June 14, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Help Is Here: Are You in Need?

I’m a big believer in therapy. Heck, I became a therapist because of how much I believe, know, and have learned how therapy can help. Not just for those who have an official diagnosis, but also for those who could benefit from having a space just their own where they can be seen, accepted and not pushed with advice or opinions.

In fact, I tell my clients that diagnoses really matter only when managing an insurance company, or if a diagnosis will normalize or validate an experience. Otherwise, people can overly rely on diagnoses for the legitimacy of their suffering. This trap leads so many to put off seeking help until “things are really wrong,” or they believe that they do not deserve help because they don’t meet the criteria according to one diagnostic book. This mindset overlooks so much real suffering.

It can be confusing, though, to know when it might be useful or even essential to seek out additional support, or when to look within one’s own toolbox when facing difficulty. Below are some recommendations with regard to this question.

  1. Not just for emergencies. Therapy can be a useful tool for all! A place to share thoughts and feelings and not need to give anything back to the relationship. Whether it be about a specific subject or to simply talk out current dilemmas or stressors, you can use and benefit from speaking with someone and don’t need to justify it in any way.
  2. Reflect on changes. Typically, people seek out new types of help when either something new has come up and help is needed, or because time has passed and “nothing is changing” and there is recognition that more is needed. So take the time to ask yourself about your current situation. Have you given yourself time to try and are seeing that it is finally time to face the brave, possibly difficult step of asking for help? Is there a new life situation or recurrent feeling that would feel best handled by reaching out for support? Note how the answers to these questions feel and whether you can listen to your wise mind giving you the answer.
  3. Reopen your toolbox. I am not necessarily saying that every person should start with a therapist. Have you been able to/tried setting boundaries to give yourself care? Have you reached out to friends or loved ones, whether to speak about what is on your mind or simply to connect? Have you tried any coping skills to create space for yourself or to address any active, overwhelming feelings? Notice if you have engaged with any of these steps and perhaps challenge yourself to go one step further. Speak more kindly to yourself, reach out when tired, create 90 seconds of peace. If you feel you are lacking in skills, ask others for ideas—they may be able to help! If you truly feel you need more, then perhaps reaching out to a professional for additional ideas could be beneficial.
  4. Ask yourself what you need. Seeking help can be scary. Recently, I wrote about why getting better can be hard, as it requires the acceptance of change and change or the unknown can feel harder than continuing with current pain. I implore you to ask yourself not necessarily what you want or should do, but what you need. And whether your toolkit will provide enough for you. This does not mean that you need to want to get better or feel ready or commit to giving up what has felt hard. Instead, it means some part of you can recognize that the way you feel or are living can be getting in the way of your values or goals and that you want help to make changes. This may mean facing that you’ve tried before but need to try again. It may mean reflecting on how you would benefit from support even if the problem feels temporary or created by the state of the world. Knowing that you need something different is enough.

This piece is not meant to promote my field and what I do. Instead, it is intended to encourage individuals to open their minds to what may be helpful and to notice judgments or fears when considering options. Notice defensiveness or if you wonder what others may think. Begin by reflecting honestly, seeing if this can be a reminder to text that friend or take a break. There is a spectrum of help.

In this process you are always your own strength; help given will only allow you to reach inside yourself and call upon or exercise that strength. You are steering the ship but perhaps it is time to call for some help to help guide you in your direction.


Temimah Zucker, LCSW, is licensed and provides virtual sessions to clients in both New York and New Jersey. Temimah specializes in helping individuals heal their relationships with their bodies and works with those battling various mental health struggles. Temimah also speaks nationally on these subjects. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, visit www.temimah.com.

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