to seek help.
Still, it’s tough to know if the time is right or if you would even benefit from therapy and taking the first step to find a therapist can be daunting. Practitioners specialize in different areas, we don’t know what to ask or how much personal information to share, and we have to figure out ways to afford therapy. Hurdles to accessing care and stigma attached to mental health means that nearly two-thirds of people with a known mental health condition never seek help from a health professional.
At MyWellbeing, we know it can feel intimidating to embark upon the journey of finding a therapist. We’re here to help; we make it easier to find your therapist match with personalized matchmaking and plenty of resources about types of therapy and how to prepare for your sessions.
But before you even find your therapist, how are you supposed to know if therapy is right for you? Here are some ways you might be able to tell if you would benefit from therapy with expert insight from some of our practitioners.
Is your gut telling you that you should see a therapist? If you’ve been thinking about it for a while, it might be time to take the first step and find out if it’s right for you.
“Whether you come to therapy because you are at a crossroads in your life or relationship, feel overwhelmed by circumstances outside of your control, or you are simply curious about the process, you can reap the benefits of therapy,” says Julia Taub.
You don’t have to wait until things become completely overwhelming to talk to a therapist. Preventative care is just as important. “You might be surprised to hear that anyone can benefit from therapy. Therapy is not exclusively for people with diagnosed mental illnesses. Therapy is a tool for anyone who is interested in investing in him or herself,” says Julia Taub.
Whether you’d like to be a better partner, parent, or you want to take time to focus on yourself, therapy can give you the space to practice self care and self improvement. In an overwhelming world, it allows us to put ourselves first. We all go through challenges, and going to therapy when things are good can give us the tools and strategies we need to cope when the next crisis arises.
While anyone can benefit from therapy, “it is those who are truly committed to the therapeutic relationship and process who will experience the most significant benefits or gains,” says Julia Taub.
Again, we don’t have to be in a serious crisis to find therapy beneficial. Many times, the sense that we’re stuck in a situation we don’t want to be in or the feeling that something is off but we don’t know what to do about it can be the first indication that working with a therapist might help.
“If you feel overwhelmed by your emotions, finding that your mood or feelings are interfering with your ability to function in your daily life, are disinterested in things that typically bring you joy, or are impacting your relationships, you may benefit from engaging in therapy,” says Jennifer Mann.
If you’re having trouble managing emotions like anger or emptiness, that can be a sign that it might be time to seek more support. Maybe your work performance is suffering, you’re having trouble with your personal relationships, you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep, or you just don’t feel well in general. Struggling to manage our emotions can be a sign that it could be time to find the right therapist.
If things are overwhelming or seem unmanageable, therapists are trained to work with you to improve your mental health as well as cope with symptoms that might take more time to respond to treatment. Your treatment is personalized to you and your therapist will be there to work out an individualized plan based on your experiences and needs.
Our mental health can impact our physical health. Unexplained muscle aches or headaches, fatigue, and other physical ailments could be tied to our mental health and finding the right therapist can help you address mental health struggles that could be manifesting in physical symptoms.
Maybe you’ve tried exercise, mindfulness, journaling, or talking to friends and family. You’ve practiced gratitude, watched your favorite television shows, and taken a walk. But nothing seems to be working.
If the coping skills you’ve used in the past don’t seem to be working as well anymore, it might be time to talk to a therapist who can brainstorm new options with you.
“Everyone has a certain level of anxiety that they typically experience on a regular basis and a different level when faced with a crisis or trauma. It is less important to focus on how your anxiety level compares to others, and more important to focus on your individual experience,” says Jennifer Mann.
It can be hard, but examining how much impact your struggles are having on your daily life can help you determine if you might benefit from therapy. If your struggles have increased, are taking up a considerable amount of time and energy, are spreading into different parts of your life, or are having a negative impact on your daily life in general, it might be time to seek help.
Trauma and grief are complex and can cause a significant amount of distress, and working through them can be overwhelming and scary. Tools and resources for how to cope with things like depression and anxiety might be more accessible and plentiful than resources for how to cope with trauma or grief. A therapist can provide a confidential, compassionate, and safe space to explore your experiences so you don’t have to work out a way to cope on your own.
If you feel like your reliance on substances to help you cope has become unmanageable or destructive, a therapist specializing in addiction and recovery can guide you through the process of managing your reliance on substances and discovering different coping strategies.
Trauma, grief, and substance reliance are not the only indicators that therapy may be helpful to you. Remember, it’s important to focus on your individual experience and not to compare yourself to others.
We know the first step can seem insurmountable and as soon as you feel like you might take the leap, the questions can become overwhelming:
The uncertainty can lead to inaction, so we’ve compiled the list of helpful posts above to help you feel more secure.
Wondering whether you would benefit from therapy is valid. Exploring your options, being open about your needs, and feeling confident to take the first step are all important parts of your therapy journey. And when you’re ready to find a therapist, you can use our matching service to find the right therapist for you.
Caitlin is an organizational change strategist, advisor, writer, and the founder of Commcoterie, a change management communication consultancy. She helps leaders and the consultants who work with them communicate change for long-lasting impact. Caitlin is a frequent speaker, workshop facilitator, panelist, and podcast guest on topics such as organizational change, internal communication strategy, DEIBA, leadership and learning, management and coaching, women in the workplace, mental health and wellness at work, and company culture. Find out more, including how to work with her, at www.commcoterie.com.