Long gone are the days when people felt they needed to keep their therapist under wraps (although, of course, you still can if you prefer it that way).
However, despite stigmas around therapy – thankfully! – being a thing of the past and more and more people making the decision to see a therapist, many people still wrongly believe you need to wait until “breaking point” to benefit from seeing a psychologist.
The reality is that there is no “right” time to start therapy.
People go to therapy for all kinds of reasons, whether that means help with treating a specific mental health issue or something as simple as wanting to reach a specific goal in life.
The point is, you don’t need to be struggling in order to benefit from seeing a psychologist.
In fact, we like to think of therapy as an emotional and mental wellbeing check. It’s so easy to bulldoze through life without taking a moment to check-in and see how we’re really doing underneath it all.
Therapy provides a safe space to get to know ourselves better, unravel past hurts and disappointments and make sure they’re not negatively impacting the choices we’re making today.
We’re going to take a look at some of the most common reasons people go to therapy:
1.For help with a specific mental health issue
Whether you know you’re suffering from a specific mental health issue or you simply feel “something’s up”, therapy can provide you with the right tools to better manage your symptoms and get to the root of the issue.
Sometimes it’s one event, sometimes it’s a buildup of events (or unexpressed emotions), and sometimes it’s hard to even pinpoint where it all started. Whatever situation you’re in, therapy will provide you with tools to better manage your symptoms whilst also helping you get to the root of the issues, and where it all started. And that’s when real healing and recovery can take place.
2. Relationship difficulties
Whether you’re having difficulties in a current relationship, you’re single and find yourself falling into the same relationship patterns time and time again or you feel like you never get the support you need from the people around you, therapy can help.
The ability to connect with others and form healthy relationships is vital to our emotional and mental wellbeing. If we’re having trouble in our relationships, it’s likely to leave the rest of life feeling difficult too.
In therapy, you will get a better understanding of how your childhood experiences might be impacting the way you form relationships today so you can gradually work to form healthier, more authentic connections with the people around you in the present.
- Because they feel “empty” or directionless
Many people come to therapy because they’re feeling lost or empty. Maybe so far life hasn’t panned out in the way they’d expected or maybe they’ve achieved everything they ever wished for but are starting to question what is was all for. The point is it’s never too late to change course. In therapy, you can work to discover the things that really matter to you so you can build a life full of meaning and purpose.
- For an objective viewpoint
Sharing our thoughts and feelings with close friends and family is really important but it’s completely different to working with a therapist. With a friend you share problems with each other, whereas the therapeutic relationship is focused on you – and you only.
A therapist offers a uniquely objective viewpoint which means personal feelings never get involved or influence the wider picture. Psychologists spend years in training to understand the human condition and to help you in a way that friends can’t. This means they are able to quickly pick up on any areas which are holding you back, and create tangible steps for change.
- Difficulties sleeping or feeling overtired
It might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of therapy but sleep and mental health are closely interlinked. When one falls out of sync, the other usually follows. Whether you’re feeling exhausted or struggling to sleep throughout the night, sleep issues are a good reason to make it through the therapist’s door.
- Support moving through a big life event/change
Whether it’s divorce, moving to a new place, a change in career… Dealing with life changes alone can feel overwhelming. Therapy is a great place to talk over your options and navigate change with the support of a professional.
We live in a society where death is still a taboo subject which can leave some people feeling very isolated when they lose someone important to them. Whilst grief is a completely healthy and normal human process, sometimes the grieving process can take slightly longer and we require support along the way.
There might be things you don’t want to share with the people around you or that you worry you might be judged for. Therapy provides a space for you to share your grief, tell your story and for your feelings to be validated.
- To feel more confident
Low self-esteem normally stems from childhood and can impact life across the board. Therapy is a great place to build your confidence and work through past unhealthy relationships or unresolved experiences from childhood that might have knocked your confidence.
- To become the best version of themselves
As Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living”. If we don’t take the time to get to know ourselves, our strengths and vulnerabilities, how will we ever know we’ve given life our best shot? Self-awareness is the biggest gift we can give both ourselves and the people around us.
The reasons to see a psychologist are endless. Not only is therapy going to help you with whatever you’re going through right now, but it’s also going to leave you much better equipped to deal with what happens in the future too. If you’ve been on the fence, now’s the time. But be warned: it might just be life-changing.