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  • Kathy Wu, PhD

Why seek counseling?

Updated: Mar 4, 2020

There are many reasons why people decide against seeking treatment for emotional or behavioral challenges. They include: “I’m not crazy,” “No one will understand me,” “It’s just a phase,” “It’s too expensive,” “I don’t have time,” or “I can handle it all by myself.” For some individuals, it may be perfectly fine to “wait and see”, but for others, getting immediate help is necessary.

If negative changes in one’s mood, personality, personal habits, and/or social behaviors are affecting one’s daily life, family, school, and/or work, it may be time to seek support from a professional mental health provider.


Parents, here are some important reasons to seek outside help:

1) Your child is harming self or threatening to harm self or others.

2) When your child’s behavior is interfering with the functioning of the whole family.

3) When your child’s siblings are unhappy, scared or upset by your child’s behavior.

4) When you and your spouse/partner are having disagreements about how to manage your child’s behavior, and your relationship is suffering as a result.

5) You just don’t know what to do and are at wits’ end.


The teenage years are probably one of the most interesting times in one’s lifespan. Between ages 13-19, there are usually stunning changes on the physical, emotional, cognitive and social levels. With these changes often comes a period of confusion for both the teen and those around them. Signs that your teen might need a helping hand from a professional psychologist include:

1) Your teen is engaging in self-injurious or highly risky behaviors.

2) They are isolating self, appear sad and/or seem to experience significant changes in mood, including inappropriate levels of anger.

3) Your teen is being unusually disrespectful to authority figures, is defiant or breaking rules.

4) They seem to be struggling socially, is having fallouts with friends, and seem to always be immersed in some form of social conflict.

5) They are having a far time managing stress in general.

Young Adults

As a young adult, you are busy trying to launch your life, and therefore, have plenty to occupy your time than to go to therapy. However, these are some common reasons young adults should consider starting therapy:

1) You persistently feel overwhelmed and stressed, and feel hopeless about things getting better.

2) Your decision-making seems to get you in trouble or set you back emotionally, personally and/or financially.

3) You feel inadequate and unworthy at school and/or work.

4) You are constantly wondering if you are living up to the expectations of yourself and others.

5) Your relationships are suffering and you are not sure what to do.

Finally, one of the best reasons to start counseling is: The sooner you get treatment, the easier it is to help you. Sometimes waiting to take action may result in poorer prognosis, longer treatment time, and prolonged suffering. With treatment, many are able to learn to cope with or recover from mental health challenges.

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