There are a lot of people “In Treatment” these days, but also many people who think about it and aren’t so sure. After all, it can be expensive, time consuming, and sometimes painful. So if you are on the fence, what would be reasons to go forward, and what would be ways to manage without it?
I think the main reason to go into therapy is if you have tried to work a problem out and find that you are unable to do it on your own. Your friends may be tired of hearing about your relationship or family problems, and you are getting so much advice that your head is spinning. Perhaps your doctor has recommended it, or a spiritual adviser.
Another reason to go into therapy is if your problems have taken a rapid downturn. That is a signal that help is needed. Of course it is okay to wait to see if things improve, but how long is the right amount of time to wait?
In marriages, a major cause of divorce is waiting too long before getting help. It is also good not to wait too long when struggling with anxiety or depression.
There are many things to try before picking up the phone to call for therapy. These are things you have heard about many times–get exercise, eat nourishing food, reduce drugs and alcohol (and yes, caffeine is a drug, and marijuana can be harmful!), spend time in nature, find a spiritual connection and find human connection and support. People who can manage to do these things enough to balance out emotional pain and suffering are not often seen at a therapist’s door, although even then, it can be very helpful in times of difficulty to get some outside support. However, many people are not able to do the things mentioned on the list above, not because of “weakness” but because something is blocking the soothing, healthy behavior.
For many people, reaching out to get help is a huge and scary problem. There are many reasons for this including fear of dependency or being told what to do, fear of criticism, fear of having a worse problem than you do. Of course financial worries can enter in. Usually these fears can be addressed and relieved with information gathering and phone/in-person consultations. And remember that you are in charge of who you hire to help you. Please be encouraged to ask questions and get the information you feel would be most helpful in making your decision.
So, if you are reading this, I hope it will give you more ideas and information about how to address the question of whether to start going to therapy.