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  • Men’s Therapy

    John Gallagher, LMHC

    Men’s Therapy

    Why are men less likely to seek counseling?

    Handsome man sittingThere are a number of reasons for this discrepancy. Culturally, men are generally encouraged to handle things on their own, take things “like a man,” and “pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.” Furthermore, from childhood, boys are not typically encouraged by their parents and peers to express softer emotions that might be perceived by others as weakness (e.g. sadness, fear, guilt, tears, etc.). Unfortunately, men are encouraged to “stuff” or hide such emotions. As a result, anger, aggression, impulsive behavior, or numbing via alcohol and substances often become the “go to” or default alternatives for dealing with difficult feelings. Men who consider asking for help can be flooded with feelings of failure, embarrassment or shame and can engage in negative self-talk:

    "I can't do it myself so I'm a failure"
    "What's wrong with me?"
    "What will people think?"

    As I work with men I pay special attention to three things:

    1. Men in counseling are going to need extra time getting comfortable with vulnerability i.e. sharing fears, problems, pain and other things which they are not use to dealing with openly. I don’t rush that. I move at the pace of each individual client. Building a good rapport and trust is crucial.

    2. Many men have learned to avoid difficult thoughts and emotions by engaging in other distracting but unhelpful behaviors. Examples of these self-protective defenses are anger, aggression, humor, dismissing, minimizing, and numbing via alcohol/substance. As a therapist treating men I am experienced working with those defense systems in a patient and respectful way.

    3. Men respond well to a collaborative therapeutic relationship. The men I work with are not told “what to do,” they are empowered to take an active role in their own goal setting and to contribute to their own solutions. Men who are successful in counseling not only figure out ways of coping with the issue they presented with as “the problem.” Men who are successful in therapy learn how to more comfortably experience and express their full range of emotions. This often leads to better functioning in all areas including family, social and work relationships.

    Recommended Reading

    What Men Can Gain From Therapy

    Depression in Men: Symptoms and Physical Effects

    Other Treatment Specialties

    • Men's Counseling
    • Generalized Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Anger & Stress Management
    • Panic Attacks
    • Low Self Esteem
    • Alcohol Abuse
    • Phobias (Fears)
    • Excessive Worry
    • Social Anxiety
    • Coping with Disabilities
    • Physical and Sexual Trauma