Therapy for men with Empower Counseling in Birmingham, Alabama: 3 Common Struggles Men Face with mental health.
In a previous blog, I discussed how men are much less likely to seek help and therapy when they are dealing with mental health concerns than women. We seek alternative, and often unhealthy, ways of dealing with our struggles that don’t actually help in the long run and lead us to much poorer outcomes with our mental health. Here are three common issues men struggle with that may help explain why we do not seek outside help and why we need to change this. Therapy for men with Empower Counseling can help you address all three struggles in a mentally health and strong manner.
Opening Up to Others: Therapy for Men with Empower Counseling Can Help
One of the main issues men face when it comes to dealing with our emotions and mental health is that we are taught from an early age to not open up to others, that sharing what we are going through is a sign of weakness. As the article “Therapy For Men” states, “Additionally, because men are often conditioned by social norms to refrain from showing certain emotions, such as emotional vulnerability, fear, sensitivity, or dependence, they may fear that expressing these emotions will lead them to be perceived as less masculine. However, keeping back these emotions may cause other emotional difficulties, and those who attempt to hold back their feelings may find their health and well-being are negatively affected by the practice.” (link here) This fear of loss of our masculinity is very pervasive amongst men and is a chief cause of us being unwilling to open up to others. But it is one we have to be willing to overcome and to change what we see as masculine.
Anger Is The Only Emotion We’re Allowed To Feel
The second issue men face when it comes to dealing with our emotions is that we have been told there is only one emotion we are allowed to feel: Anger.
This often leads to the first issue we discussed as showing any other emotions such as fear or sadness is seen as being vulnerable and weak, therefore we find ways to turn these other emotions into anger as we are more comfortable with expressing it.
Often times disorders such as Depression and PTSD present as anger in men as it is the emotion we are allowed to show. This can lead to many men being undiagnosed or ignoring their own issues as the true underlying causes go hidden. It also leads to many men having to work in therapy on changing how they process emotions and learning how to control the anger that they have been so free in expressing.
One thing I have discussed with many of my male clients is how to change our perception of what we see as “weak” and “masculine”. An example of this is looking at men who are angry often and fly off the handle at the slightest insult. Often we are told this is someone who is strong or “alpha”, someone who is being manly. But if we take a look at what is really happening, we can see that it is a man who is letting others decide his emotional state and is not in control of himself. I will often ask male clients if it takes more strength to get into a fight over an insult or to walk away when we feel our anger rising, and they often respond it is harder to do the latter. This shows that learning to control one’s emotions and properly deal with them can be seen as taking more strength, and is a way we can work on changing our perception of what “masculinity” means.
How Substance Abuse Is Used In Place Of Therapy
Using substances as a replacement for therapy or to handle emotions is the third struggle men face that therapy for men with empower counseling can help
As mentioned above, we are taught to be uncomfortable with many of our feelings, and one of the socially approved ways for men to deal with their emotions is to turn to alcohol.
When I worked in addictions counseling for several years, a common story I heard amongst my male clients was that they started their descent into alcoholism or substance abuse by using to numb themselves to what they were dealing with. Substances are often used as a quick fix to our problems, make it so we don’t have to feel them or can only feel the effects of our drug of choice so that we forget our problems.
Of course this doesn’t last and eventually reality comes crashing back in, except now we have found what seems an easy solution that we return to over and over again. The end result is that our problems are never actually dealt with and often grow much worse as the substances take over our lives. One of the things I found worked best when working with male addicts is to help them learn to actually deal with and process their emotions so that they can have other tools at their disposal besides substances.
If after reading this you are ready to start the process of learning how to open up and deal with the things you have been shoving down for years so you can enjoy your life like never before, please contact us at Empower Counseling so we can begin the healing journey together!
Empower Counseling offers online and in-person counseling for men and women of alll ages. We also offer anxiety counseling, depression counseling, and counseling for difficult times in life for older children, teens, college students and young professionals, as well as adults. We are located in Mountain Brook right off of 280 which is convenient to anyone living in Homewood, Mountain Brook, Vestavia, Hoover and other surrounding areas. Kathryn, Adam, and Kristine are trained in Acceptance Commitment Therapy. ACT is a scientifically proven effective form of therapy for anxiety and depression counseling. Adam also offers addiction counseling. We have daytime, evening, and weekend appointments available. Contact us today and find the best therapist for you 205-730-6570.
Post by Adam Elliott