I support many men who are very successful professionally, but struggling in the more personal areas of their life. Some of them began counseling with some degree of ambivalence. Research tells us that men tend to seek counseling less frequently than women, although they are finally beginning to close that gap. The explanation for this is complex.
When I work with men I sometimes hear them express concern about a belief that society may not respect men who have difficulty managing their own problems. Some also say that they feel uncomfortable sharing their emotions and vulnerabilities, have trouble relinquishing control, or feel shame about their particular issue. Confidentiality is also frequently a concern for men when they seek assistance.
This hesitation to ask for help is unfortunate for many reasons, particularly because the research also suggests that men have the highest rates of success in meeting practical, measurable goals developed in counseling. Counseling is much more than just a discussion about feelings. It’s a forum to identify and solve real-life problems through the application of new skills and behaviors.
While both men and women experience similar levels of difficulty in their lives the particular ways in which this manifests is often influenced by gender. Common issues that I assist men with are:
- Relationship problems
- Difficulty with communication
- Problems developing emotional intimacy
- Feelings of resentment and rejection
- Need for autonomy
- Sexual concerns and infidelity
- Parenting challenges
- Need for validation and feelings of inadequacy
- Struggles with stress, anxiety, and depression (which in men may present as irritability and/or anger)
- Issues with conflict and anger management
- Desire to better understand emotions and how to feel more fulfilled
- Career problems, leadership development, and work/life balance challenges
If you are a man considering counseling please know that many men share your struggles and have discovered the benefit of having a confidential, supportive, and completely non-judgmental environment to explore their concerns and find solutions. Please let me know how I can assist you.