As a therapist, clients often come to me saying things like “I’m not sure if I really need therapy” or “I don’t know if I have a mental health diagnosis, are my problems really significant enough to see a counselor?” I get it. Before I studied to become a counselor, I thought therapy was just for people who really needed it – such as people who were going through a trauma or significant life challenge. It turns out, therapy can provide benefits for a broad range of goals – not just specific mental health challenges.
Here are a few signs you might benefit from seeing a counselor:
You find it difficult to be in the moment – Something important is happening and you are mentally far away and unable to respond to the situation. Maybe you are in an important meeting, or out to dinner with your spouse, and you have no idea what was just said. Having difficulty being present is a sign that your problems are distracting you to the point that you might benefit from some therapeutic help.
You have trouble bouncing back from setbacks – Something seemingly small happens, and you have trouble getting over it. For example, you might forget an appointment and find yourself worrying over it endlessly, thinking about why it happened and how it makes you look. Getting stuck on things is a sign that you might benefit from learning how to respond differently to your thoughts and feelings through therapy.
You’re curious about yourself – Maybe you’ve never been to counseling and you’re just a little curious as to what might come out of it. Maybe you’d like to understand the dynamics in your family better, or why you act the way you act. Maybe you’re not sure if you’re moving your life in a direction you’re satisfied with and you want to get some clarity on next steps. Therapy doesn’t necessarily have to be about problems – it can be about coming to a better understanding of yourself and what you want out of life.
You want to improve your relationships – Maybe you’re dissatisfied with certain relationships in your life and feel like they could be improved. Therapy can help you learn to change how you communicate, develop assertiveness skills, set boundaries, and clarify what’s important to you in your relationships.
You want to prevent future problems – Maybe you have realized that you’ve been depressed or anxious in the past, and you want to learn more about what triggered those periods and how to prevent them or lessen their impact in the future. Therapy can help you learn what triggers anxiety and depression, how to change the way you approach problems to reduce the chance of recurring anxiety and depression, and learn how to better care for yourself in order to maintain a sense of mental wellbeing.
Therapy can be a space to explore pretty much any area of your life that holds curiosity for you. Therapy is about understanding yourself better and creating a life full of meaning, purpose, and vitality, whether that’s achieved through addressing a mental health concern or by addressing the scenarios listed above.
About the author:
Ashley Hamm is the owner of Hamm Counseling, a counseling practice in the Houston Heights focused on helping people reduce their anxiety and stress in order to find calm and confidence. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Registered Health Coach-Specialist, and a Dr. Sears Certified Health Coach. If you are interested in learning more about Ashley, visit her Mental Health Match profile or her website.