How Do I Know If I Need Counseling?

Seeking Counseling

Knowing when a problem, relationship, or experience warrants counseling can be tricky, especially because counseling is still stigmatized in some age groups and communities. 

A helpful way to conceptualize the role of counseling and combat the stigma is to think about counseling as a resource.

Most people are used to pulling from different resources to address the challenges they face, but many may not have considered counseling as one of their available options. When circumstances, feelings, or relationships feel overwhelming or unmanageable, and the available options have all been explored, that is a sign that it is time to consider the resource of counseling. 

The situations that bring people to the resource of counseling vary widely, so here are some examples from different areas that might indicate that it is time to start looking for a counselor.

Relationship Counseling

Counseling can be a wonderful resource to help relationships heal, grow, and thrive, but the longer the wait, the harder the work to get to that healthy place. Most marriage counselors would love to wax eloquent about the benefits of coming to counseling before the relationship is at the point where counseling is a “last ditch effort.”  Here are some scenarios that can signal that it’s time to begin relationship counseling: there are hurts in the relationship that one or both partners can’t move past; frequent communication issues come up even when one or both partners is trying to do better; ongoing disagreements about money, in-laws, parenting, or house work are causing tension; or, the couple is drifting apart and members are starting to feel more like roommates and less like life partners. Each of these scenarios is a sign that relationship counseling could be needed, and the earlier the better for getting started.

Individual Counseling

Sitting AloneThere has been no shortage of stressful or traumatic experiences for many people over the last several years. The experiences and issues that bring people in for individual counseling vary widely, but there are some ways to evaluate if now is the time to start counseling: mental health-related concerns like worry, anxiety, depression, or mood swings are getting in the way of functioning or enjoying life; a traumatic event, big or small, has been experienced, and it keeps coming up or impacting decisions about where to go, who to spend time with, or what to think; burnout is creeping up in work responsibilities, parenting, or volunteer efforts; there’s been a pattern of unhealthy relationships, or life circumstances are overwhelming even when utilizing other available resources.    

Take the Next Step

When it’s time to add counseling as a resource to tackle the challenges of life, Restoration Counseling would love to come alongside you in the journey and be that resource. 

written by Sally Smith, PhD, LPC

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