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Do I need therapy?

Updated: Jan 11, 2019

5 reasons why therapy might be a benefit for you or your loved one.

You might be asking yourself the same question many of us wonder sometimes - How do I know if I need therapy? Well, that's a bit of a tricky question if you ask me, because of the negative stigma that can come along with seeing a therapist. A lot of people think that if they see a therapist, that means something is wrong with them.

That's just not true!

In fact, anyone can benefit from therapy if they're motivated and in it for the right reasons.

Therapy is a great way to explore who you are as a person, learn about how your brain works, learn ways to calm your body, increase your emotional vocabulary, increase your healthy relationships, learn to utilize new coping skills, and much more.

So, if you're still wondering if it's time to schedule a therapy session for yourself, your family or your child - Here are 5 indicators that it might be time to seek support from a mental health professional:

1. If your stressors are impacting your life in major ways

If you can't seem to sleep regularly because there's so much on your mind, or maybe your stress continues to impact your socialization - these can be red flags that your brain is overwhelmed and needs a break. If you're isolating yourself from the people you usually spend time with or you're wearing yourself down with worry, it might be time to seek help to get back on your feet.

These habits might seem small at first, but over time they can lead you to stop taking care of yourself. Finding a therapist who you feel comfortable talking to and can connect with can definitely help you find relief.

Therapy is a great way to reduce the crap that we all feel sometimes - the anxiety, the sadness, and the stress from work or school. We all feel those. But if your symptoms are beginning to impact your life in negative ways, it's always okay to ask for help and see if therapy is a good choice for you.

2. If your natural supports are not cutting it

Natural supports are those that you have in your everyday life - your friends, family, spouse, church group, teachers, pets, social media groups, etc. These are the places you can turn to when you need support, but sometimes they just don't feel like they're enough. And that's okay! Maybe it means that it's time for you to learn how to help yourself more. Or maybe you need help finding and connecting with these supports in your community, in which case your therapist should be able to help you figure out what's out there.

3. If you're worried about safety

This is more of a serious one so I'm going to be short and to the point. If you're causing harm to yourself or having suicidal thoughts, it's definitely time to seek help from a professional. Likewise, if you're having thoughts about hurting others, this is something you need to talk about to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. You don't have to feel like this anymore, so reach out to someone in your area.

Safety is our number one priority, and your therapist should be talking to you about it in your very first session. Developing a safety plan with your therapist is often easy and not stressful, in fact most people feel relief from doing this.

If your safety concerns are immediate, call 911 or get yourself to a hospital before seeking out therapy services.

4. If your child is having continuous big behaviors

So your kid keeps stealing, lying, biting, running, or misbehaving at school? Guess what? Your kid is not a bad kid. There's no such thing :)

Your child most likely is needing help to learn impulse control skills, to learn emotional recognition or healthy coping skills, or maybe their body is having trouble calming down because they are triggered and their growing brain can't handle it yet. If your child or teen is displaying behaviors, they are needing something from us.

Their behaviors are their language for telling us that they need help, support and understanding.

Naughty behaviors that reoccur at school or home are definitely behaviors that are functioning for some purpose - there's always a reason we do what we do. There's likely a healthier way for your child to get their needs met, and a therapist can help you figure out what that need is. A therapist can share a different perspective with you, because they are not part of your family system and should not be emotionally reactive to your child's misbehavior.

And finally,

5. If YOU want to go!

It's as easy as that. If you think you could benefit from talking with someone about what's going on for you, reach out to a therapist in your area. Ask them if they can help. Ask them if therapy is a good fit for your concerns. If you find it helpful, do it!

Again, I truly think that anyone can benefit from therapy. Even therapists are recommended to have their own therapy. It really does not mean that something is wrong with you. If that's the case, then there's something a little wrong with all of us and there's always something we can all work on.


Hallie Henely, LMFT

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Mental health advocate

Holding Hands Family Therapy, PLLC

West Des Moines, Iowa

Don't be shy, email me!

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