10 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Deciding If Therapy Is Right For You

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woman in therapy

We can all agree that making big changes that are good for you is a great idea. One of these changes may be major, like getting help with an addiction, an eating disorder, or mental health crisis. Or it could be something on a smaller scale, like gaining more confidence or learning better-coping strategies.

You may find yourself wondering if perhaps, to improve yourself, you should go to therapy. But before deciding, consider a few key questions to make that call.

These will help you decide if therapy is the way to go. And these experts — therapists and social workers — recommended these specific questions to help make your decision process smooth.

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Should I Go To Therapy? 10 Questions To Ask Yourself First

1. Am I seeing unhealthy patterns in my life?

Many of us have unhealthy habits or patterns that don’t serve us. And Karen Osterle, LICSW, says that asking “Am I seeing a pattern in my reactions or behavior that I don't understand and/or need to let go of?” is a great way to decide if therapy is right for you.

2. Am I struggling with self-love?

Osterle brought up something that really resonated: self-love. She suggests asking, “Are there aspects of myself that I don't like or can't accept?” She goes on to say that guilt, shame, and/or perfectionism can be mighty powerful forces.

“If you haven’t yet developed the ability to clearly understand your motivations and actions, and the way these might have been influenced a bit by your past experiences, you have no consistent means of seeing them, and the inner turmoil they can cause, as anything other than inevitable,” she says.

What Osterle means point-blank? Your struggle with loving yourself may be deeply rooted, and therapy can help get you digging.

3. Do I feel hopeless and unmotivated?

Ruthie Kalai, LCSW shares, “Many times, people might notice that they are feeling more sad, unmotivated, hopeless, or scared than they are used to. Sure, we all go through periods where we feel down, but if it's lasting longer than seems typical, there might be cause for concern."

Kalai gives a few examples of this, including: "things that once brought you joy just don't bring you pleasure anymore; you're having a hard time falling asleep, staying asleep, or feeling rested; you might be pulling away from friends and family; your work might be suffering because you don't have the same motivation you once had."

4. Have I been feeling unhinged?

“Do you find your life overwhelming or unmanageable? Do you feel angry and frustrated more than you would like?” If you answered yes, Christine MacInnis, LMFT says therapy could be key in helping you manage these feelings of anxiety, frustration, and anger.

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5. Do I have constant anxiety?

Jill Whitney, LMFT suggests asking yourself two key questions if you’re broaching the idea of therapy and are on the fence about making the call:

“Do you feel as if you are trapped in something, whether it’s a job or a relationship? Is your anxiety getting in the way of living and enjoying your life, preventing you from doing things?”

6. Am I receiving advice but not changing my behaviors?

Deborah M Gonzales, LCSW brings about an important issue: Friends are good for venting, complaining, having someone agree with you, and sympathizing. But if you have feelings or behaviors that you want to change and haven't been able to change on your own, want guidance on how to cope with a troubling situation, or find yourself overwhelmed by your life, a therapist is a good option.

This is a big distinguishing factor in deciding if therapy is right for you. Ask yourself: “Am I getting advice from friends but having trouble making changes?” If the answer is yes, it’s time to seek therapy, not just support from your friends.

7. Do my coping skills need tweaking?

“Do I want to learn better-coping mechanisms to deal with life's stressors? Do I want to work on being the best version of myself?” Dr. Tala Johartchi suggests taking a deep look at yourself with these two questions before signing up for therapy.

8. Am I dealing with a crisis?

“Are you going through a life event where a non-judgmental person would be helpful?” asks Patrick Tully, MA, LMFT. Tully says that if you know you are in a crisis, it may be best to seek professional help.

9. Am I struggling with abuse or addiction?

Ruthie Kalai points out that if you are struggling with abuse or addiction, therapy is really pivotal in helping you manage these heavy issues.

10. Do I want better relationships?

Many of us want better relationships. Osterle shares a key question many of us would benefit from asking ourselves: “Do I have more conflict than harmony in my most important relationships?”

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Because your mental health is so important, in addition to the input of therapists and social workers, we asked ChatGPT for other in-depth questions to pose to yourself if you're still on the fence about going therapy:

  • How have my emotions been impacting my daily life?
  • Do I feel like I am struggling to cope with certain situations or relationships?
  • Have I experienced a recent significant life change that has caused me distress?
  • Do I feel like my current coping mechanisms are not working for me?
  • Have I experienced trauma or abuse in the past that I haven't fully processed?
  • Do I struggle with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues?
  • Do I feel like my thoughts or emotions are controlling me?
  • Am I having trouble sleeping or experiencing physical symptoms that may be related to stress?
  • Do I feel like I need a safe and supportive space to talk about my thoughts and feelings?
  • Do I want to work on personal growth and self-improvement?

If you said yes to even a handful of these, consider reaching out to a professional in your area.

How To Know When It’s Time To See A Therapist

Without a healthy mental state, you may end up living a miserable and even hurtful life for yourself and others. Knowing when you need help caring for your mental health is critical to taking care of yourself.

Here are a few signs it’s time to go to therapy:

  • You're having issues with processing things in your life.
  • You have emotional outbursts that affect your mood and the relationships around you.
  • You feel like you're on autopilot and aren't entirely present.
  • You need a third person who has an unbiased opinion on situations to talk to.
  • You feel stuck or overwhelmed.
  • Your mood is getting in the way of your day-to-day life.
  • You have experienced trauma or are having a major life transition.

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Laura Lifshitz is a former MTV personality and Columbia University graduate who writes about divorce, relationships, parenting, marriage and more for YourTango, The New York Times, Women’s Health, Working Mother, and PopSugar.