When to see a therapist

Many people wonder at what point they should see a therapist. As a therapist, I think that most people should have come in long before they ever show up in my office. I’m always shocked when couples come in and report that they haven’t had sex in years. Years? YEARS? Say what?! Now, I don’t think sex is the only thing that matters in a relationship but it can be a barometer for how well we are connecting with our partner, especially if we notice big changes or complete abstinence. 

If you are asking yourself about whether you should go see a therapist, chances are you should probably make an appointment. Seeing a therapist doesn’t mean that something is wrong with you. The same way seeing a doctor doesn’t mean you have a disease or that you are going to die. It simply means that you are noticing that some things aren’t right and you want to be proactive and ensure that you are living as healthy as you can. You might find that you will find a sense of relief as you share your worries with an impartial party that can offer confidentiality. You might be worried about the money, but many therapists work on a sliding scale and many will know of clinics in your area that might offer even lower rates. Your health insurance might also cover therapy so that all you have to pay is a copay.

Furthermore, I think it is important for you to realize that your emotional health is vital to your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. If you can get yourself emotionally healthy and reduce stress on your relationships, you will find that you have more energy to be more successful at work and in other areas of your life. It is crazy to me that people are often so hesitant to spend money on therapy to save their families but they have no problem spending money on technology, clothes, food, and whatever else they want. And maybe that is a sign. If we aren’t willing to allocate resources for therapy for the betterment of our relationships or emotional health, then maybe we have already been depriving our relationships of our resources. So, if you are finding that you are stuck in a rut, invest in yourself and your family! Don’t wait till things get worse. Although I believe that almost all hearts can heal, it doesn’t mean that your loved ones will forgive or move past everything. 

So now, you might be thinking that you are ready to contact a therapist. I really like the psychologytoday.com website because you can type in your zip code and find therapists in your area. Each therapist has a biography and a list of specialties so that you can get to know the therapist before you even make the call. The most important factors in the success of your therapy will be 1) the fit of you and your therapist, and 2) your willingness to work and change. If you go meet with your therapist and you don’t like him or her, get another therapist. It will be important for you to feel comfortable with your therapist. Seriously, don’t waste your time or money. There are many therapists. While I want to believe that most therapists are good, that doesn’t mean that every therapist will be the right therapist for you and your family. Also, get ready to make changes. Your whole purpose in attending therapy is to get professional advice on action that YOU can take. Be willing to try new things even if you think that you have already tried that solution or even if you "know" it won't work. Your therapist will be guiding you as you make these changes and will be able to point out things that you overlooked.

I'd also like to offer one last suggestion. Commit to going to therapy for at least three to five sessions before you decide to call it quits. Your relationship or situation took some time to get to where it is at now and no therapist is going to fix it in one session. It will take time to unpack all the emotions but it will be so worth it. Therapy isn't always pleasant but the best things in life usually require some sweat, work, and tears.