How Do I Know if I Need to Consult a Psychologist?

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Ever wondered if you need a psychologist and stopped to think that maybe you don’t – because your concerns/ problems are not big enough? There are a lot of misconceptions with how and when people consult psychologists. It does not always have to be when you have very stressful mental health issues or get diagnosed with mental illness.

  1. Impact of your concerns, problems, things on your life.
    You can consult a psychologist when you feel that your thoughts, feelings and behaviour are impacting your life in a way that you wouldn’t necessarily want them to. If you feel like you find it difficult to navigate them by yourself, it might be a good idea to take the help of a mental health professional to guide you with your emotions and thoughts. 
  2.  When your basic bodily functions are getting disturbed.
    If you have  been feeling too hungry, haven’t been able to sleep well for a few days, or you have not been feeling as sexy as you usually do, it might be a good idea to consult a psychologist. Our daily functions say a lot about our mental health – and if your essential functions of sleep, health and sex drive are disturbed, you might actually be feeling distressed or overwhelmed with emotions.
  3. When your mood fluctuates too often.
    Too happy and then suddenly too sad? Angry and calm? Your own moods giving you lots of mixed signals? No, you’re no bipolar or anything else. If your body and mind cannot take the stress you are currently facing by yourself, a psychologist will be able to guide you and help you attain coping mechanisms to feel better.
  4. When you suddenly disinterest in things you found enjoyable once.
    If you liked swimming, baking, socialising, and going out but are suddenly in no mood to do any of those things. Or, you prefer being by yourself, withdrawing or isolating from different environments, in a way that worries your loved ones, it might be a sign that you are burnt out or just need some space to take care of your own mental well-being, a psychologist will only help you to do so.
  5. When you’re using substances more than what you consumed previously.
    Started partying too much? Using a lot of alcohol, drugs or other substances might be a sign that you are trying to distract yourself from what is currently troubling you. The momentary gratification you get from using different substances might actually only lead to more mental health. If you use substances to cope with problems-  try a psychologist! They are more long term and will give you ways to cope more healthily.
  6. When you find yourself thinking thoughts that are disturbing.
    Our own self-talk is very important for our mental health. If we have thoughts that constantly put us down, and make us feel bad –  it will only make us feel worse. If you’ve had thoughts that are self-deprecating, about harming yourself or of dying by suicide – you might actually be going through very tough life situations and may be you are not able to see solutions other and are therefore getting overwhelmed. Ask for help, a friend, a family member or a psychologist.
  7. If you’ve recently experienced an impactful events.
    The pandemic in itself can be extremely overwhelming for most of us. But other events like loss of a loved one, birth of child, unemployment or experience of a traumatic event might lead you to having various thoughts and feelings that might hamper your connection with the outside world.  It might make it hard for you to cope.
  8. When you just feel the need to speak with someone.
    When you feel like you have no one to talk to or want a new person to open up to – a psychologist will be able to give you that space. They are trained to actively listen, provide a non judgemental space, and explore various thoughts, feelings and behaviour.
  9. When people around you ask you to consult a psychologist.
    Of course you know yourself the best, but your loved ones also do. They are used to seeing you in a certain mood and acting a certain way – which for them means you are feeling like yourself. However, if they notice changes in you and recommend that you go see a counsellor, it might be out of genuine interest for you. They are looking out for you and they want the best for you! Take one appointment or talk to a few psychologists while they are around for support if you don’t want to do it alone. Take baby steps.
  10. When you get referred from another health professional.
    Other health professionals like psychiatrists or general physicians might refer you to a psychologist either for therapy or testing. Testing or psychometric assessment  is done in order to get a more comprehensive diagnostic picture to aid doctors in diagnosing and treating. On the other hand, psychologists might help aid you in different aspects of your life. If p medical professionals recommend you to go to a psychologist, they might believe that your physical problems are connected to your mental health concerns (which they always are!) – don’t be afraid to go therapy shopping and find the right psychologist for yourself in those times.

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