I believe there is still a stigma attached to therapy; so many people never go or put it off way too long. They feel embarrassed and don’t want others to know that they are having marital or family problems. Some hope that the worrisome issue will take care of itself and eventually go away. Sometimes it does; but more often than not, whenever a problem is ignored it tends to grow until it is dealt with effectively.
So how do you know when you should get counseling? What elevates daily strife to a level that requires hiring a professional? Here are seven common situations where you may benefit from making an appointment with a therapist. Sometimes just talking with a professional can make a huge difference in the quality of your life.
Addiction: There are two types of addiction: physical and process. A physical addiction is when you will feel a physical withdrawal when the substance is removed, like drug use. A process addiction is when you cannot stop a behavior, such as gambling. Either type can wreak havoc on you and your family. An addiction rarely goes away by itself.
Feeling Pain: Are you or is someone you love feeling pain? Pain alerts you that something is wrong and needs to be tended to. Experiencing long-term physical or emotional pain can take its toll on you and those you love.
Feeling Stuck: Being in a situation that you want to get out of is an awful feeling. Maybe you hate your job or feel trapped in a bad relationship. Maybe you are dependent on someone financially and want to be more independent. It could also be that you have an important life-changing decision to make and can’t decide what to do. All of these scenarios can cause severe depression or anxiety and is one of the main reasons to see a therapist.
Hostility or Anger: Are you easily angered or living with someone who is? Living in a hostile environment is very unhealthy, especially for children. Anger is similar to pain in that it is a severe warning that something is wrong and needs to be addressed. Anger also has the potential to escalate into physical abuse and can become dangerous if ignored for too long.
Imbalance of Power: Are you in a relationship where you have no say? Does your partner or spouse control the finances without transparency? Do they have a social life outside the relationship that you are shielded from? Are they excluding you from important decisions? Do you feel like you’re not being heard? This is very unhealthy to a relationship. Even if your partner refuses to get counseling with you, it would benefit you to attend by yourself.
Transitions: Are you newly married or divorced? Did you just have a baby? Are you starting or changing your career? Did you just relocate? Life transitions can be difficult and having a little support can help you through your adjustment period.
Trauma: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is when you’ve had any experience that was so frightening or horrible that you’ve had nightmares, avoided situations that reminded you of it, or made you hypersensitive and easily startled. It can happen to you if you’ve experienced combat, been robbed, attacked, or even if you’ve been in or witnessed a bad car accident. If you’ve experienced a trauma and have had these symptoms for more than a month, you need to seek professional help.
Though it may feel uncomfortable to call a therapist, there are so many benefits to be gained. Change can be scary, but I believe its work the risk. If you’re experiencing one of these situations, take the first step and call someone.
~ This is an article I wrote that was previously published in Plymouth Live Magazine.