…Counseling for Men – Benefits, Treatments, and What to Expect…

What holds many men back from getting counseling and treatment concerning issues that are bothering them? According to the American Psychological Association, they may not know anything is wrong with them. Early childhood cues regarding what emotions are acceptable for boys to display have a lasting effect. As a result, their ability to discern their emotions as adults may be limited. And these men may be unable to express or determine how they are feeling. Depression or sadness may get buried under other numbing activities, such as porn, alcoholism, and more.

Women who are brought up under the same strictures may also show this stunted emotional development. And, of course, not all men have had childhoods where certain emotions were discouraged. Additionally, today’s generation of millennial men are shifting toward more openness to counseling. With 42 percent of those surveyed saying that mens counseling is an essential aspect of mental health.

Benefits to counseling and therapy sessions

Counseling is a means for men to reevaluate negative thought patterns that might be holding them back in work or in a relationship. Often, individuals are unaware of what triggers negative thought patterns. Counseling provides an objective perspective to help people find a way to more productive viewpoints.

Being able to discuss work issues in a safe space, without fear of negative feedback can reduce work anxiety. While coworkers may be sympathetic and know what a fellow coworker may be experiencing, in the long term this may be harmful to one’s career. Alternatively, friends and family may be a source of comfort. But too much reliance on venting to a friend or a sibling may negatively impact that relationship.

Approaching therapy as a means of stress reduction and other common therapy topics

In one study, millennials were asked what were the three largest sources of stress and how they ranked them. Work ranked highest, money second, and self-esteem third. Other common topics that men seek

help for include the following:

  •  Rectifying marriage disputes
  •  Achieving better understanding of their partners
  • Counseling to help end damaging patterns, such as a desire or propensity toward affairs
  •  Addiction related counseling
  •  Feeling stuck at work
  • Not knowing how to achieve a work / life balance
  •  Desire for greater achievements in work
  •  Finding meaning after one has achieved milestone career goals
  •  Finding meaning during a mid-life crisis
  •  Finding new meaning after retirement

Men are often initially hesitant to discuss problems for which they are not able to provide a solution. So some therapists approach the subject in terms of goals to be achieved through counseling sessions. For example, setting a goal of getting “unstuck” is an effective way of looking at issues. And helps men understand that counseling is simply a way of developing strategies for life.

Untreated depression and anxiety

Anxiety that is untreated can lead to addictions and compulsive behaviors. Furthermore, depression that is untreated can lead to clinical depression. Clinical depression affects almost all aspects of one’s life, including eating and sleeping patterns. The danger arises for men when they are unable to evaluate whether they are depressed. And what begins as depression turns into clinical depression with severe physical repercussions.

Men should be encouraged to connect with feelings of sadness. For men, learning to better connect with and manage their emotions will help them find success in work and in relationships.

Counseling relationships are the most beneficial when the person feels free to open up about themselves. So men should be encouraged to find a counselor or therapist they feel comfortable with. It may take a couple of sessions with a therapist before all feel comfortable. So they should be encouraged to keep trying, even if the first session was difficult. Working on one’s mental health is worth the initial hurdles one faces and will go far to enhance one’s quality of life and relationships with others.

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