The short answer to this is “not necessarily”.
You do however, need to have a sense that you want to change something in your life, whether it is a problematic reaction, behaviour or issue with an aspect of your psychological functioning (mood, concentration, emotional stability).
Engaging in any talk-work (coaching, mentoring, therapy) requires courage and commitment.
Our brains are not wired for easy change and having a reason for going into therapy is a powerful motivating factor to get you through the challenges associated with starting to do things differently.
A ”problem” can be a specific issue that you are grappling with and which is negatively impacting your daily functioning, mood and relationships.
Equally, it can be a diffuse sense of discomfort or malcontent, which is like a low-grade hum in the background – maybe not stopping you, but certainly slowing you down or distracting you from those aspects in life you want to foster and enjoy.
You don’t necessarily need a diagnosis to see a psychologist, although if you plan on seeking a rebate from Medicare or your health insurer, you will need a referral (which includes a provisional diagnosis) from your GP, paediatrician or psychiatrist. Contact your GP to discuss this further.
The other aspect to consider is that you may not want to wait until you are in crisis to set up a therapeutic relationship. When the wheels are falling off, you are more focused on doing whatever it takes to stay on track, and less inclined to take time to properly evaluate your therapy options.
The relationship between you and your psychologist can have a big impact on the outcomes of your therapy. This means that your best outcomes are likely to be achieved with someone you think you can work effectively with to achieve your goals.
Taking a proactive approach to engaging with a psychologist is like driving a high performance car and having it regularly serviced. We book the car in for routine services not only when there is a problem, but because it needs that attention to maintain peak performance and give you maximum enjoyment in the ride.
People working in highly sensitive, responsible, controlled, or high pressure environments may find it beneficial to check in regularly with their provider of choice.
Talking about it aloud can help give perspective and different approaches to addressing recurring or new issues. Having an established therapeutic relationship which is unconditionally constructive can be an important outlet and help you continue to perform at your best and maintain a strong sense of contentment throughout the important areas of your life.