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Am I sick because I am seeking psychological help?

You are absolutely not (necessarily) 'sick' if you seek psychological help. Psychology as is the case with everything is on a continuum. On one end you have really high functioning people and on the other end low functioning people. Probably 80% of the population is somewhere inbetween.

Psychology has gotten a bad rap! Everyone has something to work on, even the most high functioning people. You can go through life suffering even if just a little bit from unconscious thoughts and behaviors or you can seek psychological help that supports you being in a better place.

Psychology is similar to going to college. It's a great place to seek information, gain awareness and use that information to grow into a better human being. Did you think you were sick because you went to college? You probably went to college to have a better future. Psychology also helps you have a better future. 

Psychological help can be an amazing experience. 
Seeking psychological help is a way to kick-start your own self-knowledge. Improving your relationships, learning parenting tricks, or gaining treatment for mood or other disorders are all good examples of why you might want to work with a mental health professional.  Going to a therapist doesn't mean you're "crazy." It means you want to live a more conscious and more fulfilled life, and you're willing to work with an expert to boost that process into high gear.

In fact, most therapists are required to have our own therapy, as part of our training process. It helps us to be aware of our own issues, and experience the process from the client's chair.

But like any helping profession, we're a mixed group -- there's no guarantee that selecting a therapist straight off a list will work for you. I always recommend that folks interview at least two or three licensed, experienced therapists before picking one. Therapy is highly personal, and chosing a professional with whom you feel comfortable is the first step.

Given that we live in an increasingly psychologized and psychiatrized climate, you might be inclined toward interpreting uncomfortable or upsetting feelings as a sign that something is wrong with you. You might mistakenly assume that friends will not be helpful because they are not trained therapists. It is sometimes hard to figure out what to do and where to turn.

Who is emotionally healthy? Who is normal? Who is mentally ill? Asking these questions is like asking "What is love?" or "What is art?" there are many answers. Mental health professionals have different definitions of emotional health and mental illness, and these definitions influence how they assess our problems. They also work in a field where intuition and sensitivity are as important as knowing the wide range of affects that antidepressants and other drugs may have on us.

Sometimes, people may assume that you are mentally ill and may fail to consider that you are emotionally healthy but coping with difficult situations. Research has shown that therapists and laypeople—even women—often interpret as problematic in women the same behavior that they interpret as neutral or even positive in men.

It is important not to jump to the conclusion that you are sick simply because you are seeking help. Responsible therapists recognize that people are often the best experts on themselves and will work with you to interpret and understand behavior.

Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.