Throughout our lifetime we live different experiences that change the way we behave; they change our routines and the way we conduct ourselves. This is especially true of negative experiences. Sometimes it’s the loss of a loved one or the end of a relationship, moving to another country or changing a job, or simply losing interest in the things we liked before without any apparent reason. All these situations affect us in different ways, and they can be accompanied by feelings such as anger, sadness, anxiety etc. When we do suffer one of these events, we need time to adjust and find ways of coping with those negative feelings. We also need to develop new routines and ways of doing the things we’ve done automatically until now, which takes time and energy. Sometimes it takes a long period of time before we develop these new routines, and sometimes, despite our best efforts, we’re left with the bad feelings for a long time and nothing seems to take it away or help. Once it becomes unbearable, either to us or to the people that are closest to us, and it starts affecting our daily life to the point where we are having difficulty functioning, we may need to seek psychological help.

This, of course, raises a question, why do we wait until the last moment to seek help? When should I ask for help? How do I know whether or not I need professional aid? Psychological problems might not have indicators that are as easily recognizable as those of physical illness (cough’s, fever’s, pain etc.) so it can be difficult to know exactly when you should consider going to a professional. Here we’ll try and give a few clear guidelines as to when it might be time to get the input of a professional.

  • Problems with your basic needs.
    Humans are complex beings, and each person is a world, but a clear indicator that something could be going wrong is deterioration in our ability to fulfill our basic needs. If you’re having trouble with your sleep (getting to or maintaining it), appetite (loss or extreme urges), loss of energy, feeling the need to isolate yourself.
  • Experiencing situations that make us feel discomfort.
    Having negative feelings, feelings that are uncomfortable, in multiple areas of your life. To the point where we start anticipating that we’re going to feel that way and find ways of avoiding the discomfort such as overindulging in alcohol, avoiding social situations, staying at home, running from something etc.
  • It’s taking too long.
    Having bad experiences is part of life, we all feel sadness, stress, and anxiety sometimes. We can all have problems sleeping over a few consecutive nights, drinking a bit too much during dinner occasionally or days where we don’t feel like socializing and just want to stay in bed. All of these things are completely natural and don’t necessarily indicate a problem. However, when these behaviours becomes a habit, and remain present for weeks or even months, with no end in sight, we might be having a problem.

All that said, remember that deciding to begin therapy doesn’t have to be limited to the situation described above. Whether we want to improve our social skills or our relationships or some other area of our life, therapy can be the tool that will support us in achieving those goals.

Tommy Gyran Norheim
Division of Psychology, Psychotherapy and Coaching
Tommy Gyran Norheim
Adults and adolescents
Languages: English, Spanish and Norwegian
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