Home Mental Health Therapy Do I Need Therapy?

Do I Need Therapy?

Different types of therapy can be beneficial to anyone, but especially if you struggle with depression, difficulties at work or school, or substance abuse. Therapy and counseling can help you recover and learn tools to overcome future challenges.

Last Modified: January 18, 2023
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Should I Consider Therapy?

Everyone experiences stress and significant life changes, such as relationship issues, marriages, new schools, job losses, the birth of a baby or the loss of a loved one. Even positive changes can be stressful and overwhelming — and detrimental to our mental health. You may consider therapy for added help and support during tumultuous times.

Mental health therapy allows you to talk through emotional or complicated life experiences without fear of judgment, helping you process and work through a tangle of thoughts and feelings. Therapy can also teach you tools to deal with anxiety and future challenges.

While some people go through situational mental conditions (the holiday blues, for example), others experience mental health problems that persist throughout their life. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 American adults experiences a clinically significant mental illness each year. And 1 in 20 has a severe mental illness.

You don’t need to have a major problem to go to therapy. Any signs of mental distress are enough of a reason to consider counseling. Besides, early diagnosis is key to successful treatment.

Signs to Consider Counseling Include:
  • Apathy
  • Anxiousness
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Grief
  • Hopelessness
  • Increased alcohol use
  • Irritability
  • Problems at school or work
  • Rapidly changing emotions
  • Social withdrawal

If you notice these signs in yourself or someone else, it’s a good idea to look for a trained therapist. Improving your mental health helps boost your self-confidence and improve your outlook.

If you experience thoughts of suicide or self-harm, develop problems with substance abuse or exhibit violent behavior, please seek immediate mental health treatment. These problems often worsen without treatment and may pose a danger to yourself and others. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline provides free support to those in need. 



How Therapy Can Help

The benefits of therapy can be enormous for people who struggle with mental health issues. You can learn skills to cope with stress and anxiety, improve your self-esteem, and manage mental health symptoms affecting your quality of life. 

Research supports the effectiveness of therapy. Therapy gives you someone to talk to and teaches techniques to remain calm, focused and upbeat. 

Mental health care is as critical as other types of health care. There is no shame in seeking therapy when you are struggling emotionally. Getting treatment is necessary to help you get well.

Many organizations around the globe are working to dispel the stigma surrounding mental health treatment, including mental health therapy. These campaigns promote the value of good mental health and self-care. Their goal is to make mental health treatment accessible to everyone who needs it, especially underserved groups like people of color and low-income earners.

What Types of Therapy Can Help?

Many types of therapy exist. Each approaches mental health differently and is particularly suited to treat specific illnesses. 

What is the right type of therapy? That depends. No one type of therapy suits everyone, and most therapists don’t offer all forms of treatment. Instead, many trained counselors specialize in one or two types of therapy.

Types of Therapy Include:
  • Animal-assisted therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Couples' therapy
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
  • Exposure therapy
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)
  • Family therapy
  • Humanistic therapy
  • Interpersonal therapy
  • Mentalization-based therapy
  • Psychodynamic therapy/psychotherapy

Some kinds of therapy are more suited to treat certain conditions. Research which types of counseling are clinically proven to help with your symptoms so you can get the most out of therapy. 

Selecting a therapist and the type of therapy is a highly personal decision. Base your choice on your treatment goals and how you’d like to approach them. Only you can decide which type of therapy works best for you.

How to Choose the Right Therapist

Every person seeking therapy has different needs. Finding a therapist who meets these needs is critical to getting a positive outcome. 

Consider the therapist’s educational background, professional experience and years of experience, their therapeutic specialties and whether they have any additional training. Additionally, some people feel more comfortable talking to a therapist of a certain gender, cultural background or generation.

Remember to also think about practical elements like the therapist’s availability, location and ease of scheduling. Another potentially crucial element is whether the therapist accepts your insurance. Some therapists offer sliding-scale fees to help cover the cost, so you can call the office for more information before booking. If you’re interested in remote therapy sessions, look for a therapist who offers telehealth visits. 

Types of Therapists Include:
  • Licensed Clinical Social Workers: Licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) complete a two-year graduate level curriculum in mental health, plus a two- to three-year term of supervised clinical work. They offer most types of therapy and can assess clients for clinical needs but cannot diagnose mental health conditions or prescribe medication.
  • Licensed Counselors: Requirements for licensed counselors vary significantly from state to state but usually include a master's degree in counseling or a related field, supervised counseling experience and successful completion of a licensing exam. Licensed counselors can provide therapy but can't diagnose mental health conditions or prescribe medication.
  • Psychiatrists: These are medical doctors who have completed an additional four-year residency in psychiatry. Psychiatrists diagnose mental health conditions, offer medical treatments and prescribe medication, but they rarely offer extensive talk therapy.
  • Psychologists: Psychologists hold doctorates in psychology. They use assessments, tools and therapy sessions to treat mental health problems. Psychologists can diagnose mental health conditions but can't prescribe medication.

There is no right or wrong decision when choosing a therapist as long as you get the help you need. 

It may take a few sessions to warm up to a new therapist. However, if you see a therapist and are uncomfortable after seeing them several times, consider switching to a different provider. Build a rapport with your therapist to open your heart and explore your thoughts and emotions.



Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.