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  • Writer's pictureAllison Fraser

Do I need therapy?

This can be a confusing question. As a therapist, I want to attempt to help demystify the decision process.

Therapy can be useful for many stages in life and it doesn't need to be a major situation to warrant seeking support. There are many reasons to seek therapy including a recent or past traumatic event, life transitions, career concerns, life satisfaction, an increase in stress and anxiety, feeling totally overwhelmed and needing clarity on how and which way to move...the list is long.

There is a tendency to think-"well, it wasn't or

isn't that bad, I'm not totally depressed,

I'm still doing ok, I'll be fine."

The important thing to remember is: You don't need to justify the need for therapy.

Of course I am biased but I believe having a mental health professional on your support team is beneficial when you are digging deep and developing new coping skills and critical when things go sideways. We seek support in many areas of life and having a relationship with a therapist is as important as a dentist, a hair stylist, trainer or a mentor.

Therapy can be used as a preventive tool, to maintain mental and emotional wellness across the lifespan.

But seriously, do I need therapy? There are signs like symptoms of depression or anxiety that interfere with your daily life, motivation and goals. You might notice behaviors that are negatively impacting your life, drugs, alcohol, internet and gaming usage and things that you keep secret from others. Thinking about harm to self or others or engaging in high risk behaviors that could result in harm to self or others.

There are more subtle cues as well. If you are looking around at options, have been thinking about it for a while, have family or friends encouraging you to check it out, it's probably time to engage. Perhaps the old set of coping skills are not as effective as they used to be and managing life is harder than it used to be. If you have been feeling stuck, are ready to make some changes in your life but aren’t sure where or how to start. If you are feeling out of sorts, wondering why you aren’t more-happy, satisfied, productive, fulfilled, fill in the blank. If you are noticing an increase in anxiety, stress, feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, it’s time. It doesn’t mean something major has shifted or happened, whatever is happening that got you here, and has you questioning, is worth paying attention to.

If you are recognizing the need for support, whether it's a curiosity or a crisis, take time to find it. Ask friends, ask other professionals on your support team and check out local resources.

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