Men and Counselling
What's different about men and counselling?
Well, when I think of all the male and female clients that I see, the biggest difference is that men usually bring something they've never told anyone before. Whereas women will often have talked to a friend or family about some of their concerns before coming to counselling.
Although men may feel reluctant to share their problems, vulnerabilities or fears with those closest to them, I often find that once they've made the decision to come to counselling they find talking is powerful. They open up quickly, are willing to explore their difficulties and, as they unravel the threads of their story, find relief as it opens up the possibility of new ways of thinking, new ways of seeing and understanding themselves.
So are men born strong and silent?
No is the simple answer, they're aren't. Male babies actually start out life being more emotionally expressive than female babies but parents and society can place enormous pressures and expectations on them. If they're brought up to believe boys must always be strong, that boys don't cry or express fear, they quickly become less verbally expressive than girls. The rigid thoughts and beliefs created by society mean that men often assume they are weak or a failure if they show their emotions or ask for help. But these assumptions are just that. Assumptions. They are not reality.
My clients come to counselling for many different reasons ~ all of them valid. It's about what that reason means to them, not to anyone else. If they're struggling with something that prevents them from living their best life, it's significant.
I know that acceptance and support can be hard to come by, especially for men. Counselling can provide a safe space for you to tell your story without feeling judged or criticised or made to feel guilty. Sometimes it takes the voice of another to show that most of us are harder on ourselves than we would dream of being to others.
So, if you're thinking of breaking your silence, you need some support or someone who loves you is trying to convince you to talk to someone ~ get in touch. I would be willing to bet that you won't regret it and may even wish you'd done it sooner.