When Is The Right Time To Seek a Mental Health Therapist?

There are numerous reasons for a person to consider therapy. Going to therapy is not a sign of weakness, but rather of strength and a desire to improve oneself.

Mental health therapists are trained psychological professionals who help their clients deal with stressors, life changes, and mental illnesses. They also use psychological tools, techniques, and theories to help them develop coping skills, improve cognitive skills, facilitate emotion regulation, and overcome life challenges.

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There is no perfect time to begin therapy because it is dependent on the needs and desires of the individual. People should ideally be proactive and seek out a therapist before they are required to.

Therapists form genuine, nonjudgmental professional relationships with their clients in order to achieve mutually agreed-upon goals and to help them discover strengths for good mental health and quality of life.


When is the right time to go for mental health therapy?

There is a widespread misconception that people should seek the support of a therapist only when they are experiencing serious mental health issues such as suicidal ideation or panic attacks.

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A person does not need to be going through a major life change or on the verge of a mental breakdown to seek the help of a therapist. There are numerous valid reasons to seek the services of a therapist; here are eight of them.


1) Losing interest in activities

A person’s interest in a particular hobby or activity may wane over time. However, if they start losing interest in most of the activities they used to enjoy, it could be a sign of something more serious such depression or anxiety. A person’s overall well-being may suffer if they lose interest in activities and hobbies. The therapist can help these individuals in determining the source of their disinterest and re-engaging in those activities.


2) Losing interest in socializing

While spending time alone has its own set of mental benefits, a loss of interest in socialising may indicate a problem. When a person’s social life suffers, it could be a symptom of a larger issue, such as anxiety, or it could be a problem in and of itself.

A person’s relationships have a significant impact on their mental health. When a person is dealing with a mental health or personal issue, they tend to withdraw from those around them. Therapists can help these people understand the value of socializing and give them the tools they need to reconnect with their loved ones.


3) Feeling overwhelmed by stress

Stress is a normal part of life, but if not handled properly, it can lead to serious problems. When a person begins to struggle to cope with the various stressors in their lives, it may be time to see a therapist.

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Therapists can offer an objective assessment of the client’s stressors and help them in using stress management techniques to keep their stress under control.


4) Substance abuse

Most people, particularly men, dislike seeking help and prefer to self-medicate with substances such as alcohol and drugs. This is an unhealthy coping mechanism that can lead to further problems, including addiction.

Therapists can introduce healthy coping mechanisms and activities to the client like reading, journaling, gardening, and meditation.


5) Failure to reach self made goals

People set personal and professional goals for themselves and fall short of them. This could be the result of setting unrealistic goals or failing to follow through on a clearly stated goal. Failure to achieve these objectives can lead to mental and emotional anguish.

A therapist can help the client achieve mutually agreed upon goals by helping them overcome issues like self sabotage, perfectionism, and low motivation.


6) Interpersonal issues

Even if a person has no difficulty initiating socialisation, they may still struggle with fear of confrontation, assertiveness, and attachment issues with their loved ones.

Therapists can help clients learn the skills and tools they need to create and maintain healthy relationships. In addition to teaching them how to build and maintain healthy relationships, they can highlight the issues that cause problems in their relationships.


7) Wanting to change unhealthy thought processes

The person’s thoughts and perceptions of themselves have an impact on their mental health. Negative thought patterns can lead to overthinking, which can lead to mental health problems.

Therapists can help clients in identifying negative thought patterns and recognising how they affect their well-being. Using tools such as journaling, they can reframe the client’s thoughts to be more positive.


8) Pursuit of happiness

Even if a person has no problems in their health, personal, or professional lives, they can seek therapy to become happier.

Therapists can help clients in achieving long-term happiness by introducing various strategies and tools such as changing habits, lifestyle, mindset, and daily routine.


Detoriating mental health or the effects of a mental illness should not be the only reason why people go to therapy. Therapy can be a safe space for a person looking to improve their overall quality of life through professional assistance.


Steve George Verghese is a trained psychologist with an MSc in Counseling Psychology from the Indian Institute of Psychology and Research.


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