19 Most Common Reasons Why People Go to Therapists

Once a hush-hush thing people did in secret, therapy has become more mainstream. People now go to therapy for a multitude of mental health and life-betterment reasons. No one should ever be ashamed to ask for help, but in case you’re on the fence about therapy, here are 19 common reasons people go.


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According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), in 2021, “an estimated 21.0 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode.” When depressive episodes hit, they can make it hard to function and do the simplest of tasks. Therapy can help you discover the cause of your depression and manage the symptoms to get you back to your old self.


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We all experience some level of anxiety when stressful situations and worry hit, but anxiety can also become so chronic that it makes it difficult to even manage day-to-day tasks. If anxiety is not dealt with, it can cause depression, sleep issues, and unhealthy coping mechanisms. A therapist can help you identify the root of your anxiety and find healthy ways to cope.

Relationship Issues and Couples Counseling

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Relationships, including those with family, coworkers, romantic partners, and friends, have a significant impact on your perception of your life. When these relationships start to cause stress, anxiety, or anger issues, it is important to seek help. You can seek therapy alone for your end of the relationship or go to therapy with your significant other, family members, or even coworkers.

Grief and Loss

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Grief is tricky; even when you give yourself time to mourn, grief has its own timeline and may last longer or be harder than you expected. While a therapist cannot make the death of a loved one any easier, they can help you find other ways to help deal with the denial, pain, and anger.

Trauma and PTSD

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Working through the lingering effects of traumatic events such as abuse or being the victim of a crime, accident, or natural disaster with a therapist can mitigate long-term post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD can manifest as flashbacks, panic attacks, and avoidance: psychologists use techniques such as cognitive processing therapy (CPT) and stress inoculation training (SIT) to help clients manage PTSD symptoms.

Eating Disorders

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Anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating are never about the food, and rarely are they actually about the way you look in the mirror. Seeking help to find what is at the core of your desire to control what you put in your body or what the void is you’re trying to fill with food may be the only way to get true control over your eating.

Sleep Disturbances

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Insomnia can seriously impact your everyday life, leaving you feeling drowsy in the daytime and wide awake at night. There is often an underlying cause for insomnia that a therapist can help you uncover without relying on medication to get rest. According to the Mayo Clinic, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective non-drug treatment for insomnia.


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Working through negative perceptions of self can often be easier with the help of an outside party who can look at you objectively. A therapist can listen to what you dislike about yourself and ask questions to help you reframe your understanding of your reality. This can be highly effective in boosting self-image.

Life Transitions

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Even exciting life changes like moving, starting your own business, or having a baby can leave you feeling anxious or needing to work through the process. Getting ahead of the curve by speaking to a therapist before things go wrong can help make major life transitions go much smoother.

Anger Management

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Everyone gets angry. When you feel like your anger is getting out of control or you are struggling to deal with anger in a safe and constructive way, it is time to seek a therapist. A therapist can help you discover the specific anger management techniques that work for you.

Chronic Illness

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Finding out you or a loved one has a chronic or terminal illness can be hard to navigate without help. The fear of losing the ones you love or having to take care of/be taken care of long-term can be a devastating blow to your peace of mind.

Sexual Issues

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Addressing problems related to sexual function, intimacy, or identity can be hard to do with friends and family members. It is often helpful to talk to a professional for the ease of being open without judgment and for professional advice.

Career Challenges

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We spend a huge chunk of our lives at work, which can severely affect our mental health. A therapist can help you through many work-related situations, including dissatisfaction at work, career changes, and even finding a work-life balance.

Parenting Difficulties

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Parenting can be hard—don’t let anyone tell you differently. If you’re questioning your parenting skills or you have a question about whether your child’s behavior is normal, talking to a therapist might be in order. A mental health professional can enable you to make the right choices for you and your child or provide some reassurance that you are on the right track.


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From the fear of pregnancy and childbirth (tokophobia) to anxiety disorders such as agoraphobia, phobias cause legitimate emotional distress. Even seemingly small fears, such as the fear of spiders (arachnophobia) or the fear of flowers, can be serious enough to impact everyday functioning. Specialized therapists can help you face your fears using exposure or talk therapy.

Personal Growth

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You can also use a therapist to help you become more self-aware and develop as a person. They can help you set goals and create a path to achieve them. Learn how to improve the way you express yourself and understand others, as well as how to resolve disputes in various areas of life.

Mood Swings

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Emotions change throughout the day, but for some, these shifts can feel extreme and overwhelming. While you might have some emotions handled well, there may be one or two that seem to get the best of you more frequently. A therapist can help you develop a plan to ensure your emotions serve you well.

Addictive Behaviors

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A therapist can help address behaviors like gambling, internet addiction, and substance abuse and can identify both the problem behavior and its root cause, whether it’s stress, depression, or childhood experiences. Support for family members dealing with a loved one’s addiction is also available. Individual and group therapy can help family members better understand how to support their loved one’s recovery while also coping with their feelings.

Mental Health Maintenance

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Mental health maintenance involves proactively working on mental health to prevent issues from arising or worsening. This is like maintaining your vehicle so problems are mitigated in the future, or like training for a marathon so you’re mentally prepared for what life throws at you. You don’t need to have something actively going wrong to see your therapist.

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