I’m New to Therapy: Do I Need to Go to Therapy?

This is one of the questions I get most frequently from family, friends, or people I meet in public. My answer is always “yes!” It’s not because I see anything particular in need of fixing; it’s because I truly think everyone could benefit from sitting down with a trained listener and getting things off of their chest. So, a more useful question is “How do I know it’s THE RIGHT TIME for me to go to therapy?” Here are some clues:

  1. Are you noticing things around you just seem to be not working out the way you want, need, or expect them too? Are you struggling to get through a situation with work, school or loved ones?
  2. Does it seem like several people in your life are acting concerned about you? You might be hearing, “Hey are you okay? You seem a little different lately…I’m here if you need me.” Or you might be hearing, “I don’t know how to deal with you when you’re like this. You never used to talk to me like that.” Sometimes, loved ones are very direct: “Maybe you should talk to someone, a professional or something.”
  3. Do you notice that objectively, life is good, but for some reason you don’t feel good? You hit your goals, your family is proud, people envy your career but you still just can’t relax, enjoy, and revel in this. Sometimes you wonder if you want to live.
  4. Do you notice one of your “bad habits” getting more and more frequent? Drinking on the weekends became beers after work 5 days a week. You check Facebook for hours at a time or dozens of times a day. Online shopping is wrecking your budget.
  5. Does an old memory seem to bother you a lot? You find yourself thinking about something that happened when you were a kid, or treating every new love interest like they’ll hurt you…just like your ex did.
  6. Are you overreacting and you know it? Small things seem to overwhelm you. You constantly have to take back words and actions you know you didn’t mean.  
  7. Are you anxious to find out how to grow into a better person, and want a non-judgmental person to help you take some next steps? 

Therapy is useful for many reasons, but if you are recognizing yourself in these situations, it’s a good time to seek help. How to seek that help is another question, which I address here.  

Mrs. Andreana Mabry, M.S., LMFT, is a Black licensed marriage and family therapist practicing in Southern California. Aspiring home chef. Pronouns She/Her. Say hi to your dog for her.

Veterans and Active Duty Military Crisis Line
www.veteranscrisisline.net 800-273-8255

Rape Abuse & Incest National Network
rainn.org 800-656-HOPE

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
suicidepreventionlifeline.org 800-273-8255

The Trevor Project
thetrevorproject.org 866-488-7386

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