8 ways to know if you might benefit from therapy

Deciding if it is time to seek out a therapist can be confusing and overwhelming, especially with the undue stigma surrounding mental health treatment.

Thanks to said stigma, most people still don’t openly talk about seeing a therapist, even though way more people go to therapy than you’d probably think.

While therapists won’t tell you exactly what to do, talking with a therapist can give you the tools you need to articulate, access, and change ways of thinking and behaving to be healthier and more functional.

Here are eight signs you might benefit from therapy:

1Your relationships feel strained

If you’re struggling to maintain healthy, happy relationships (of the romantic, platonic, and familial varieties) in your life, talking with a therapist may help you get the the bottom of why that is. Talking to an objective person about an issue as emotionally-charged as our relationships can help us better understand the kind of friend and partner you are to others — and the kind others are to you.

2You need a place where it’s okay to focus on yourself

It is all too easy to push your own needs to the back burner while you focus on other things, be that your friends, family, job, partner, or other pressing issues. Therapy can offer you a place to mindfully focus on yourself, without any of those pesky, unfounded feelings of guilt that might come from doing so.

3You’ve experienced trauma and keep thinking about it

Therapy is a safe place, ideal for working through traumatic events you’ve experienced in your life. “That’s sometimes one of therapy’s best uses, is for somebody to listen in an objective way, to give you a safe space to talk through your feelings,”clinical psychologist Andrea Bonior, Ph.D. told BuzzFeed News. “If you had a trauma, if you were abused, if you’re grieving, if you lost a loved one, if you had a serious breakup. It’s those times when therapy can feel very special.”

4Daily tasks feel really hard

This was a big one for me: I struggled seriously with completing basic tasks, like getting dressed for the day or answering work e-mails. According to Bonoir, this can be a sign of an underlying issue or psychological disorder — but even if it’s not, therapy is a good place to address the issue if it’s started to negatively affect your life.

5You don’t know how to express your feelings

For me personally, the most beneficial thing about therapy was learning to recognize certain emotions in myself, so I could then articulate those feelings and interpret what they mean. If you’re feeling something, that feeling is real and valid, and deserves to be recognized as such.

6Work is less than awesome

If you’re getting negative feedback at work, or are experiencing anxiety or depression while at work, or just generally hate your job, talking to a therapist can help you work out the root of the problem and address those issues.

7You’re having trouble controlling racing, negative thoughts

If you have racing thoughts, assume the worst or experience a onstant stream of negative feelings, those are signs that you may want to speak to a therapist about anxiety. Some popular proven practices, like cognitive behavioral therapy, can help you identify these thoughts and replace them with healthier, productive ones.

8You just need to talk

Listen, therapy can be a really good thing, simply because it gives us the opportunity to talk without fear of judgement. This isn’t something you need to feel shame about. Therapy is normal, it’s healthy, and you should be commended for taking the time connect with yourself and move toward a healthier, happier existence.

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