People make the decision to consult a therapist for a variety of reasons. They may be experiencing symptoms of depression, such as frequent sadness, a sense of hopelessness, or a loss of enjoyment from things that used to make them happy. They might be experiencing anxiety symptoms such as frequent worry, feeling tense or keyed up, or difficulty concentrating on important activities. They might be experiencing problems managing their anger or navigating various aspects of family and work relationships. They might be experiencing a more ambiguous sense of dissatisfaction or loss of direction vis a vis life in general.
The underlying commonality amongst these examples is the person's perception that they might be encountering a situation which they might manage better with some professional knowledge, perspective, and support. They want to know what their problems might signify, how they can address them, and whether they truly need to seek outside assistance.
Parents also arrive at a similar decision point when their child begins to exhibit chronically challenging behaviors, difficulties getting along with peers, mood problems, or other changes in their typical, everyday level of functioning. In these cases, a parent typically seeks consultation because they are not certain whether or not their child would benefit from some outside assistance.
A consultation with a mental health professional can help you clarify your or your child's presenting concerns, shed some light on contributing factors, and provide some guidance for how you might choose to proceed. Consultation may lead to a recommendation for further assessment, treatment planning, and psychotherapy. At other times, consultation may suggest that further professional help is not necessary.