13 Signs It's Time to Consider Therapy

Riana Elyse Anderson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Behavior & Health Education, and Eisenberg Family Depression Center member, was quoted in a Self.com article.

Read the full article here. Here is an excerpt: 


You don’t feel like you’re functioning at 100%...or anywhere close to it.

All of us can feel sad or angry or tired, but it doesn't always interfere with our life, relationships, or goals. According to psychologist Riana Elyse Anderson, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, a change in our optimal functioning is a red flag that we need help. “If it typically is a breeze for you to get up in the mornings or complete your to-dos throughout the day, but now it feels like a ton of bricks are lying on you when getting out of bed, or you're agitated at everybody while you're completing your errands, it means you're functioning differently than your baseline,” she tells SELF. “That's data right there. It helps you to say, ‘Hmmm, I'm not feeling the same way I used to or doing the things I used to love with joy or ease.’”

These changes in our mood or anxiety can affect our concentration, decision making, and even our memory, adds Wise, which can then affect our ability to get things done. Therapy helps you figure out why these changes have occurred and how to get back to functioning more optimally. For example, if you're having trouble getting out of bed, you might purposefully schedule activities that are pleasurable throughout your day to get you going, using a technique known as behavioral activation.


You could use an unbiased, confidential person to talk to.

Riana Elyse Anderson, Ph.D.

People often say that talking to a therapist is the same as talking to a friend, but it isn’t. A therapist is unbiased and neutral, does not get exhausted or burdened by your coming to them, and is someone you can absolutely trust to keep what you say confidential. “We have no hidden agenda or biased desires; we just want the best for you,” says the University of Michigan’s Dr. Anderson. “We help you, the expert in all things you, dig into the hows and whys that are within and try to iron out those wrinkles in your body, mind, or spirit. We often do not give advice or explain what to do; rather, we help to summarize, repeat, or string together some of the things you are sharing with us.”

This is very different from the type of conversation you would have with a friend. Or maybe you want to talk through these things with a friend but you feel a lack of support from your loved ones—or you've tried to discuss this with them and they weren't helpful. All of these are signs that you could benefit from talking through your situation with a therapist, says clinical and forensic psychologist Angela Lawson, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.