When Do You Know You Need Therapy?
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When Do You Know You Need Therapy?

According to a new report from Mental Health America, the number of people in the United States who are looking for help with mental illnesses like anxiety and depression has increased dramatically.

In 2020, for example, the organization saw a 93 percent increase in the number of people taking its anxiety screen and a 62 percent increase in the number of people taking its depression screen.



Many people are struggling with their mental health issues and know, deep down, that it’s time to seek help. At the same time, though, there are also plenty of people who are on the fence about finding a therapist.



For those who are unsure of whether or not they could benefit from talking to a therapist, the following guidelines can help them to make the right decision for coping with their specific life challenges.



Table of Contents

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Signs It’s Time to Talk to a Therapist
How to Choose the Right Type of Therapy
Seek Help for Mental Illness Today


Signs It’s Time to Talk to a Therapist


It’s not always easy to tell whether or not it would be beneficial to seek counseling and talk to a therapist when struggling with a mental health issue. The following are some of the most common signs that therapy might be a good option:


Prolonged Feelings of Sadness or Helplessness


According to the American Psychological Association, experiencing prolonged feelings of sadness or helplessness is a major sign it’s time to seek out help from a therapist. These feelings are particularly common among those who are struggling with depression, and a therapist can offer guidance to help the client get to the bottom of what’s causing them.


Difficulty Concentrating


The National Institute of Mental Health reports that people who struggle with depression (as well as anxiety and other mental health conditions) often have trouble concentrating at work or school. They may have difficulties remembering things or making decisions, too, and they may get frustrated or overwhelmed more easily than they once did.


If a person’s mental health is starting to affect their productivity and performance at work or school, that’s a sign that they need to seek professional help.


Excessive Worry


Persistent and excessive worry, particularly in situations that are not considered threatening, is a hallmark of anxiety disorders like Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and phobias. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, psychotherapy is one of the most beneficial tools for combating this worry and improving quality of life for people who struggle with anxiety.


Frequently Engaging in Harmful Behaviors


In many instances, addiction or substance abuse issues and mental health conditions go hand in hand. This is often referred to as dual diagnosis.


According to a report published in World Psychiatry, approximately 50 percent of individuals who have been diagnosed with severe mental disorders are also affected by substance abuse.


It’s not always clear which comes first, the mental health issue or the substance abuse. In either case, though, experts have found that therapy can be very beneficial in teaching healthier coping mechanisms and minimizing one’s dependence on harmful substances.


Distancing from Friends and Family


Distancing oneself from friends and family is another tell-tale sign that someone is struggling with their mental health and could benefit from seeing a therapist.


Similarly, according to this article written by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. and published by Psych Central, it’s also worth considering whether or not one’s friends and family are creating distance themselves because they’re overwhelmed or tired of acting as that person’s sounding board.


Rather than continuing to unload problems on those who are unqualified, it’s better for people in this position to make an appointment with a qualified therapist.


Symptoms Have Returned


Some people who have been to therapy in the past might be resistant to returning to therapy in the present. They might think that they’ve been cured and don’t need treatment any longer.


The truth, though, is that mental health challenges and symptoms often ebb and flow in their severity. If a persons’ symptoms have returned, they should seek help from a professional sooner rather than later.



How to Choose the Right Type of Therapy


Deciding that they need therapy is one of the biggest steps a person can take when it comes to managing their mental health. The next big hurdle, though, is choosing the right type of therapy for their needs. The following are some of the most common types of therapy that can help with anxiety, depression, and other common mental health struggles:


  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy: One of the most common types talk therapy, CBT involves identifying negative thought patterns and the behaviors that stem from them.


  • Psychodynamic Therapy: Psychodynamic therapy involves an exploration of the connection between the unconscious mind and one’s actions, emotions, relationships, and thought patterns


  • Couples or Family Therapy: This approach to counseling is usually best if your problems involve other people. Couples and Family Therapists help people improve their relationships as well as their mental health simultaneously.


  • EMDR/Trauma Therapy: There are various types of therapies aimed at helping people overcome past trauma. This includes EMDR (Eye-Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing), which is one of the most effective therapies for treating trauma.


  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy: DBT is a highly-validated and very common approach to therapy. This is particularly helpful for people struggling with controlling their intense emotions. This is also a useful therapy for people with Personality Disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder.




If they are struggling with their mental health, then yes. Like any other person, a teenager will benefit from having a trained mental health professional. Additionally, they may feel comfortable to talk to about things they are finding difficult. It is common for teenagers to struggle with a variety of mental health issues throughout the transitional stage of adolescence.



If you or other family members are worried that your teen may be struggling, it may be time to have a conversation about seeking out additional support. Be sure to approach any conversation with empathy and curiosity. Be careful to not make your teen feel judged or at fault for struggling. Feelings of guilt and shame often closely accompany any person when they are struggling, so gently normalize that everyone struggles at different times, and that you are there to help them through this difficult time.




Do I need therapy?



Seek Help for Mental Illness Today


Nobody needs to suffer in silence when they’re struggling with anxiety, depression, negative thoughts, or other mental health conditions. Partnering with a mental health professional can help you develop healthy coping skills and start feeling better.


If you’ve been on the fence about seeing a therapist for advice, diagnosis, and treatment, ask yourself whether or not any of the signs listed above apply. If they do, reach out to a professional in your area today.




American Psychological Association. (2020). Understanding psychotherapy and how it works. https://www.apa.org/topics/psychotherapy/understanding


Drake, R. E., T MUESER, K. I. M., & Brunette, M. F. (2007). Management of persons with co-occurring severe mental illness and substance use disorder: program implications. World Psychiatry6(3), 131.


Mental Health America. The State Of Mental Health In America. https://mhanational.org/issues/state-mental-health-america


National Alliance on Mental Illness. Anxiety Disorders.


National Institute on Mental Health. Depression. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression




Disclaimer: ALL IN Therapy Clinic aims to improve people’s lives. We do this through providing effective mental health counseling by passionate professionals. Inspired by this, we write content for your own education. Also, our content is researched, cited, reviewed, and edited by licensed mental health professionals.  However, the information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Additionally, it should not be used in place of the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.






Written and reviewed by

Dr Kyle Zrenchik, PhD, ACS, LMFT

Dr. Kyle Zrenchik is the Co-Founder of ALL IN, the Creator of the Couples Erotic Flow model for treating sexual issues in individuals and couples, Designer of the Deep Dive programs at ALL IN, and is one of the most well-respected couples counselors in the Twin Cities.

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