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Who needs therapy? Part 1

Whether you find the thought of seeing a therapist daunting, or you look forward to your first meeting with excitement and intrigue, you should feel proud of the fact that you are considering taking steps to improve your life. It might feel like defeat, but deciding to get help is a sign of strength, resilience and courage. This page will help you to decide whether therapy is right for you. The article focuses mostly on individual therapy, although much of the information also applies to couples, family and even group therapy. Two lists of questions are included at the end that can help you to decide if either couples or family therapy is right for you. 

It's an emergency. Do I need therapy?

Psychotherapy requires both parties to be able to think, speak and reflect on the meaning or consequences of their actions. Severe bouts of mental illness and mental health emergencies may make this impossible. Mental health emergencies include cases where a person can't resist the impulse to act in ways that place them or others in danger. Examples include taking steps to kill oneself, acting on delusions in ways that risk harm, and engaging in harmful behaviours during a manic state (e.g. reckless sex or spending). People in the throes of an emergency usually require others to intervene. Help is available for people experiencing a mental health emergency. If you are experiencing such a crisis, or know someone who is at risk, you should:

  • Call your doctor's office

  • Call emergency services. Click here for a list of emergency numbers.

  • Go to the emergency or casualty department of your closest hospital

  • Ask a family member or friend to take you to the hospital or to call your doctor for you

  • Call a suicide or counselling hotline. Click here for a list of hotlines and suicide helplines. 

Skilled psychotherapists adapt their style to match their patient's capacity. Find one as soon as the height of the emergency passes, and work with them to help you makes sense of what happened and to return your life to normal.

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