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time posted
Aug 08, 2023

When Should I Seek Assistance From A Psychologist?

When we understand that mental health works on a continuum, we can see that there may be times when our mental health is suffering. If this occurs, we don’t have to deal with this struggle on our own—we can look for assistance or support. Mental health issues are experienced by one in five North Americans, and only approximately 40% of these individuals seek assistance.

This may be due to worrying how others will react to them seeking out help—perhaps they see therapy as an indulgence or even something that means that the person is weak or crazy. These are common misconceptions when it comes to mental health support. Seeking support from a therapist can help you find relief from any symptoms you’re experiencing and increase your overall health.

However, there is the question of when one should reach out to mental health professionals for therapy. This is often a personal decision made when you feel that you require external assistance to maintain your mental health or when you feel that you’re experiencing distress or a mental health condition. You could look at some of the reasons that people do reach out to mental health professionals and see if you identify with any of them.

You’re Experiencing Frequent Conflicts in Your Relationships

Relationship conflict can be a symptom of mental health issues because the amount of stress you’re experiencing will flow into your interactions with others. Experiencing constant conflict in your relationships increases the likelihood of you feeling anxious, unhappy, and on edge. In turn, these feelings increase the likelihood of conflict.

Seeking support from a therapist can assist you to explore why you’re experiencing these conflicts, how to interact in a manner more helpful to you, and learn different conflict management skills. This exploration increases both self and social awareness. This awareness builds your communication skills and boundary-setting to minimize relationship conflicts.

You’re Struggling To Build or Maintain Relationships

Social relationships, whether platonic, professional, or romantic, are important elements for humans. When we struggle to build or maintain these relationships, we can experience anxiety, low self-esteem, and low self-confidence. These feelings can negatively impact our mental health and lower our quality of life.

By seeking therapy to support this experience, you can investigate where your struggle stems from. Perhaps there are trust or commitment difficulties that are lurking beneath the surface. By addressing these underlying mental health issues with a psychologist, you can begin to gain control over them and enhance your social interactions. 

You Have a General Loss of Interest in Activities

Perhaps you’re feeling listless and without motivation or interest in activities that usually fill you with excitement and joy. When we lose interest in activities that we usually enjoy, we may feel sad or overwhelmed and have no energy for anything at all. These feelings may indicate a common mental disorder such as depression. You would need a psychologist’s support to help you understand what you’re feeling and how you can work through the experience beneficially.

You Have Gone Through a Traumatic Experience

A traumatic experience can be anytime when you feel directly or indirectly threatened and fear for your safety. An incident such as this may cause you to feel a decline in your mental health. You could experience nightmares, flashbacks, heightened anxiety, and irritability. These feelings may lead to you feeling unsafe and constantly in a fight or flight response. 

Seeking support from a therapist can assist you in working through the traumatic experience,  allowing the brain to correctly process and store the memory so that it doesn’t become an active trigger and affect your daily life. You can reach out to a psychologist as soon as you feel you’re struggling to cope with a traumatic experience—you don’t have to wait until it feels like it has progressed to a mental health disorder such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to start therapy.

You Aren’t Performing Effectively in Your Daily Life

Many mental health disorders negatively impact your performance and engagement in activities that make up a typical day. You may be having trouble at work or school, home, or other situations. This can lower the quality of life that you experience each day. 

By reaching out for help, you may be able to work through the areas that you’re finding difficult and gain a different perspective or reframed mindset. A Calgary psychologist can help provide a variety of coping tools and strategies to enhance your performance and lift your overall well-being.

You’re Experiencing Changes in Your Sleep or Appetite

Drastic and consistent changes in your appetite or sleep may be an indication of an underlying mental health condition or at least suggest that there’s something that’s negatively affecting you. Exploring the root causes of the change can provide you with valuable insight and understanding. This understanding places you in a position of self-awareness and self-empowerment to enact changes that will support your return to your norm.

You’re Falling Back on Unhealthy Habits or Addictions To Cope

Sometimes when you experience difficulties, it’s easy to develop unhealthy addictions; these provide you with immediate ease or relief from your symptoms because a flood of the hormone dopamine gets released. Dopamine makes us feel good and relaxed. When we experience a dopamine flood, all the anxiety and depressive symptoms feel like they disappear. The trouble with using these habits to cope is that you need to use them often, and they can also have negative consequences.

If you find that you’re moving toward these types of habits, it’s a good idea to start therapy to help you replace these habits with healthier coping strategies. This shift will help you  manage difficult experiences without reverting to unhealthy habits and instead, gain long-term benefits.

What if I’ve Already Seen a Psychologist or Therapist, and It Didn’t Work?

Seeing a psychologist or therapist and not feeling like it’s working or helping can be a demotivating experience. However, this is more common than people realize. When you see a psychologist, the rapport and therapeutic relationship are a vital part of the process. There will be some people that we do not ‘çlick’ with, and this can detract from the therapeutic benefit. 

Try a different psychologist and therapist, possibly one that works in a different manner. For example, if you saw a psychologist that uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and you found this too structured and prescriptive, you might wish to look for a less structured therapy—perhaps one offered by a psychodynamic psychologist.

To Wrap Up

When you’re looking at whether to reach out to a psychologist for assistance or not, you can ask yourself the following question: Would having a safe space and a person who will work with me to support me benefit me right now? If the answer is yes, you can reach out to us at One Life Counselling and Coaching to book your first appointment.

I am the founder of One Life Counselling and Coaching LTD and I am honored to lead a team of professional psychologists, psychotherapist’s and life coaches who dedicate their professional lives to helping people to elevate their mindsets, evolve their beliefs and learn to thrive in the present moment.
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