9 Reasons Therapy Can Be Helpful For Anyone

Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
As many strides as we've made toward making it easier to talk about mental health (in the U.S., at least), a lot of us still view therapy as something you only resort to when you're in crisis.
The perception that therapy is only for when you're at the end of your rope is understandable — after all, therapy is still stigmatized — but it's a misconception. It can certainly be helpful if you're suffering from a diagnosed mental health problem (or looking for a mental health diagnosis), but it can also be beneficial for anyone, at any point of their life.
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"Because a lot of us tend to be so busy and always on-the-go, it can be a really good time to stop and really do some reflection on yourself and get into what’s going on in your life," says Joy Harden Bradford, PhD, an Atlanta-based therapist who runs the podcast Therapy for Black Girls. "If nothing else, it gives you 60 minutes in the week to be focused on yourself."
That being said, therapy isn't always affordable or accessible — in which case Dr. Bradford says that you might also try community mental health centers or group therapy sessions.
"Sometimes, if you’ve been holding something in for so long, just the experience of steering it with another person allows you to feel better, because you aren’t carrying that load alone anymore," Dr. Bradford says.
The takeaway is that there are plenty of valid reasons for you to seek help or talk to someone, and your emotional well-being is worth looking after. With that in mind, read on for a few reasons to go to therapy that you might not have expected.
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Relationship problems

Dr. Bradford says that therapy can be a great way to work through breakups and communication problems. If you're struggling to deal with a series of relationships that didn't end the way you wanted them to, it can be helpful to hash that out with someone, too.

Even if you're not struggling with a relationship issue, couples therapy can still be help deepen your connection and strengthen your relationship.
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Life transitions

Whether you've just moved, changed careers, or have gone through another big life transition, change can be overwhelming and stressful, even if it's a good change. (Anyone who has ever moved, had a baby, or planned a wedding can likely attest to this.) Good or bad, a therapist or counselor can help you process big life changes.
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Grief

Losing a loved one can be devastating, and while you might never really fully heal from it, talking it through with someone can help. And, if you don't feel like getting help immediately after the loss, that's okay. There's no timeline for grief, and it's okay to ask for help long after you've lost someone.
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Stress/burnout

If you're burnt out and find yourself constantly contemplating taking mental health days, it could be time to talk to a professional about how you can best manage your time and tasks.

Dr. Bradford says that's especially true if you're a caregiver who spends a lot of your time taking care of your parents or your children: "The stress of all of that is a really good reason to talk to a therapist."
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Struggles with identity

Your identity can refer to your race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and all of the things that inform who you are and how you experience the world. If you're struggling to come to terms with your identity, or even grappling with being marginalized because of your identity, it can help to talk it out with someone.

If, for example, you're coming out as LGBTQ+ or even considering something that you might want to come out about, that's something that a therapist can help you work through.

If you are an LGBTQ+ person thinking about suicide, please call the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386.
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Trouble focusing

Everyone has had trouble getting things done at one point or another, but Dr. Bradford says that if it's an ongoing issue, your therapist might be able to help.

"Issues with productivity and feeling like you have problems with focus or concentration could be undiagnosed ADHD but could also be a symptom of anxiety," she says. "Sometimes anxiety symptoms are very much like ADHD: the overthinking and feeling like you have to be perfect in whatever you do."
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Trauma

If you've gone through sexual violence, domestic violence, or anything else that has triggered trauma, therapy can definitely help you cope.

If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

If you are experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224 for confidential support.
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Eating disorder/body image issues

It might be uncomfortable to talk about, but if you have a complicated relationship with your body, think you're suffering from an eating disorder or are recovering from an eating disorder, it's definitely something you should talk to a professional about.

If you are struggling with an eating disorder and are in need of support, please call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. For a 24-hour crisis line, text “NEDA” to 741741.
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Wanting to go to therapy, period

There are plenty of reasons that therapy can be helpful, and simply being a human being is one of them. If you feel like you could benefit from therapy and want to go, that's reason enough to look for someone to talk to.
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