[Image description: The image shows two people talking to a therapist on a laptop.]
So, you’re thinking about starting therapy, but you’re not sure if it’s right for you – or for the concern you’re hoping to address. What are some things you should consider?
Strong signals for seeking therapy
There are some symptoms that strongly suggest you may need or benefit from professional therapy. These include having any of the following symptoms, especially if they’re severe and last two weeks or more:
- Trouble sleeping
- Trouble concentrating
- Changes in appetite that cause you to lose or gain weight unintentionally
- Mood changes that make it hard for you to get out of bed in the morning or fulfill typical daily functions or responsibilities
- Lack of interest in things you used to enjoy
- Thoughts about harming yourself or dying
Times when therapy can help
If your symptoms aren’t severe, but you’re facing stress, or relationship or job issues – or you’re simply looking for help achieving your goals or improving your quality of life – the decision to seek therapy can feel less clear-cut. However, it’s important for you to know that there’s no issue too small for therapy. You don’t have to wait for things to get worse before you ask for help. Amwell therapists are ready to support you now.
Here are 10 times to consider therapy:
- You want an outside perspective. Talking to relatives and friends about what’s troubling you can be a good source of support. But there may be times when it’s easier to talk to a stranger – someone who is a licensed professional and can help you to look at your problems in a different way.
- You want a safe space to vent. Therapy doesn’t have to be solely for problem-solving. It can simply be an opportunity to express your fears and frustrations, to shout or cry, or to give yourself time to think – out loud, to someone who will listen without judging you. And that alone could lighten your mood and help you feel better able to cope.
- You feel stuck. You’ve talked to loved ones, read self-help books, set goals, or tried new approaches – and still you feel like you’re not making progress. A therapist can help you figure out ways to move forward and build the skills to do so.
- Your relationship is foundering. Frequent arguments are one sign, but they’re not the only one. If you and your partner have lost interest in each other or in sex, if your sense of friendship and fun is gone, or if you consistently feel dissatisfied in the relationship, couples therapy may help you sort out the problems and find solutions.
- You want to feel better about yourself. A therapist can help you identify the ways you sabotage your self-esteem – whether it’s through negative self-talk or comparing yourself to idealized images on social media – and work with you to develop more positive self-perceptions. They can also help you become more aware of your strengths and confident in your ability to handle what life throws at you.
- You want to build relationship skills. Maybe you’d like to find better ways to communicate at work, at home, or in social situations. Or you and a loved one have a recurring conflict that never seems to get resolved. A therapist can help you learn and practice skills for communicating more effectively, managing conflict, and strengthening your relationships.
- You’re having difficulty adapting to change. Whether it’s a move to a new town, a suddenly empty nest, or new responsibilities at work, change can throw you off your game. A therapist can help you find ways to cope with the new normal until it feels more, well, normal.
- You’re struggling with something big. Grief over a death, divorce, or other loss. A traumatic experience – in your distant past or more recently. A longstanding illness or a recent diagnosis. If you’re dealing with something that just feels like too much to bear, a professional therapist can help you process your feelings so the burden seems more manageable.
- Self-care hasn’t helped. You’ve tried being more social, getting more exercise, improving your sleep and eating habits, and practicing mindfulness – and you’re still feeling down or stressed. This may be a sign it’s time to get help from a licensed therapist.
- You just want help. If you’re feeling stress, worry – or other emotions you can’t even name right now – and you simply feel you can’t manage things alone anymore, it’s okay to seek help. Therapy is for anyone who’s facing tough times or a rough emotional patch and wants help getting through it.
Getting started with therapy
If you decide to give therapy a try, keep in mind that your first visit is primarily for the therapist to get to know you and your goals. It’s also an opportunity for you to meet the therapist and get a sense of whether they – and their approaches to therapy – are the right fit for you. There’s no commitment and no set number of visits. Some people have just a few visits, which can be effective, depending on the issues you want to address. Others meet regularly over a longer period of time. Schedule an appointment today to talk to a therapist online and get care from the comfort of home – or any other quiet, private place.