You’ve likely tried all you can think of to solve these problems and more. You’ve worked hard at that, and have become frustrated, maybe even hopeless. If so, I’d encourage you to not give up just yet.
I like to highlight my work with men for one simple reason. Men tend to under-use counseling compared to women. This does not mean that men struggle with mental illness less than women. It means that lots of men aren’t receiving help even though they need it.
For a lot of men, counseling can seem very distasteful. We’re often taught from a young age that expressing feelings is a sign of weakness. In our society, asking for help for your problems has historically been seen as a “woman’s thing.” Men have been told to “man up.” In fact, I’ve had many male clients who were court-ordered, girlfriend-pressured, or otherwise coerced into coming to my office who complain that counseling is useless. They believe talking about their problems won’t change anything.
If you’re feeling that way about counseling, you’re not alone. It’s ok feel hesitant about coming into counseling like so many men I’ve seen.
Another thing that many of those men I’ve seen had in common was this: once they gave it a try, they found they liked counseling. In fact, participating in counseling transformed their lives in ways they couldn’t imagine before.
The truth is that men can benefit from counseling just as much as any female. If you are willing to come in and do the work of counseling, it can help you reach your goals for your career, relationships and happiness. Counseling can help with lots of problems, including:
Most men have a lot of pressure on them. Whether it is from partners, friends, coworkers, family members, even society itself. You interpret that there is a certain image out there you have to fit into as a man. Feeling like you don't live up to the expectations of yourself and others is hard. It can be very challenging to still feel good about yourself, to feel that you are worthwhile, and to feel “like a man.” As a male counselor, I understand this and can help you find a way to be comfortable and confident while also embracing who you are as a man.
As men, we’re taught to ignore our emotions and suppress them. This often leads to them building up and coming out in ways we don't intend. This can mean blowing up over something small without meaning to. Or can mean attempting to “turn off” these feelings by using alcohol, drugs, sex, or other potentially-risky behaviors. Unfortunately this usually intensifies feelings of guilt, shame, and self-directed anger.
Intimacy can be a challenging subject for a lot of men. In fact, it’s something we often avoid talking about. Because we don’t usually know how to express emotions well, we can often feel disconnected from others.
The truth is, I’ve never met a man who didn’t want friends and relationships. However, creating and maintaining relationships can be difficult. When you don’t know what your emotional needs are (or don’t know that you even have emotional needs in the first place!) those needs get neglected, leading to feelings of being unappreciated and unloved. Intimacy can be uncomfortable and scary for anyone, regardless of gender. That fear or discomfort drives distance between you and the people that you like and love the most.
Anger is one of the few emotions that men feel able to express. This may be because anger and violence feel more powerful and less vulnerable than other emotions. Or it may be because anger is easier to express and harder to control. This is not to say that anger isn’t a valid human emotion. It is, and you have a right to feel angry at times. Yet, it can be a dangerous emotion to put in the driver’s seat with no supervision.
Often we fail not through a lack of effort but from a lack of understanding due to our own limited perspective. You only know what you know (obviously!) and sometimes what you don’t know is where the problem lies. Part of my job as your counselor will be to offer a fresh take on your situation. This will help you see solutions that you’ve missed, options that you didn’t realize were there, and ways of thinking that don’t come naturally to you.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy uses mindfulness and meditation based practices. These help you learn how to manage your emotions. Through identifying your values and goals we work together to help you live a life aligned with them. You don’t have to be controlled by anger or lack the intimacy and comfort you need. You can begin to live a full life through counseling at Gray Matters in Tulsa, OK.
You can find a way forward from letting your emotions control you. You can have successful relationships and connect to people on a deeper level. To begin therapy at Gray Matters, follow these three simple steps:
Gain support, guidance and insight through counseling
Begin finding your internal strength and being the best version of yourself
I work with a wide variety of clients in my Tulsa based counseling office. Whether you are seeking depression counseling, anxiety treatment, LGBT counseling or young adult therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy can help you move forward. You don’t have to go through life’s difficulties alone.