Psychotherapy Perspectives

Sunday, September 09, 2007

How do I know when I need Professional Psychotherapy or Counseling?

By Garth Mintun, LCSW


As a psychotherapist in Indianapolis Indiana, often clients ask me “how do I know when I need help or professional psychotherapy?” I usually reply by asking them to ask themselves the following questions:

Do you feel like you have been in a “rut” for a long time and don’t know how to get out of it?

Do you have anxiety or sad thoughts come over you and does this affect any major part of your life, i.e., home, relationship, work, financial and /or legal problems.

Do you find something seems to come over you and makes you behave in a way in which you feel is not you?

Do you feel terribly insecure or have fear of abandonment?

Do you sometimes wish you were not living?

Do you feel contempt for your significant other or does he/she feel contempt for you?

Do you sometimes participate in compulsive behavior too much, i.e., gambling, drinking, drugs, shopping, cleaning or anything compulsive (meaning that you are not sure that you can stop the behavior)?

Do you continue to be in an abusive (emotional and or physical) relationship and feel all alone and powerless?

Do you feel life has passed you by?

Do you have many physical illnesses or are you sick often?

Do you feel you could do something to harm yourself in any way, like sabotaging your job, relationship or yourself in any way?

Do you have nobody you can trust to talk to?


If you answer yes to one of the questions , it may indicate that you could be a good candidate for psychotherapy since all the questions involve deep emotional issues that are difficult to “self help” and change by yourself. If you answer two "yes" then in my professional opinion to receive professonal help soon!


Paradoxically, when people feel good they may need psychotherapy. Little know questions are the following:

Are you excited about life and wish to explore obstacles that get in your way of happiness?

Have you been partaking in a self awareness process for years but feel that you are getting stuck and want professional help to take you to the next level?

Do you get along with your significant other and want to take the relationship to a new wonderful level?

Do you have difficulty with transitions in life and just need a little help in the process of change?

Are most things in life good, but just one little area nags at your for attention and you want to deal with it?

Of course there are no right answers and this is just the opinion of this author. It is my belief if one question fits for you, then psychotherapy or counseling may be helpful. Also it is important to ask your psychotherapist if they have had psychotherapy themselves. It is our belief that psychotherapists need to be alert to their own biases and are more effective when they “walk the walk “of their clients and seek help too.