EPIC Blog: How to Know if Therapy is Right for You - 4KIDS
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EPIC Blog: How to Know if Therapy is Right for You

July 7th, 2020 l Author: Betsy Godoy-Rosado, LCSW

Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to be “crazy” to benefit from therapy. Though therapy is not necessary for every struggle you face (especially if you have a strong support system), many people can benefit from seeing a clinical therapist at some point in their lives. Sometimes, the signs for concern are obvious. Other times, however, you may feel slightly off and unable to figure out why. Though many wait to seek professional help until the feelings become unmanageable, there is truth to the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Many passages in the Bible point to seeking out wise counsel as well. Proverbs 19:20 says, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.” So how do you know when it might be time for you or your loved one to see a therapist? Here are some signs to look for:

  1. Feeling sad, angry, or otherwise “not yourself” for at least an hour a day in a 2-week timespan.
  2. Eating, sleeping, or withdrawing from family and friends more or less than usual.
  3. Questioning whether life is worth living or having thoughts of death or suicide— if any of these apply, reach out for help right away.
  4. If you are using drugs, alcohol, food, or sex to cope.
  5. If something traumatic has occurred or resurfaced in your memory.
    1. To be clear, Dr. Anita Phillips defines trauma as a deeply distressing experience or a “repeated pain that changes the way you see the world and God for the worse.” It could be caused by one of the following: difficult transition, loss, divorce, illness, accidents, bereavement, abuse, war, torture, rape, and genocide. Not everyone needs counseling during times of grief, but there is no shame in needing a little help to get through the loss of something or someone important such as a loved one, a significant breakup or the loss of a job, especially if you have experienced multiple losses in a short period of time.
  6. If you are feeling overwhelmed or are struggling with anxiety for at least an hour a day in a 2-week timespan.
  7. If you want to learn more about yourself or work on achieving goals you have struggled to accomplish.
  8. If you are struggling in a relationship or desiring to improve one.
  9. If your children are acting out and/or if you feel you need parenting help or support.

If you are still not sure if any of these apply to you, try using the following checklist from the American Psychological Association published in 2017:

“Two general guidelines can be helpful when considering whether you or someone you love could benefit from therapy. First, is the problem distressing? And second, is it interfering with some aspect of life?

When thinking about the distress, here are some issues to consider— do you or someone close to you spend some amount of time every week thinking about the problem? Is the problem embarrassing, to the point that you want to hide from others? Over the past few months, has the problem reduced your quality of life?

When thinking about interference, some other issues may deserve consideration— does the problem take up considerable time (e.g., more than an hour per day)? Have you curtailed your work or educational ambitions because of the problem? Are you rearranging your lifestyle to accommodate the problem?

A ‘yes’ response to any of these questions suggests that you might wish to consider seeking professional help.”

Lastly, here’s one final thought if you are concerned about therapy taking too long. In 2001, a study in the Journal of Counseling Psychology found that most people begin to feel better about their current state within 7 to 10 sessions. Another study, published in 2006 by the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, discovered that 88% of those attending therapy reported improvements after just one session!

For more information about 4KIDS’ therapeutic services and whether you may benefit from services, please visit: https://www.4kids.us/epic/therapy.