Therapy for Men
Thinking and Feeling
I see my job as helping men understand the world of feelings. Here is a bit of background about feelings.
Emotions start as a biological response to cues from the environment. Our responses to these cues are learned in our early socialization from the influential people around us. You can respond from either a "thinking" or "feeling" perspective. Most men in our culture are taught to respond from a "thinking" position while most women learn to respond from a "feeling" perspective.
Often our responses to situations and important people have become automatic. Psychotherapy can help you learn and try out new or alternative responses.
Research has shown that men are sometimes more easily overwhelmed by certain emotions in their interpersonal relationships. When that happens your response to a situation could give the impression that you have disengaged or withdrawn from the relationship, and that can be particularly distressing to the other person. Then the troubles escalate when the other person's distress results in even more overwhelming emotions for you to cope with.
If your response to the overload on your coping mechanisms is to become hostile or defensive, this will of course lead to yet more relationship difficulties. You could end up in arguments with your spouse or a coworker. You could find yourself in altercations you never intended.
Being a "provider" is a primary focus for most men in our culture. While this is healthy and desirable, careers can sometimes get in the way of forming satisfying, healthy relationships. Men are encouraged to identify themselves with their jobs, and most men do. That is one of the qualities that makes them valuable employees. Unfortunately, when something like downsizing or retirement comes along men can experience an identity crisis. Or, men who have been successful in their careers may later experience an urge for something more, new or different, and may not even know what that is. As a result men can end up feeling disconnected, depressed, and lonely.
Many men try to fix things themselves and when things don't work out they may feel like they've failed. They try to change distressing patterns by "brute force" or "self-knowledge". It's harder for them to start therapy. In order to cope with feelings, men sometimes can abuse or over-use alcohol, substances, and food. They can also over-engage in activities such as computer games, Internet, TV, and sports.
Of course, this page is a generalization and not all men see things the same way. Therapy is tailored to your specific goals.