The majority of men who come to see me for a consultation would really rather not be there, and view therapy as a “weakness.”
These men have been warned by their partners that they need to go to therapy “or that’s it.”
Sometimes there are problems with anger, chronic irritation, and volatile outbursts at home.
At other times the partner complains “he doesn’t show any emotion. It’s like he doesn’t care.”
When we talk about what these men have learned from their fathers about what it means to be “a man,” they seem to all say the same thing. A man doesn’t show feelings; he doesn’t have them at all. If he does have a feeling, it can be anger. Men who are strong take care of their families by providing for them and they don’t complain.
When it comes to relationships, a man needs to be logical above all else and emotions only confuse and weaken a person’s position.
Problems showing emotion
Chronic anger or irritation
Work related stress
Lots of friends but no one to talk to
You might wonder how therapy can help someone who experiences it as a sign of being helpless and dependent.
A lot of it has to do with talking about problems in a way that makes sense to the person and providing a space to learn new things that are useful in an immediate and practical way.
One of the first things men can learn is that if they ignore their feelings, they may end up behaving in ways that look out of control. In a conflict, their voices and opinions may be the ones which are actually dismissed and ignored.
Helping men know that it's okay to have feelings and talk about them produces noticeable changes in their relationships and their sense of personal competence, which remain significant over time.
I specialize in working with men who typically "would never go to therapy."