Your Most Frequently Asked Questions About Starting Therapy – Answered
The signs that a person might benefit from therapy are not always apparent. Even people with no diagnosed mental health conditions or those with a strong support system may benefit from therapy at some point in their life. However, a person may not know when they may need to consider therapy. If you have experienced prolonged periods of anxiety, sadness, or anger, are struggling with a painful life event such as the death of a loved one or a job loss, are experiencing relationship conflicts or communication problems, or are struggling with self-esteem or identity issues – it may be time to consider starting short or long-term therapy.
We’ve gathered some of our most frequently asked questions about starting therapy and answered them:
How do I know if therapy will be helpful for me?
There are both subtle and more obvious signs that you could benefit from therapy. If you are feeling overwhelmed, unable to connect with those around you, or depressed, a therapist can help you. More subtle signs that therapy could help you are feeling mentally fatigued, or “stuck”, or overreacting to small setbacks or other minor events in your life.
Will I need to have a specific problem before starting therapy?
Many people start therapy to address a specific issue, and often terminate therapy when they feel that their issue has been resolved. Others may begin therapy without a clear goal in mind. Both of these are valid and common reasons that people choose to begin therapy.
Is seeing a therapist common?
Attending therapy is more common than many people expect. According to the CDC, around 40% of insured adults between the ages of 18 and 64 seek out therapy each year. The NIMH reports that more than 20 million adults in the United States have a mental health condition and receive some form of mental health services. As of 2019, an additional 3 million people were treated for depression compared to 20 years earlier.
Should I start with individual therapy or couples therapy?
When both partners are able to attend and commit to improving their relationship, couples therapy is a good choice. It is also common for therapists to see individual partners in a relationship alone to allow the person to discuss issues that might be challenging to discuss when in the partner’s presence. If a partner refuses to attend couples therapy, an individual session can still help the other partner identify their own thought patterns and behavior that may be contributing to the relationship issues.
I want to do couples counseling, but my partner doesn’t (or vice versa). What do I do?
Many people who want to begin couples therapy have a partner that is against the idea. It might be helpful for the couple to have a conversation to address any concerns they may have or resolve misconceptions about beginning couples therapy if one partner is not sure it will help or is worried they will be personally attacked. A trial session or low-pressure phone consultation can help the reluctant partner become comfortable with the process.
What if I want to seek couples counseling but my partner does not, or vice versa?
How do I know if my child needs therapy?
Just like adults, children experience difficult transitions and challenging emotions. It is not easy for a parent to tell if a child is experiencing normal developmental challenges or something more serious. If your child does not seem like themself for more than two weeks, is behaving violently at home or school, has trouble making friends, or is struggling academically, they may benefit from therapy. Get help right away if your child mentions hurting themselves or others, or suicide.
What is the difference between individual and group therapy?
Group therapy is when one or more therapists work with several people at once, often because it is a lower-cost option. People can also receive social support from group members and find that they are not alone in their struggles. This can be beneficial for those that are struggling with a particular issue such as grief or substance abuse. Group therapy can help improve communication skills and the ability to respect the perspectives of others, which may be useful for those who do not do well in social situations.
Those who seek out individual therapy find it easier to talk about painful or embarrassing topics with one person as opposed to several. Because there is one-on-one attention, people received treatment that is more customized to their needs and preferences. Individual therapy also guarantees confidentiality.
Have more questions? Reach out to us. We’re happy to discuss your options and address any questions or concerns you may have.