Between 2019-2020, 4.4 million Australians received mental health-related prescriptions. Even more accessed the services of a counsellor. But still many people who want to see a therapist don’t take the opportunity, even today. They convince themselves that the problem or challenge will just go away on its own eventually. Or that life it just too busy for them to take time away for themselves.
Knowing when it’s important to seek help can be tricky. But not seeing one when you need to can just make the situation worse. Here are some tips to help you decide when it’s the right time to see a counsellor.
When is the Right Time to See a psychologist?
First, there really is no right time to see a counsellor. Therapists are here to help you no matter what situation you’re facing – small or large, negative or even positive. Many people seek therapy to find ways to build more happiness and wellbeing into their lives, rather than because of a specific problem.
However, there are times when seeing a counsellor increases in importance.
You have symptoms of a mental illness.
Mental illness symptoms vary wildly. You might be experiencing episodes of extreme action followed by times when you struggle to get out of bed. Or you might have moments of sheer panic or even paranoid thoughts.
You don’t have to feel like that, however. Mental illnesses are treatable, and the sooner you reach out for help, the sooner you will start to feel better.
Your relationships are suffering.
There are many reasons you might struggle with your relationships, but having connected relationships is one of the keys to a happy, long life. Working with a therapist you can implement tools to help you maintain longer, healthier relationships.
You’re dealing with major life events.
Major life events happen to all of us at times. Marriages, divorces, deaths, births, job transitions, moves – these can all affect our ability to cope. A therapist can give you the help you need to adapt to these changes more smoothly.
You need parenting support.
Parenting is one of the trickiest things we’ll ever do. Often we don’t know if we’re making the right decisions, or whether our child’s behaviour is developmentally appropriate or not. Talking to a therapist can give you the objective support you need to make the best choices for you and your child.
Your work is suffering.
If your mental health is getting in the way of your effectiveness and productivity at work it’s a good sign that you could use a bit of help. Counsellors can help you find strategies to improve your mental health so your work doesn’t suffer.
You’re struggling to manage stress.
Stress has been recognised as the basic cause of more than 60% of human illnesses and diseases. While you can’t get rid of all the stress in your life, a therapist can help you learn healthy stress management skills to better cope and maintain better help.
You have trouble regulating your emotions.
We all struggle with emotion regulation occasionally. But if you have one or two emotions that seem more difficult to manage a counsellor can help you. Anger management or anxiety reduction strategies, among other techniques, can help you better regulate your emotions and feel more in control.
You’re using unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Drinking too much or too frequently, overeating, smoking, biting your fingernails or even criticising yourself – all of these can be unhealthy coping mechanisms. And they’re usually the result of an underlying issue. A counsellor can help you find healthy coping skills to manage intense emotions and deal with any underlying issues.
You’re struggling to eat or sleep.
If you’re experiencing a change in the way you eat or sleep – whether it’s eating more, having a loss of appetite, struggling to get out of bed or having sleepless nights – it’s a good time to seek help.
A GP can rule out any underlying medical causes, and a therapist who can help you with any emotional causes.
You’ve lost interest in your usual activities.
While it’s normal for interests to wax and wane, if you suddenly lose interest in many of the things you used to enjoy it could be a sign that something bigger is at play. That’s a great time to speak to your counsellor.
You’re just unhappy.
We can’t be happy all of the time, but sometimes we’re unhappy without even understanding why. This is a good time to speak to a counsellor who might be able to help you pinpoint what’s missing or off in your life, or provide you with strategies to help you cultivate more happiness.
You’re looking to build healthier habits.
Sometimes things are going just fine, but we want to find ways to thrive in our lives. A counsellor can help you fine tune your lifestyle so that you are building healthier, stronger mental health habits that can set you up for a lifetime.
Author: Di O’Malley – Founder and Managing Director of Young Minds Health and Development Network, and Counselling Psychologist.
Please call us on (07) 3857 0074 to book an appointment with one of our clinicians; or send us an appointment request via this website and we’ll contact you as soon as possible to book a suitable time for you.