When should I go to therapy?


Thomas Goenczi, Lookout Contributor — We kind of know when the right time is to go to therapy, sometimes we’re sort of ready for it, but can we ever be certain?

Deciding when to see a counsellor is slightly different from going to see a doctor. Typically, you see your doctor because something with your health needs immediate attention. Even though there has been traction with the importance of mental health at large, it is difficult to gauge when one should seek help.

Deciding to seek mental health support isn’t as easy as waking up one day and looking in the mirror, and saying, ‘Hmm… today seems like a good day to get my head checked out’. There is a process to making that choice. Sometimes, the route to making that decision is almost instantaneous, but sometimes that decision is comprised of an arduous internal war.

Still, there are four common considerations one can make.


At times, what concludes our inner debate of whether or not we should go to counselling is being able to build up a case cognitively to justify it. Making the decision to go to therapy is no small feat. Sometimes, the mental gymnastics we perform would win us a gold medal at the Rationality Olympics. ‘I don’t have time’, ‘My issues aren’t big enough’, ‘Once I start working on myself, I’ll have to commit to changing’ and ‘I’m just not ready yet’ have all been deployed successfully at one point in time. It is why strictly using rationality to decide to come to therapy is often not enough, especially if one wants it to be successful.


Questions to ask yourself:

Is my body functioning to a level where I am capable of attaining my goals?

Are there nagging injuries that have caused me to doubt my body?

Am I providing my body with the nourishment it needs?

Undoubtedly, we all, at some point, lose trust in our bodies, whether through injury or sickness, etc. This ultimately deepens the fracture between mind and body. Nevertheless, if we begin to notice our mind is resenting our body, it may be a good time to bridge that gap.

Reflect on your relationships.

If your partner, friends, or colleagues mention how negative you’ve been lately, it may be time to reflect on those insights. For better or worse, people are generally pretty good at picking out your faults. Additionally, if you find yourself isolating, or maintaining your connections in a healthy manner is becoming a chore, it may be beneficial to see how you can bring some life back into those relationships.


Intuition is an odd one as we still don’t fully understand how it works. Yet, we get this ineffable message that something is up. This hunch is instinctive in nature and precludes conscious reasoning. Sometimes, intuition is the first to ring the alarm when something is out of sorts. However, it is often pushed out by rationalization. Checking in with this element is vital when making a sound decision.

There is no right answer to the question of ‘when should I go to therapy?’, and I hazard to say it should even be seen through this perspective. Rather, it should be evaluated on whether it makes sense or not for you. By considering these four elements, you should have a decision you’re confident in. Just like it makes sense to go see a doctor when you’re sick, it should make sense to go seek help for your mental health.

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