The decision to seek counseling is a deeply personal one. Sometimes there are clear reasons to go, like loss or trauma, or suspecting some kind of psychological disorder. Other times, the reasons may not be so clear, but it still sounds worth considering. If you’re thinking about checking into counseling, but still on the fence, here are some possible reasons to take that step.
You don’t feel good, regularly.
Notice I didn’t say, “You feed bad regularly.” It’s an important distinction. Your mind and body are built to thrive, and success depends on feeling up to the task. Sure, we all have days or weeks where we’re not feeling good for whatever reason. But, if you’re going for long periods where feeling good just isn’t on the table, consider that there may be more waiting for you.
You feel stuck.
If you feel like there’s really no good option for you to feel good about your life, or that you’re in a rut, then therapy may be a good option. The right therapist can help you recognize patterns in your life. We often unknowingly co-conspire with others in our lives to repeat cycles of interaction, not because they’re good or pleasant, but because they’re what we know. Often, awareness and perspective can help break negative cycles and make new results possible.
You know what to do to feel better, but can’t bring yourself to do it.
Self disclosure here: I’m the worst at this! I know exactly what habits will help me feel better day-to-day. If I can just eat less sugar, dump soda pop completely, eat breakfast, get to the gym more than once a month, and go to bed before 2 a.m. instead of watching Netflix, I know I’ll feel much better! And yet… it’s called resistance.
If I know certain habits are good for me, why don’t I just do them? Why do we resist these things? Unhealthy choices often don’t come out of not knowing, but out of resistance to acting in our own best interests. A good therapist can help you lean into this, to figure out where you resist healthy choices and understand why it’s difficult.
Everything else seems more important than therapy.
Life is a big, busy mess for most of us! I completely understand how it’s difficult to prioritize and seek counseling. I had a conversation with a friend here in Fort Worth recently, and she said “I can’t afford therapy!” This is a friendship that tolerates directness, and I pointed out that what she spends on Starbucks and eating out would more than pay for a good therapist if she really wanted to go. She acknowledged this was correct and then took another sip of her latte.
So, what’s the point of resistance here? Often, when I hear people whether to seek counseling or not, it’s followed with some kind of dismissal of their own needs. Of course, people prioritize their children and partners in their daily decisions. But, if you see a trend of not making space for your own needs in your daily life, that may be a good indicator that therapy would help.
You don’t know how you feel.
When you consider how you feel, and the answer is “numb” or “I don’t really know how to answer that,” there may be some self-awareness that counseling would help you discover. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of building a personal understanding beyond “good, bad, happy, sad” to really understand the range and nuance of your own experience.
You really don’t want to go to therapy.
Strong reactions come from somewhere. If the thought of working with a therapist to grow in your life evokes a strong negative reaction in you, there’s resistance there. What’s up with that? Your answer is personal and unique, but exploring that point of resistance would be a great place to start with a therapist.
Something significant has happened in your life.
This could be anything, from something traumatic or sad, to a happy event that still evokes change. All big events tend to move us off-center, and working with a therapist can help you move forward from those big events with clarity and understand about how they may affect you.
You are curious and motivated.
“You mean I don’t have to be in crisis to see a counselor?” Absolutely not! Many people consider their therapist to be an important part of their lives, walking through their good and bad experiences with them, offering important perspectives along the way. If you’re not necessarily feeling in distress or crisis, but are simply wanting to be the best you possible, a good therapist can help you achieve that.