Men and Therapy

by | Feb 15, 2012

Working with men in a therapeuticcontext can be challenging due to social, psychological, cultural, and ethnicfactors that define “manhood.” Growingup male in the U.S.is a mixed privilege. In addition to many advantages, being a man can involvebehaviors that are self-destructive and/or harmful to others

Americanmen are encouraged to focus on working and providing. In the process of fulfilling these tasks, theymay ignore the damage to themselves and their families. The American concept of masculinity dictatescertain ways for men to think, feel, and behave as a male; anything else isviewed as “girlish” and therefore unacceptable. For instance, men aren\’tsupposed to like or have anything to do with Stephenie Meyer\’s Twilight series. But those that do, mayfind that they can understand women a little better. Tom Barrack, the CEO ofColony Capital LLC certainly had a creative point of view change when he daredto read Twilight after he had nothingto do after a business meeting. You can read the full lstory here.

Womentend to enter therapy at a younger age than men, and are more receptive tojoining support groups, due to cultural conditioning. The traditionally weaker sex is, bydefinition, viewed as needing help, whether that help is physical or emotional. Boys are taught to be strong, brave,independent, and fearless. Boys grow uplearning to identify with action and sports heroes as their ideals. Living up to these images prevents men fromadmitting a need for help or any display of pain; either of these can beinterpreted as signs of weakness. Theprevious models of manhood were fathers of the “Greatest Generation.” These men tended to suppress softer feelings,deny emotional needs, and be invulnerable.

Menand women demonstrate significant differences as to why they enter therapy (orparticipate in a support group). Whatbrings men to therapy and what they end up talking about are often two entirelydifferent matters. At the beginning oftherapy many men don’t talk at all-at least about anything significant orinteresting. Men may come to therapy because they don’t talk, possibly at therequest of a significant other. Menoften go into therapy the same way they drive: rather than ask for directions,they just keep going until they reach a dead end, are completely lost, run outof gas, or have an accident. Even thenthey may avoid asking for help.

 

Menmaintain a “stiff upper lip” at times of emotional stress and often refuse toacknowledge fear, weakness, physical vulnerability, and fatigue, which add to theirunwillingness to perform preventative health behaviors. Why therapy threatens masculinity is a verycomplex question. For most men, therapyis the opposite of masculinity. Althoughthe act of entering therapy requires courage, it is also an act that challengesthe foundations of what most consider “masculine.” Until recently, the traditional man has beentrained to view expressions of emotional needs as “sissy stuff.” Men tend to overvalue self-reliance andemotional stoicism. Therapy involves avulnerability that goes against the male gender role. Society has played a role in defining thisgender role, which is why some aspects of today\’s society need to change inorder for therapy to be more male-welcoming.

What ultimatelytriggers a man to decide to enter into therapy or join a support group is oftena crisis of some kind. This may involve a failed relationship or aseries of failed relationships, career burnout, or some other traumatic eventwhich leads to depression, anxiety, isolation or loneliness. For many men this happens in mid-life, when aman approaches the age of forty, the classic “mid-life crisis.” It is a time when men may come to therealization that their life is half over, many of their dreams are still farout of reach, and other obligations have taken over. Havingspent all of their time trying to find fulfillment outside themselves, they discoversthat it has not worked. For the firsttime they may turn inward for answers.

A manmay begin to realize that the source of his dissatisfaction might be who he isand the way he is living his life. Hemay come to the conclusion that he needs to change and develop greaterself-awareness before he can have the life he imagined. This is a very difficult and courageous stepfor a man to take. Having successfullymastered his life on the outside, he is now forced to acknowledge that he needshelp exploring his inner life. A goodtherapist can provide guidance and support to help a man navigate themine-field of emotions he may never have noticed, or admitted to noticing,before. Therapy also provides a safeenvironment where a man can explore deeper aspects of himself. In discovering the full extent of hisemotional and spiritual nature, he may learn to express his own authenticmasculinity more clearly.

Finally,testosterone diminishes feelings. Men tend to stifle their feelings. Women seemnaturally more in touch with their emotions, while men have to work at it; butwhen they do, it’s a remarkable situation. They discover a whole new facet ofthemselves so that their relationships are happier, and they are happier too.

MARRIAGE COUNSELING

marriage counseling near me

RELATIONSHIP COUNSELING

the best relationship counseling counseling near me orange ocunty

DIVORCE COUNSELING

remarkable divorce counseling in orange county

DEPRESSION COUNSELING

anxiety depression counseling in orange county marriage relationships couples

If you’re seeking compassionate guidance and professional support to navigate life’s challenges, Nancy’s Counseling Corner is here for you. Our dedicated counseling services are designed to provide personalized care that addresses your unique needs and goals. Whether you’re dealing with stress, anxiety, relationship issues, or seeking personal growth, Nancy is committed to helping you find your path to wellness.

Explore the range of services offered at Nancy’s Counseling Corner by viewing her counseling services. We provide individual therapy, couples counseling, family therapy, and specialized sessions tailored to your specific circumstances.

Our approach is centered on creating a safe, confidential, and nurturing environment where you can feel comfortable to open up and work towards positive change.

To schedule an appointment or to learn more about how counseling can benefit you, contact us today. You can reach Nancy directly through email at info@nancyscounselingcorner.com or call us at +1(949) 510-9423. We’re here to support you on your journey to a happier, healthier life.

Remember, taking the first step towards healing is sometimes the most challenging part, but you don’t have to do it alone.

Nancy’s Counseling Corner is here to walk alongside you every step of the way. Let us help you start your journey to recovery and personal growth today.