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Do I Need Therapy? 10 Reasons It Might Be Time to Get Help

Around my household, we have lots of discussions about what repairs and chores we can handle ourselves, and when we need to “call for help.” It’s clear we can change an air filter on our own. It’s equally clear that we’re going to need an expert to deal with the water dripping from the light fixture in the kitchen ceiling.


Deciding when to seek professional help for your anxiety is a similar process. Is this something you can take care of yourself by talking to friends or reading a few good books on the topic, or do you need to “call for help?” 


10 Reasons to Go to Therapy

If you’re thinking maybe you could use some professional help, here are 10 reasons to go ahead and make that call.


1. Suicidal thoughts or plans

If you’re seriously thinking about harming yourself, or if you have a plan to harm yourself, please call for help. NOW!

No matter how hopeless things feel right now, there is help waiting for you on the other end of the line. It’s free: All you have to do is make that call. If this is what you’re feeling right now, stop reading immediately and pick up the phone. 


2. Trauma

If you’ve experienced or witnessed a traumatic event and you’re having trouble sleeping, suffering flashbacks, nightmares, depression, anxiety, or any other of the lingering side effects of that trauma, you may want to consider getting professional help. 


Maybe the trauma was in your past, and you feel you’re “doing okay.” But “doing okay” is not good enough. You deserve so much better. So, stop pretending things are all right when you know they’re not. Reach out for the help and get started on the road to feeling better. 


3. Grief

The same things that are true about trauma are true about grief. Loss and grief are a part of life. But if you’ve been grieving for a year or more and your grief is making it hard to get on with your life, getting help can be useful in reclaiming that life and regaining a sense of peace and purpose. 


4. Feeling hopeless

If you’re feeling hopeless, if you’ve lost interest in the things you used to love to do, and you’re feeling like this is never going to get better, getting help is a way to regain your sense of perspective and maybe even allow you to find the fun again. 


5. Drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and other addictive behaviors

If you’re abusing a substance or have an addiction to anything that affects the quality of your life (for instance; gambling, gaming, shopping, or overeating), then getting treatment can help you deal with that addiction and get your life back on track.


6. Your life isn’t “working” anymore

You’re sad. Things around you are out of control. You’re scared. You walk around feeling angry at the world for no particular reason (or for some very particular reason). You feel like your life is in a ditch. Nothing seems to be getting better and you don’t know what the heck to do. Getting some help can often turn those life challenges around. So, make a call and get back to a life that works for you.


7. Physical symptoms

You’ve been to your PCP. She’s done all the tests and can’t find anything wrong with you, physically. Maybe that stomach ache, sore neck, sleeplessness, tight jaw, or headache is a symptom of something going on with you emotionally. Going to therapy may provide you with some answers as to what’s going on with you physically. It may also help you heal both your mind and your body.


8. Advice from others

Someone close to you suggests you should get some help. I suggest you swallow hard, say “thank you,” and consider their suggestion. They may be right.


9. A difficult change

There’s been a change in your life and you feel like you’re not handling it well. You’re recently divorced, diagnosed, you’ve moved to a new state, lost your job, got a job, had a baby, adopted a child, or retired. These are all major changes and can have a hidden impact on us emotionally – even the positive changes! 


There are all sorts of changes that happen to us throughout our lives. Some are expected, and some are a real surprise. Whether the change is something you’ve always wanted, or an unexpected challenge, change can really upset the balance of your life. If you’re having trouble coping with a change, talking to someone can help you restore balance and add calm to your life.


10.  Realizing you can’t do it alone

One morning you wake up thinking, “I’m tired of doing this alone. What I’m doing isn’t working.” Maybe you’ve been reading the books and watching the YouTube videos and not making progress. If that’s the case, talking to a professional might be just what you need to get you back on the road to feeling good again.


There's 1 More Reason to Try Therapy

If you’re still not convinced that therapy is for you, here’s something that might change your mind. According to a study published in American Psychologist, there is all sorts of scientific research that proves that therapy works. Not only that, the study also suggests that the benefits and positive changes of therapy continue for as long as three years after treatment


So, if you feel you’re not living your best life, therapy can be a powerful way to help you get back on track to living the life of your dreams. All you have to do is make that call.


OK, so now what? 

Once you’ve made the decision to try therapy, here are the three steps to find and hire the right mental health professional. Finding the right therapist is the single biggest thing you can do to get long-lasting results. 



I also have a segment on making the “therapy decision” in a mini-series I’m calling “Why You're Anxious & What to Do About It,” available on YouTube:



More Anxiety Resources


Book cover: Calm & Sense: A Woman's Guide to Living Anxiety-Free by Wendy Leeds

Living with anxiety is horrible. To help manage it day-to-day, I’ve written an “Anxiety Handbook” called, Calm & Sense: A Woman's Guide to Living Anxiety-Free. It’s got 300 pages of practical tools and techniques – it’s sure to help you find a set of reliable methods to help you get through each day. 


To connect with a great community of women who are managing our anxiety: 

  1. My email newsletter, where I notify you of new blog posts like this one and new episodes of the podcast:

  2. And my Facebook page, where we come together to chat about all things anxiety:


I’m not just a psychotherapist; I understand the challenges of anxiety first-hand. So please reach out any time. And I sincerely hope that even one of these resources turns out to be helpful to you. 




  1. Shedler, Jonathan. (February 2010) The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. American Psychology.


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