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  • Writer's pictureRoxanna Strumwasser

Am I Ready for Therapy?

Okay. You've had this thought multiple times floating between the corners of your mind over the last few days..weeks..months. In general, therapy and mental health have been deeply stigmatized in our society. Between unrealistic (bordering on unethical) depictions in film and television to the hush-hush way you might hear someone disguise their "weekly appointment," the unknowns of the therapeutic realm can be overwhelming. Maybe you've done some research, asked around, heard anecdotes from friends, both good and bad, and now you're here. Are you ready for therapy? I encourage you to ask yourself if you resonate with the following statements before you embark on this journey.

1. I am feeling stuck.

Maybe you find yourself ruminating on different aspects of your life, wondering "what if" and "I wish" over and over. You might wish to make changes but are unsure where to start. A therapist can help you process your feelings and help you develop a game plan.

2. I am overwhelmed.

Just reading that sentence might have given you a sinking feeling. You have been thinking about why you struggle with certain things, how that has connected to other parts of your life like your upbringing, your family, and perhaps even the role you have been slotted to play. There is just too much to process.

3. I wish I had a neutral, confidential person to talk to about these issues.

A common misconception is that therapists "give you advice" and are like friends to talk to. However, this is not the case. Therapists are neutral, confidential, trained professionals. We will not get burdened by you coming to us with your woes. We will not tell you what to do or advise you based on our own experiences. We will work with you to help you decide what is right for you. Whether you'd like to discuss your career, friendships, relationship, or family, sometimes you can no longer turn to a friend to talk through your thoughts. Friends can be wonderful sounding boards, but after an extended period, you might need to hire a professional.

4. I am struggling with expectations, either my own or others for me.

In the age of social media, it is quite difficult to hide from comparison. We are inundated with details of others' lives, like where they work, how they vacation, and what their love life looks like. It is easy to fall into a vicious cycle of scrolling through others' "perfect lives" and feeling discouraged that maybe yours feels like it falls short. On the other hand, you may have family expectations to have a certain career, be married by a certain age, or fulfill a specific narrative. Whatever your reasons for analyzing expectations, we are here to help you sort through the noise and discover what you truly want.

5. I am anticipating a big life event soon.

You might be changing jobs, returning to school, ending a relationship, etc. Whatever your future holds, it can be daunting. You do not have to face it alone.

6. I have experienced trauma.

Trauma. Trauma can be all-consuming. It may have occurred just recently or years ago, but now you're experiencing biological effects. Trauma can include bullying, microaggressions, assault, an accident, or the death of a loved one, just to name a few. Your trauma might occur intergenerationally as you find yourself struggling with events in your family's past. Regardless of the type, therapy is your space to process your trauma and to work with your therapist towards a place of healing.

7. I want help working on my relationships with a partner, family, or friends.

Maybe you find yourself having the same fight with your partner over and over again. Maybe you are unsure how to get through to your parents in a way that they can understand. Therapy can help you navigate your relationship dynamics and give you tangible solutions to make effective change.

8. I am ready to make changes.

This is the toughest part. This is the hill every single client stands on before they venture on their therapeutic journey. I want you to sit with yourself. Take a deep breath. Pay attention as you quiet your mind and listen to your body. Now ask yourself, "Am I ready to make changes?"

If, while reading any one of these statements, you have agreed, you might be ready for therapy. While I wish I could give you a personalized clear-cut answer, the truth is, you have to decide for yourself. But I hope by asking yourself these questions, you will be well informed and armed with the knowledge you need before taking the next step forward.

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