Do I need therapy?
Many might have thoughts like 'Is my situation really difficult enough to warrant therapy?'...'How can talking about these problems possibly help?'...'This is just who I am.' It is entirely understandable that making the decision to go to therapy can be challenging. Most of the patients I meet have undergone a lengthy internal process, going back and forth before finally reaching out. The psychological mechanisms that we need help with can, in themselves, make it difficult to begin therapy, and it's natural that the threshold for seeking help is high. It's with a heavy heart that I observe how long people struggle and how much is sometimes required before they can finally start getting help. But how much, how long, and how often should one endure difficulties before it's a good idea to have a conversation with a psychologist? It's up to each of us to make that decision for ourselves, and we all experience lows and pain in life, but at some point, the challenges we face can become so overwhelming and affect our quality of life to such an extent that it's a good idea to try therapy. Life involves pain and suffering, which we cannot avoid, but therapy is about doing something about the pain and suffering that adds to what we already have to endure.
Most people are very nervous for their first session. They often begin by saying, 'I haven't done this before, and I'm not quite sure where to start.' Many struggle to show vulnerability and have waited a long time to ask for help. However, they often say they feel a sense of relief once they get started.
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Below is a list of some signs that you may benefit from therapy:
- You have emotional issues negatively impacting your social relationships, studies, work, or other areas of life.
- You need to talk to someone about something painful that has happened to you, your loved ones, or something you have witnessed.
- You have been struggling for an extended period to cope with a significant transition, change, or loss.
- Things that used to bring you joy and meaning no longer do.
- You can't stop worrying about everything that could go wrong.
- You avoid social situations and isolate yourself.
- You have difficulty handling a conflict.
- You struggle to get close to others.
- You have difficulty maintaining positive relationships with others.
- You struggle to accept your own body or appearance.
- You want a more relaxed relationship with food, exercise, and weight.
- You experience uncomfortable symptoms that persist and may cause anxiety, prompting you to seek medical attention (e.g., dizziness, IBS or palpitations).
- You have developed a dependency on medication or substances.
- You have acquired negative habits that you want to get rid of but can't.
- You always feel stressed.
- Every time you try to assert yourself, you feel intense guilt afterward and often end up giving in.
- You feel at the mercy of your emotions, having little or no control over them.
- You are simply unhappy.
- You have experienced a form of mental pain and melancholy for a prolonged period and want help getting out of it.
- You consistently find yourself in the same situation, for example, with people who are not good for you or running errands for others.
- You want help to have more energy and joy in your everyday life.
- You are unhappy in your relationship; maybe you neither want to stay nor leave, and you don't know what it takes to improve.
- Over time, you have struggled with low self-esteem, confidence, and a generally negative self-image.
- You feel life is meaningless and are indifferent to whether something happens to you.
- You have physical complaints that the doctor has not found a cause for or effective treatment, such as stress headaches, fatigue, irritable bowel or bladder, fibromyalgia, etc."