Therapy for men
Increasing numbers of men are now making use of psychologists and counsellors to help find ways of making things better. At our Edinburgh centre, we are very experienced in working with men, but we also know how strange and uncomfortable it can be for a man to make contact and book an appointment, and then to come along to talk about difficult issues. We are very used to finding ways of helping make this as easy as possible.
One of the reasons men often find coming for therapy difficult is that men are often taught to deal with things themselves and not to admit ‘weakness’ or emotional upset of any kind. In other words, men are socialised into never asking for help or admitting difficulty, which can be a real problem when things get tough and they need some support to help make things better. Hence many men come to therapy feeling a bit embarrassed, and very often as a very last resort when things are really very bad indeed. Even in such circumstances, it is not uncommon for female partners to make the first appointment – which, of course, is fine so long as the man agrees.
Men experience the same range of difficulties and problems as women although frequently use things like excessive drinking, drug taking, over-work, eating unhealthily, sexual addictions (e.g. significant use of internet pornography) and other risky/self-harming behaviours to deal with unhappiness of one form of another.
Working with men
Although all men are very different in what they want and need from therapy, one of the common themes is a desire to feel the therapeutic process has a specific goal/focus which is agreed and worked toward in a fairly direct way (of course, some men work better with the exact opposite). Cognitive methods (such as CBT techniques) are often popular because they provide this. However, what must also be tackled is the acknowledgement of the difficult feelings, such as low mood or anxiety, that are causing the problem in the first place. This can be a hard and uncomfortable process, but is one we are very experienced in managing and supporting in an open and honest way.
As a centre with many experienced and, perhaps more importantly, many male practitioners, we understand you may have concerns about therapy. We are always very happy to answer specific questions on any issues linked to the above by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or use the contact form on this page.
Lucy Clark, Senior Clinical Psychologist (Online only)