In my work as a counselor specializing in male and trauma counseling, I have noticed the decision making process men follow to engage in therapy tend to be affected by many social, cultural, and religious beliefs. This has led many to think that the reason men engage in therapy and the reason women engage in therapy are very different.
Many of my male clients note that when they were growing up they were taught that men are not supposed to be “emotional.” Many deny ever seeing dad crying or making verbal statements about their feelings; what they remember is being told that a good man is a good provider for their family and a very strong individual.
As a consequence when you experience feeling overwhelmed, sad, stressed, stuck, excessively worried, or grieving the loss of a loved one, you may think that asking for help to address these situations doesn’t honor what you were taught. Even more so, you may feel you may be viewed as weak, or that by addressing your feelings you may come across as being a bad father, son, spouse, etc.
My job as your counselor is to validate where you come from. I honor your decision to address your feelings and the challenging situations your may be experiencing. Therapy makes you a better version of yourself and therefore an amazing role model as a parent, son, spouse, or brother.
Men and woman may experience the same emotional needs that bring them to therapy, but in my professional experience it seems that the difference depends on how that need presents itself and how it is affecting your life. Engaging in counseling requires commitment, courage, and self-care.
Many men engage in therapy for the following reasons:
- To improve anger management skills with daily matters. The symptoms may be that you are very irritable around your kids or spouse, or to raise your voice without apparent reason. You may say or think, “My blood boils.”
- To communicate better with others (spouse, children, bosses, parents). The symptom could be that you find it difficult to understand another’s point of view without taking it personally. This may lead to feeling disconnected from others.
- To cope with excessive feelings of worry. For some men, this translates to thinking about work at all times and feeling unsuccessful. As a consequence, you are likely to disconnect from family and friends.
- To manage family relationships. You may be thinking, “I am mentally exhausted,” and your commitment to and engagement with those relationships decreases.
- To resolve feelings of guilt. The symptoms that lead to this feeling is commonly seen in men who identified themselves as the head of the family at an early age and took care of their parents and younger siblings.
If men are more likely to see a therapist due to feelings of anger, it doesn’t mean that women don’t. In my opinion, it means that the symptoms of irritability and limited skills to cope with frustrations stem back to a fear that by engaging in therapy they won’t honor some social, cultural, or religious beliefs.
I am honored to help you to improve how you manage feelings of anger, communicate better with your spouses and family, improve your parenting skills, and take better care of yourself. I believe the best way to honor the reasons you seek help is to empower you to take pride in asking for help. That is not easy and I am here to help.