WHEN DO YOU NEED A PSYCHOTHERAPIST?
Even nowadays, some people still think that psychotherapy is useful only for those with severe mental disturbances. Oftentimes, therapy can be very helpful for life enhancement or for getting past "stuck" areas. If a situation remains disturbing after you've done all you can do, psychotherapy can help you resolve it and move forward in your life.
The following are some of the reasons people seek psychotherapy¬
• Sadness, depression, crying for "no reason," a sense of hopelessness or stuckness, joylessness. Life may have become meaningless, unrewarding, bleak, or purposeless.
• Loss of a loved one through death, or the end of a relationship. Also, loss may be seen more broadly as the loss of a job, a pregnancy, a life direction, or a goal.
• A persistent feeling of "free floating anxiety" or tension. Vague fears may restrict life choices.
• Major life changes which are experienced as difficult, such as the birth or adoption of a child, a move to a new city, divorce, menopause, caring for aged parents, retirement, severe illness.
• Feeling a need to make a change in life direction, but uncertainty about where to start or how to do it.
• Absence of harmony with yourself. Everything may look fine on the outside in your life, but inside you may feel out of balance with yourself, or unable to express your thoughts or feelings.
• Feelings of inadequacy, lack of confidence, low self esteem, sense of worthlessness, emptiness, feeling less competent than performance would indicate.
• Self destructive thoughts or actions.
• Addiction to alcohol or drugs, eating disorders, or other behaviors which indicate that life is out of control.
• Obsessive thoughts and/or compulsive behaviors.
• Relationship or family problems.
• Difficulties in parenting, feeling angry, frustrated, distant, overwhelmed.
• Severe trauma, such as rape or other assault, or childhood abuse. Traumatic experiences may continue to affect present day experience in a negative manner.
• Frequent or recurrent physical ailments, often of a vague nature, or illnesses recognizably related to stress. Low energy or racing, erratic energy with no physical cause.
• Uncontrolled impulsive behavior, angry outbursts or mood swings, difficulty with rules , or desire to harm another person.
• Drawing away from friends and acquaintances, a sense of alienation, the perception that the world is systematically treating you unfairly.
• "Stuck" behavior patterns, which once were satisfying and/or successful but which currently are empty or no longer appropriate problem solving. Repeated, unsuccessful choices in career or relationships, or difficulty making decisions.
• Unresolved feelings of guilt or inner conflict.
• Blocked creativity, an inner need for more richness and the opportunity to use more of your potential. A sense of blockage in life direction, or of being all that you can be.
• A sense of disharmony with your value system, or difficulty in living according to your own integrity.
This list does not pretend to be complete, but describes some of the principal situations for which psychotherapy would be indicated and for which treatment can be successful. Most people will experience some of the feelings and behaviors described here, from time to time. When these persist over an extended period, when understanding by itself does not create change, then a person should be concerned and seek psychological assistance.
Often, the first step to a solution is the person's understanding that s/he has a problem that can be helped with psychotherapy. Sometimes it takes courage to decide that psychological support can be useful. The decision to enter into psychotherapy can be a life-affirming beginning, a step toward creating a satisfying life.