Posted: Aug 16, 2013 10:00 AM
 
If you think therapy is something for everyone else, you may be missing out on a healthy way to practice self-care. Find out if therapy is right for you and how you can benefit from talking to a professional.

Don't let your preconceived notions about therapy act as a barrier between you and getting support. Therapists and counselors offer help without judgment. If you're still questioning whether or not you're ready to get support, here are six reasons to see a therapist.

1^ You're experiencing signs of postpartum depression

A survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 8 to 19 percent of women reported frequent symptoms of postpartum depression.

A survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 8 to 19 percent of women reported frequent symptoms of postpartum depression (PPD). Depression isn't limited to after you have a baby. Some women experience it while pregnant or even long after delivery. If you feel helpless, anxious or hopeless, or if it's even briefly crossed your mind that you need more support, talk to your doctor about getting help.

2
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You can't share your problem with family or friends

Lisa Bahar is a licensed marriage and family therapist. She shares that women seek help when dealing with an issue that can't be shared with family or friends. "For example," Bahar says, "a desire to leave a spouse or having an affair, an eating disorder which has a very secretive aspect, addiction which can feel very shameful." Dealing with domestic violence or other issues that you're afraid to share with those you're close to are also reasons to talk to a professional.

3
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You want to make changes in your life

If you're aware that you have an issue with your own behavior, emotions or ability to communicate, a therapist can offer you guidance and ways to modify your behavior and develop coping strategies. Many times, women will seek guidance on how to communicate effectively and deal with emotional reactions," says Bahar. If you have a phobia or other issue that inhibits your daily life, you can get help through therapy.

Therapy is important self-care for women, just as important as exercise or making sure we get to the dentist.

4
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You're stressed out

Sometimes it's as simple as being overwhelmed. Rebecca Resnik is a doctor of psychology and licensed psychologist. "It's important not to ignore symptoms like anxiety, sadness, hopelessness or frustration," says Resnik. "Keeping your head above water as you try to be a wife, mother, lover, caretaker, janitor, cook, accountant and CEO can take its toll. Therapy is important self-care for women, just as important as exercise or making sure we get to the dentist. There should be no more of an issue with seeking therapy than there is with hiring a lawyer to write a will or a contractor to build your deck."

5
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You just need someone to talk to

Unlike a trained clinician, well-meaning friends may do more harm than good, whether through bad advice or being too quick to reassure you not to worry about something important.

While it can be helpful to have friends to talk to, they're not always the best form of support or guidance. "Unlike a trained clinician, well-meaning friends may do more harm than good, whether through bad advice or being too quick to reassure you not to worry about something important," says Resnik. A therapist won't go overboard criticizing you or telling you what to do, but he or she will be able to give you unbiased guidance with a fresh perspective on your problems.

6^You've noticed a change in your moods

Carl Grody of Grody Family Counseling asks, "Does she feel sad, listless or less interested in things that she likes? Does she get angry more often than usual? Does she find herself withdrawing from activities or people that she normally likes?" These are all examples of the types of shifts in mood that you should bring to your doctor's attention. Grody recommends checking in with your general practitioner in addition to seeking counseling.

Real moms chime in: "Why I got help"

  • "Zero desire to do anything, my husband mentioning I hadn't been happy lately and imagining death on a daily basis is what got me to go," says Ginger.
  • "Every time I'd try to go out alone with the baby, I'd worry something awful would happen," says Lee Ann. "So I started therapy and anti-anxiety meds when I realized I wasn't going to get better alone."

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