The stigma around seeing a therapist is not nearly what it once was. In fact, many understand that going to therapy doesn’t mean there is “something wrong with you” but rather there are things you may not be able to see or understand in yourself that a therapist can help illuminate, then guide you to remove the obstacles that have held you back individually and/or in your relationships.
When I first started my private practice many years ago, it was more common to see shame and embarrassment come up for people when they began therapy. They were less likely to talk about it with others as they feared the perception of that would be negative. Over the recent years, however, this has changed. Many freely talk about their therapists and that they are in individual and couples counseling. Needing a little support doesn’t have the same negative connotation it used to which I believe was a repellent to seeking help. The education around mental health has helped push that along immensely. “It’s ok not be okay,” has been instrumental in that. The challenges that we have faced societally in the last few years has also exacerbated the need for intervention around anxiety and depression, also normalizing these conditions.
More couples are coming into my therapy practice without being in crisis yet, which is so helpful. I more often hear them say they want to avoid bigger problems later, music to my ears, as I know the consequences of letting relationship challenges build up. The couples who have waited until resentment is high, emotional safety is low and their communication is ineffective, have a deeper hole to dig out of.
Whether there are obstacles blocking you in the way you see yourself, how you feel, how you relate to others or unhealthy relationship patterns, the benefit of beginning this work is clear. Those who have the ability to hold a mirror up to themselves and own their role, can look at the impact of their past and stay focused on making changes in their lives now, can reap the benefits of the rest of a life finally being unstuck. Why wouldn’t you?
Here are 10 reasons you need therapy now.
- Your self esteem is in the toilet. It’s time to look at why that is and challenge any faulty beliefs about who you are.
- Your conflict avoidance creates problems for you. The consequences of not dealing with situations are high over time, internally and in your relationships.
- You are emotionally unavailable. Where did you learn it was not safe to be vulnerable? You can learn to be more emotionally available and connect with others in a more rewarding way.
- You keep getting into bad relationships. Have you considered the possibility that it’s less about the problematic partners you have had and more about your choices? Why do you lean in towards unhealthy situations?
- You are a perfectionist. Where did you learn that you had do do things perfectly? Is it possible this was learned as a way to feel more in control in a world you felt out of control? Perfectionism is a set-up as life isn’t perfect and things happen.
- You struggle to manage your anger. Do you need to look at your history and what that anger is really about? Did it serve you at one time and no longer does?
- You abuse substances. Are you using substances to medicate uncomfortable feelings? What emotionally needs attention?
- Your relationship is disconnected. Couples who slowly move further apart from each other emotionally often have unresolved hurt feelings or unmet needs between them. The longer the disconnection, the more at risk your relationship is.
- You are possessive and jealous. Where did you learn that the people you care about might leave you? It’s time to look at your vulnerability in relationships to stop behaving in ways that may ultimately push your partners away.
- Your worry overtakes you. What can your history tell you about why you assume the worst or get preoccupied over the possibility that things will go wrong? Future-tripping around things that haven’t even happened can be exhausting.
The reason I suggest that you might “need therapy now” is that I want to encourage you to minimize your own suffering as soon as possible. I also understand that despite therapy being more acceptable, there are still many things that can block people like fear of facing difficult things, a belief that looking back won’t be helpful or possibly being uncomfortable with the idea of sharing their lives with a stranger. But I still hope to provide you a kernel of inspiration to try.
If you don’t have any therapist referrals handy, check out the Psychology Today Therapist Directory to begin your search. If you reside in California, see my California Online Therapy practice. Wherever you live, if you have a specific question, I offer email Emotional Health / Relationship Consultations as an additional resource.