Should I Go to Therapy?
Some of the questions I am often asked as a counsellor are “how do I know that counselling would help me?” or “when do I know that I could benefit from counselling?” This blog post answers the question “should I go to therapy?” and a few other ones as well!
A common misconception is that we need to be at our breaking point to attend therapy or seek professional support. Engaging in therapy is an investment, emotionally, psychologically, and financially. It takes time and isn’t a quick fix. Some individuals attend the gym to invest in their physical body, which arguably, just as we spend hours in the gym, we should also be investing in our emotional and mental health.
Often, individuals will mention to their therapist, “I thought about starting therapy for years, but it never felt like the right time.” However, how does one define when the “right” time is to seek support? Is it when we hit “rock bottom” or when a traumatic incident occurs?
Many individuals don’t realize that often, the best work can happen before “rock bottom.”
By addressing underlying issues early on, therapy can help prevent the development of more serious mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. It is important to note that there are circumstances and experiences that are out of our control (e.g., unexpected loss, abuse, etc.), and thus, pursuing therapy after the event has occurred is a vital step in the healing journey.
When should I seek therapy?
- You’re ready to talk.
You must be willing to go deep and get to the root. If you do not want to see change or engage in the therapeutic journey, therapy may not work out well.
- Something has been bothering you.
Therapy can be a valuable tool for those looking to improve their self-awareness, increase self-esteem, or develop new skills and behaviours.
- Day-to-day tasks feel impossible or unbearable.
For example, if you’re experiencing persistent negative emotions that are interfering with your daily life, therapy may help you explore and address the underlying causes of these feelings.
- A tough or traumatic event has occurred.
Major life changes such as divorce, loss of a job, or the death of a loved one can be incredibly challenging to navigate. Therapy can provide a safe and supportive environment to process these changes and develop coping strategies. Additionally, if you have experienced a traumatic event or abuse, therapy can help you process the experience and develop coping strategies to manage any related symptoms.
- You are ready to do the work and invest in yourself.
Engaging in therapy isn’t just chatting to let the frustration out – it is a place where change occurs. Beginning therapy is a commitment to work hard to see change in your life. Some sessions will feel light; however, some may be more challenging – however, this is where true deep healing and change occurs. When we face our problems head-on, we can process and navigate our experiences more deeply—removing band-aids and getting to the root of our pain and situations.
What if I’ve already tried therapy, and it didn’t work?
Many people turn to therapy with high hopes of finding relief and solutions for their problems, but what happens when therapy doesn’t work? It can be a discouraging and frustrating experience, especially when you’ve invested time, energy, and money into seeking professional help. However, just because one therapy approach didn’t work for you doesn’t mean that all therapy is ineffective or that you are beyond help. Many factors could contribute to why therapy didn’t work (e.g., mismatched therapist-client relationship, unrealistic expectations, life circumstances), and it’s essential to understand them to make an informed decision about what to do next.
So, what can I do if therapy doesn’t work?
- Consider trying a different therapist or therapy approach: It’s possible that a different therapist or therapy approach might be a better fit for you. Don’t be afraid to shop around and ask for recommendations. Read more about how to find the right counsellor for you HERE.
- Revisit your expectations: Are your expectations realistic? Are you willing to put in the time and effort required for therapy to be effective? If not, it might be worth re-evaluating your goals and whether therapy is the right option.
- Seek support from other sources: Therapy is not the only option for support. Consider contacting friends and family, joining a support group, or exploring self-help resources.
Note: this is not an exhaustive list.
Therapy is not a one-size-fits-all solution; finding the right approach for you might take some trial and error. Don’t give up hope; keep exploring your options until you find what works best for you.
I think I’m ready, what do I do next?
If something stood out to you in this post, this might signal that therapy can be your next step. Also, remember, it’s completely normal to be hesitant and wonder if therapy will make a difference in your life. You can read our blog about “How to Find the Right Counsellor for You” and Reach out to our team of therapists today to see if we are the right fit to support you!