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When to See a Therapist

When is it the right time to see a therapist? The answer is not that simple, especially if you come from a family, class, and cultural background where therapy is a foreign concept and seeking professional help comes with added shame and stigma.  

Research shows that when Asian Americans seek mental health services like therapy, their symptoms are more severe compared to other racial groups. 

Don't wait too long to seek help. Just as an untreated cut can turn into an infection, an everyday life distress can become a bigger problem without the proper support.

Below we are providing a list of experiences that you might be having and grouped them based on their severity and the respective recommended action: 

  • Consider seeing a therapist
  • Need to see a therapist
  • Must get support immediately


If you are experiencing any of the below, consider seeing a therapist. A therapist can help you through these issues before they become a bigger challenge. 

With your sense of self and well being:

  • Most of the time you feel okay but a bit numb
  • Nothing excites you
  • You have a lot to say but no one to say it to
  • You keep your emotional experiences to yourself
  • You have a pervasive experience of not belonging
  • You often feel like a fraud and/or inauthentic 
  • You feel scared and unable to make choices
  • You have physical ailments that don’t go away and/or have unknown causes

In relationships:

  • Your relationships are not satisfying
  • You feel overly responsible for other people in your life
  • You disappear in certain situations and/or with certain people
  • You have social anxiety 
  • You have a strained relationship with family (parents, siblings, grandparents, etc)
  • You feel burdened and overwhelmed by family and relationships
  • You feel pressured and/or stuck to be in a certain role 
  • You feel misunderstood a lot

In your career/ work:

  • You feel empty and unsatisfied with your work, despite significant accomplishments
  • You feel stuck 
  • You feel overworked
  • You have many interests but not sure what direction to go
  • You feel lost   


If you are experiencing the below, it’s TIME to seek professional help.

  • You can’t seem to hold it together anymore
  • Your emotions overtake you
  • You act out aggressively and unexpectedly
  • You cry for no apparent reason
  • You are constantly worried and can’t seem to be able to relax
  • You obsessively think about events and people
  • You have constant nightmares and/or don’t sleep at all
  • You are losing or hurting important relationships in your life
  • Your friends and/or family mentioned that you seem different
  • Some friends and/or family are distancing themselves from you
  • Your job and/or livelihood is at stake.  You are messing up at work and people are noticing
  • You are using and abusing substances and/or activities and/or people
  • You experienced something traumatic 
  • You experienced a big loss 


If you are experiencing any of the below, you should seek help immediately. In addition to a therapist, you might need additional support from psychiatrist and/or other services.

  • You are engaging in self-harm behaviors
  • You are extremely sad and low 
  • You cannot perform daily activities
  • You experience extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
  • You have difficulty perceiving reality
  • You are having delusions and hallucinations
  • You are having suicidal thoughts. If you have a plan, call 911 immediately.

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