Why and When to Seek Counseling

Talking about the things that you are struggling with and the concerns that you have can really help illuminate a path to overcoming your problems. It may feel uncomfortable or embarrassing to open up, but sometimes it’s the best course of action. Therapy can provide emotional support, give you new ideas for how to cope, and help relieve some of the weight you’re feeling.

How do you know when counseling is the next best step for you? In some cases, it may be readily apparent that you should seek counseling. In other cases, the signs may be more subtle, but you don’t have to wait until things have spun out of control to get help. Here are some things to look for that may signal a need for therapy:

Significant Loss

If you have lost someone or something very important to you, the effects can be quite strong and overwhelming. Not all cases may call for professional help, but don’t feel ashamed if you need some guidance to get through a breakup, losing your job, the death of a loved one or any other form of loss you have suffered.

Not Feeling Yourself

Have you been eating or sleeping more or less than usual? Do you spend less time with family and friends than you used to? Do you struggle with feelings of sadness or anger that feel uncontrollable? These signs may point to a serious mental health issue that can be improved with treatment. If left alone, these negative habits and feelings can escalate and may even lead to suicidal thoughts.

Traumatic Experience

Recent or past traumatic experiences can wreak havoc with your mental wellbeing. If there is abuse or neglect in your past, you may still be affected by it, especially if you haven’t fully dealt with or talked about it. If you have recently been a victim of a crime, struggled with a chronic illness or dealt with some other traumatic event, counseling can help you learn ways to cope that are healthy and beneficial.

Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

If you are relying on unhealthy substances or behaviors in order to make yourself feel better, this can be a sign that you may need more professional help to find better ways of coping. Abusing drugs, alcohol, sex or food can provide only a temporary fix while making the overall problem much worse. Therapy can help you gain control over these behaviors.

Loss of Interest

Lastly, if you no longer feel inclined to do the things you used to enjoy and don’t seem to be getting out and meeting people as much, you may be struggling with something internally that could improve with counseling.


Taking the first steps toward therapy can seem daunting or uncomfortable but it doesn’t have to be a huge commitment. Even just 7-10 sessions can lead to lasting results. In the case of severe mental illness, more intense help may be required, but in most other cases, short-term therapy can yield great results and help you get back to a healthy, happy life.

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