Do You Need Counselling?

Sometimes when the going gets tough, it is natural to wonder whether seeking counselling would help. However, people often wonder ‘how bad is it’: should they seek professional help right away or is a vacation all they need to feel refreshed?

We have created a simple assessment system that you will find below, and it will help you make a decision about this. Here’s a quick background of the concepts underlying the test to give you a perspective of what exactly we are trying to assess:

Assessing Your Subjective Wellbeing

The system that we have devised, relies on the concept of Subjective Wellbeing and tries to assess it. It basically refers to your feeling of wellness in the present and is an important indicator of whether or not you need counselling.

Subjective Wellbeing, in turn, is based on evaluation of two concepts:

subjective wellbeing

Experienced Distress refers to the amount of discomfort that you are feeling. This distress may be felt in any form:

  • an overwhelming emotion that you are struggling with
  • a thought that is bothering you, a behaviour/action that you find unhelpful.
  • a complicated life situation or a disturbing event that you are trying to come to terms with.

Why we stress on the qualifier ‘experienced’ for distress, is because the same event or the same emotion may be experienced differently by different individuals. It is important to consider this subjective perception when trying to map the extent of distress.

Belief in Coping Capacity refers to one’s belief in their capacity to cope with a challenge.

Factors that contribute to this belief could be:

  • External contributors : family and friends, hobbies, work
  • Internal contributors : optimism, faith, belief in oneself

Each one of us relies on different sources for coping and use them in our own unique ways. Thus, what becomes important to assess is how confident we feel about our ability to cope. 

Now, a mapping of both these concepts is needed, to help you understand how you experience your mental wellbeing.

And hence, we have devised two scales – one that helps you assess your Coping Score and the other, that will give you a Distress Score.

Once you take the tests, we will help you understand what your scores mean and how you can use them to make the decision of whether you need to come in for counselling.

Take Both Tests Here.

These questions will map the extent to which you are able to cope and support yourself during difficult times.

Overall, I feel I am able to cope with my current level of distress.
I am able to access emotional support from my relationships.
I am able to use leisure/recreational activities/hobbies help myself de-stress.
I am able to motivate myself when I am down.
My work/college contributes to my happiness levels.
I am satisfied with myself, as a person.
I am able to find a silver lining when things don't seem to be going well.
I am able to calm myself when feeling flustered or anxious, and focus on the task at hand.
I am able to stand for myself and express my needs to others.
I am able to understand and manage most of my feelings.
Please state your gender.
Please state your age.
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Enter your email below and click Submit to know your Coping Score


These questions will help you reflect upon the extent of distress you are experiencing at the present.

Overall, I am currently feeling distressed.
The distress is affecting my ability to focus/concentrate.
The distress is coming in the way of my work/college.
The distress is affecting my relationships.
I am finding it increasingly hard to let go and just have fun.
I often find myself overwhelmed with an emotion/feeling.
I get a general sense that no matter what I do, nothing will work.
I blame myself for the distress that I am experiencing.
I often find myself distracted from the task at hand and brooding over my distress .
I begin to feel anxious when I start thinking about the distress.
Please state your gender.
Please state your age.
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Enter your email below and click Submit to know your Distress Score


Please note that your scores may be used for research purposes; however, your anonymity will be maintained throughout the process. 

Mapping Your Scores

Now that you have both your scores, use the graph below to find where you lie. Here’s how you can do it.

Coping-Distress Quadrangle Chart

1. Start with your Distress Score, and move along the horizontal axis till the point where it corresponds with your score.

2. From this point, move upward, along the vertical axis using your Coping Score and stop accordingly. You would now have located a unique position on this plot, on the basis of both your scores.

3. You can now see which zone your score lies in, considering both – your experienced distress and your perceived coping.

4. Read the descriptions below to understand these plot points better.

5. Remember, that these 4 zones are not static, but dynamic. All of us keep moving throughout this plot and find ourselves in different zones, at different points in life.

The Green Zone

Your scores lie in the Low Distress, High Coping Zone:

Your responses indicate that you are not distressed, in comparison to your coping capacity.

Currently, there are few stressors and enough factors enchancing your well-being. You are mostly able to enjoy yourself in the present.

You might not need counselling at this point.

However, if at any point in time, there are changes, and if you find your distress levels rising, it could become difficult for you to be able to access these forms of support.

Counselling at such a time can help you bridge this gap and help you tap into your own sources of strength.

The Blue Zone

Your scores lie in the Low Distress, Low Coping Zone:

Your responses indicate that you are not feeling quite distressed presently, but are unsure of how you will cope, if the need arises.

This means that although currently there are few stressors, there is also a lack of factors actively contributing to your health and happiness.

Make some changes in your lifestyle so that it is more wellness-oriented. For example, you could pick up a hobby and make time for it in your schedule, practise meditation or a form of exercise.

If you need help making these changes, counselling can support you with the same. Taking active initiative at this point will help innoculate you to some extent in the face of stressful situations in the future.

The Yellow Zone

Your scores lie in the High Distress, High Coping Zone:

Your responses indicate that though you are experiencing high distress, you also feel competent to deal with that distress.

Having this belief in oneself is truly essential and can help you stay afloat during the most trying times.

However, having to stay for long, in this state of high arousal – continuously fighting off stressors, you could soon start feeling exhausted.

It is advisable that you seek counselling at this point as a preventive measure, so that you don’t reach a state of complete burnout.

The Red Zone

Your scores lie in the High Distress, Low Coping Zone:

Your responses indicate that you are feeling highly distressed and are finding it hard to cope with it.

Counselling is needed at such a sensitive time, as it must be a truly overwhelming state to be in.

At the outset, a warm, understanding counselling relationship could help you cope with overwhelming emotions.

Gradually, it can focus on various goals to help equip you with emotional and behavioural skills for coping, in the future.

The vertical meter below will help you see how your zone is placed on the continuum of Subjective Wellbeing.

We hope that this post helped you reflect upon your current state of wellbeing. If you find yourself in a zone that needs counselling, use the prompts below to navigate to pages on our website that are of relevance to you. You could also get in touch with us directly to us with questions, comments and insights.

Which of these statements comes closest to what is bothering you at present?