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Do I Need Counseling? 6 Signs It May Be Time To Seek Help

Updated: May 24, 2021

Emotional distress, anxiety and the general ups and downs of life happen to us all. Perhaps you are experiencing financial issues or relationship stress. Maybe it is job related - work can get the best of all of us. But when we feel distressed and emotional, it’s usually temporary – we can recover and move to the next phase of our life with a little help from family and friends. At times, however, more assistance is required.

“Have you ever had someone say – oh just snap out of it. You’ll be fine. Well sometimes it doesn’t work that way.” says Alex Elizondo, licensed clinical social worker and chief clinical officer at Mobile Counseling of New York, a group of clinicians that provide remote or in-person therapy to patients. “If you’re noticing a pattern of negative behavior in your everyday life that seems hard to break, that’s a great place to start – but the symptoms of emotional stress aren’t always obvious.” notes Mr. Elizondo.

Staying Aware of Your Mental Health

Energy levels, health and overall productivity are directly affected by our mental state. From getting up in the morning to clean the house to finishing out a project at work, good mental health is vital to living life productively. When a person takes charge of their mental health, the results can be almost immediate – helping to strengthen their ability to handle life’s day to day challenges and feel better once the day is done. Emotional health affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

What is Therapy?

Therapy, also called Psychotherapy, is the use of research-based, clinically proven techniques that help people develop more effective habits. A Therapist seeks to provide treatment that is collaborative, working to develop a supportive and encouraging relationship between patient and provider. Therapists provide a neutral, objective and non-judgmental setting for patients to seek the help of a qualified professional.

There are several types of Psychotherapy:

  • Cognitive-behavioral (CBT): a form of treatment that has been demonstrated to be effective for a range of problems including depression, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug use problems, marital problems, eating disorders, and severe mental illness.

  • Interpersonal: is a time-limited, focused, evidence-based approach to treat mood disorders. The main goal of IPT is to improve the quality of a client’s interpersonal relationships and social functioning to help reduce their distress.

  • Psychodynamic: focuses on the psychological roots of emotional suffering. Its hallmarks are self-reflection and self-examination, and the use of the relationship between therapist and patient as a window into problematic relationship patterns in the patient's life.

“Many different settings for therapy exist, and there are also a wide variety of approaches. It is never a ‘one size fits all’, so it is important for the patient to agree with the type of therapy they are receiving.” notes Mr. Elizondo. “Our practice provides therapy to individuals, including child therapy, teen therapy and adult therapy. We also work with couples seeking marriage counseling, and groups requiring additional support.”

When to Seek Help

Self-care is critical to our overall quality of life. Contrary to what some may believe, reaching out for help is not a symptom of weakness. Taking charge of your mental health can help you get back on track and living life to your fullest potential.

Here are 6 signs it’s time to seek help, according to our experts:

1. I can’t control my emotions

Stress, overwhelm, anger, hopelessness – when mental health is suffering, emotions can run high. You may feel like you can’t relax at the end of the day or get angrier than usual. Feeling a spectrum of emotion is normal but being unable to regulate that emotion can be a sign you’re at risk and should seek help.

2. I’m failing at school – or work.

Losing hope or motivation, feeling fatigue and stress – these are just a few of the common symptoms that can cause performance to suffer at work or school. If you are noticing your grades or performance reviews taking a tumble, this can be one of the surefire signs that you should consider counseling.

3. I’ve gained or lost weight – or I’m always sick.

Mental health and physical health go hand-in-hand. There are many connections between mental health and chronic physical conditions that can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity...there is no health without mental health.”

4. My relationships are suffering.

Mental health conditions can be linked to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. In our everyday relationships, this can be linked to a decrease in bonding time, emotional fulfillment and more. If you’re feeling distressed around others or not enjoying spending time with the ones you love, therapy may be helpful.

5. I don’t enjoy the things I used to.

Common in patients experiencing major depression, PTSD, or other mood disorders, the inability or reduced ability to enjoy the things you used to love can be a major sign it’s time to seek help. You may feel as though it’s hard to achieve happiness, fulfillment or satisfaction. Counseling may be able to help.

6. I’m using sex, drugs or alcohol to cope

Using unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance abuse or sex can be referred to as self-medicating. These coping mechanisms may seem soothing or distracting from the discomfort of feeling sadness or anxiety, but they can create a vicious cycle that’s hard to break free from.

For more information on remote and in-person counseling services, or to book an appointment today, visit



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