Do I need psychotherapy ?

Here are 20 reasons for consulting a psychotherapist. If one or more apply, you should seek professional help.

  • I feel ill or have pain, even though doctors (or my general practitioner) can’t find anything organically wrong with me and medical findings don’t adequately explain my symptoms.
  • For a while now, I’ve only been able to keep myself going with the help of stimulants, sedatives or hypnotics.
  • I get racing heart palpitations for no apparent reason and I’m afraid I’ll faint or die.
  • I have fears that burden and limit me. For instance, fear of interacting with other people and authority figures, fear of open spaces, confined spaces, creepy-crawlies, exams, etc.
  • I’m often plagued by thoughts which I don’t dare discuss with anyone; for example, thoughts that are too embarrassing, thoughts of things that I have done wrong, thoughts of not being normal, or fear of being persecuted or controlled.
  • I feel lethargic and sluggish, exhausted or chronically overstrained.
  • I am often depressed and don’t enjoy life.
  • I am sad and lonely.
  • I am in a stressful situation (e.g. I am affected by a chronic illness, the death of a loved one, divorce, separation, accident, unemployment, etc.) and I’m struggling to cope with it.
  • I frequently consider suicide.
  • I’m in a difficult relationship which is straining me.
  • I feel permanently overwhelmed by my children.
  • I consistently have major problems with people I interact with (e.g. at the work place).
  • I’m addicted to alcohol, drugs, food, work, love, gambling, etc.
  • I feel internally compelled to constantly do or think the same thing, such as repeatedly washing my hands, ruminating without end, verifying over and over whether my apartment door is locked properly, all of which considerably restricts my life.
  • I wish to maximise the use of my abilities and potential but I don’t know how.
  • I’m not sure how to handle my sexuality.
  • I’m tormented by my fear of decision making.
  • My child frequently acts aggressively or is sad and retreats more and more. My child has difficulties connecting with children of the same age, has stomach aches without discernible cause, is afraid of school and suffers from learning and concentration problems.

(After a compilation of the Austrian Federal Association for Psychotherapy, 2002)