While women are often the ones who seek therapy, typically making up nearly two-thirds of therapy clients, multiple studies have shown that men benefit more from working with a therapist or counselor. But men rarely seek therapy. Sadly, this is often because they don’t like the idea of opening up to a stranger and sharing their feelings.
In this way, therapy for men isn’t considered a very naturally masculine process. The reality is, “talking about feelings” is often such a small part of the process. But I want to encourage the men reading this to push past their discomfort and seek the services of a therapy or counseling anyway because it can really help in so many areas of your life.
Here are just some of the reasons therapy for men is a great idea:
Men often struggle with their identity
Many teens and men today struggle with what it means to be a man. Decades ago, the definition was more clearly defined, but nowadays it’s easy for a man to get completely lost. Should we be masculine or is masculinity somehow toxic? Should we show our emotions or is it weak to be viewed as sensitive? Should we protect women or is this somehow belittling women?
It can be confusing for men. Many men grew up without a father figure in the home, or fathers who were there but emotionally absent. And so men often look at the media and advertising to find clues about who they should be. And this is incredibly damaging.
Therapy and counseling can be a space where men can learn to define themselves on their own terms.
Gain understanding and tools for your relationships
In their day-to-day interactions, men tend to live on a logical plane of existence whereas women tend to live on an emotional one. No one plane of existence is right and no one is wrong. It is simply how the two sexes are wired. Of course, these are generalizations and not always the case.
But since men tend to struggle to express their feelings and express themselves in a way their female partner can relate to, their relationships often can suffer and the two can grow apart.
Therapy can help men safely and comfortably explore their own feelings without being overly mushy. Men can learn how to relate to women in a language women understand, without sacrificing their own sense of authenticity.
Become the best version of you
Seeing a therapist or counselor doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong with you. Often therapy can be a way to explore who you are, what you want, and how to reach your goals. In other words, therapy and counseling can be a means by which you become the best version of yourself.
If you hit the gym x times per week to get into the best physical shape, why not hit the therapist’s office each week to get into the best mental and emotional shape of your life and become the total package?
Get help for substance abuse
Studies have shown that men are far more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol as a way to self medicate and cope with stress, anxiety and depression. Therapy and counseling can show you how to cope with these and many other challenges without the need for these substances. You can learn skills, strategies, and techniques to manage and deal with uncomfortable feelings, thoughts, and all of the challenging situations that come up life.
Lower your suicide risk
There has been a disturbing rise in instances of suicide among older American men. This is most likely a result of men not believing they have the right to seek help or being too embarrassed to reach out for help with their problems. When you’ve got to be the strong one all the time and fix other peoples problems, seeking outside help is simply not an option.
But it IS an option, and men need to get help with their issues so they don’t turn to suicide. EVERYONE needs to get help with her issues so they don’t turn to suicide.
Help with fatherhood
As I mentioned earlier, many men grow up without proper role models. They then find themselves a father, unable to cope with the challenges and responsibilities. Therapy allows men to discover who they want to be for their children and come up with a game plan to develop this side of themselves.
Often times, men grew up with father figures they didn’t feel close to or respect. Without guidance and support, they often end up repeating the same mistakes, despite a strong desire to do otherwise. This can fuel the fire of guilt, shame, and anger and turn into a vicious cycle.
If you’re a man struggling with any of these issues, or need help with anything else and would like to explore counseling, therapy or coaching please reach out today.
James Killian, LPC is the Principal Therapist & Owner of Arcadian Counseling in New Haven, CT where they specialize in helping over-thinkers, high achievers, and perfectionists reduce stress, increase fulfillment and enhance performance so they can move From Surviving To Thriving.