How do I know if I Need a Therapist

People will ask, “How do I know if I need to see a therapist, if my problem is that….bad?”

Most frequently, I tell people that if the problem begins to interfere with a person meeting their responsibilities in life, they need assistance with the problem.

This “interference” my take the form of excessive worry, crying, sleeping(or lack), eating(or lack) and overreaction to the topic.  These are “direct” indications assistance is needed.

“Indirect” indications include overreaction to other problems, i.e., the fight over small issues, the child who suddenly becomes oppositional to school (when they are typically model students), etc.

Sometimes, people just need to talk about a problem.  They just need to discuss it out loud with someone who is listening to them. Sometimes, they need a different perspective on the problem.  They need to see if they have “missed something”, if they could “connect the dots” in a different way or have missed another solution.

Sometimes, a person needs someone else to say something they have been saying all along.  For example, “I agree with you”; “You are being too hard on yourself”; or (speaking to the husband of a couple, “She is right” or “Her method of addressing this is how I would do it.”.

Sometimes, people just need a safe place to be “crazy”; say whatever comes to mind, knowing they are not going to be judged. And then, at the end of the hour, they pack up all their baggage and go back to their life, knowing, next week at this time, they can come and go crazy again in my office.

Sometimes, people need to be shown how to make a change; what specific steps they need to take.  Sometimes, they know how to make a change but they don’t want to make it on their own. They want someone to be with them as they make their change.

Sometimes, people need to be told they need to make a change but need some time to sit with someone before they make it.  Sometimes, people sense something is wrong but they don’t know what and need help discovering what it is.

Sometimes, people need a place to refuse to make a change in their life.