It doesn’t take a lot of research to find that most men would rather go to the dentist than the therapist. However, there is plenty of research out there that tells us why. The primary reason is that traditional therapy models don’t meet the requirements for the cultural definition of masculinity. Many men grow up with the idea that they are supposed to be self-reliant, non-emotional, and in charge. “Big boys don’t cry,” you know.
While this is a generalization of masculinity, there is also a generalization of what should be expected from therapy as well. Most men believe that therapy involves sharing your deepest, darkest emotions or wounds and crying a lot. This sounds like the opposite of fun for a guy that just came from the boardroom or out from under the hood of a car.
So there’s the problem — Men don’t like therapy, and many therapists don’t know how to work with men. That doesn’t change the reality that men struggle with mental health and relationship issues as much if not more than women. Many of these issues could be addressed through counseling if men can only find their way to the office.
I didn’t set out to specialize in working with men in therapy, it just kind of happened. I started seeing more and more guys calling me because they wanted a male therapist. For whatever reason, they or their spouses felt that a male therapist would make therapy more acceptable to them so I ended up seeing a lot of guys both individually and in couples and family work. This forced me to become proficient in the intricacies of working with men in counseling.
I’ve worked with CEOs, pastors, oil-field workers, and first responders. From the guy that kept getting grease on my furniture to the doctor that wore boots that cost more than my first car, I’ve had the opportunity to help men achieve the goals they set for themselves and their relationships. Whatever the issue, don’t let what you think you know about counseling keep you from getting the help you need.