Is Therapy With Men Different Than With Women?
Here’s my answer to that question: Sorta. Kinda. Maybe?
As much as things are changing and it’s becoming less taboo for men to talk about stuff there is still a loooong way to go.
From my experience over the years working with men and women, there are a lot of mixed messages out there (especially to men). There’s this stigma that going to therapy is a sign of weakness. Whether this message comes from society, family, belief systems, peers, etc. it’s a real mixed bag.
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“I need to be sensitive and talk about things that are bothering me . . . but I just don’t know how. I was never taught to talk about what bothers me.” Or, “As a kid I was always told to ‘stop crying’ or ‘don’t be such a baby’. So when I try to be vulnerable, everything inside of me is telling me not to say a word. I just can’t switch it off.”
Does this sound familiar to you? Can you relate to this? I could. So I started asking myself ‘how do I create a space for guys to talk about stuff that’s bothering them’? The stuff that has been locked up in the ‘vault’ for - sometimes - decades.
Here are some of the things I learned:
Not everyone is the same. So what is best for you might not work for someone else. As a therapist, I need to be flexible so I don’t create a barrier to healing.
We can’t measure progress by leaps and bounds. Sometimes the smallest step forward needs to be celebrated because what might seem to me like a tiny step forward can actually be a massive step for a client.
Therapy isn’t linear. Believe it or not but sometimes in therapy it gets worse before it gets better. Frequently we need to step back to secure our footing before we move forward. Sometimes life gives us lemons or curve balls so why wouldn’t therapy do the same?
As I was learning these things I realized that they are true for everyone I work with. Not just men. People want to be seen as people; not problems. The problems and the issues you are struggling with are what brought you through the (currently virtual) doors. They are a part of your story but they are not the whole story.
If you’re reading this and are ready to make some changes, give me a shout! I’d love to talk more. Go ahead and call into the clinic to connect with me (613-877-4148) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.