Some problems are not easily fixed and solutions don’t come neatly packaged with Ikea like precision, which of course is debatable anyway!
I have met men who tell themselves they’re weak or a failure if they can’t sort out their problems. For some guys seeking professional help is the ultimate failure.
I know that denying or avoiding the problem becomes exhausting in itself, adding more stress. All that stress builds up and becomes more of a problem than the original problem itself! It’s complicated and easy to see why sometimes it seems simpler to leave it alone.
I speak with men often who are contemplating counselling, are told they need counselling or wanting to avoid it at all costs.
Some men don’t want, need or see the point in ‘touchy feely’ talking to a complete stranger about their problems. Fair enough.
There are many reasons why men don’t seek help. Here are 4.
1. INADEQUACY – When counselling is linked with failure at being unable to fix a problem it can be embarrassing for men to feel inadequate.
2. MISTRUST – The challenge of trusting a complete stranger with their problems can be a huge obstacle. This can tap into men’s need to keep their feelings and thoughts to themselves.
3. LOSS OF POWER – Some men feel threatened by what they perceive as a loss of control over their lives. The experience of powerlessness or helplessness can be hard to accept.
4. EMOTIONS AS WEAKNESS – Men may feel confronted by the opportunity to explore their internal world. Experiencing emotions such as fear, hurt, and sadness are seen as signs of weakness.
Now, needless to say, I am little biased in my thinking. A big part of my job is normalising the counselling process by promoting it as a valuable part of personal growth. If you are still reading, (that’s good!) take a look at what it is that really helps.
1. RELIEF AND UNDERSTANDING – Counsellors understand and accept the feelings of fear, failure, and mistrust associated with stepping into the world of talking with a stranger. We are human beings after all! Fear is a very human but sometimes irrational feeling.
Meeting with someone who ‘gets it’ and normalises your concerns will provide you with huge relief very quickly.
The lightness and relief of unburdening yourself with rarely shared thoughts occurs often within the first session.
2. EDUCATION AND ACTION – Meeting with a counsellor is a significant and responsible action in and of itself. The counselling process is geared toward learning new ways to change.
It’s an action process designed to support movement in people.
3. COURAGE – To learn something more about yourself, in order to lead a better life or have healthy relationships requires the courage to accept your limitations, heal your pain and bounce back up.
4. STRENGTH – Whilst it may seem hard to recognise your strengths in times of crisis, counselling will draw upon your personal strength to find solutions to problems.
Allowing someone to see and hear you is an act of strength in itself.
5. SOLUTIONS – Counselling allows you and your counsellor to identify problem-solving skills that suit you, even though you may find it hard to find the solution initially.
There is a concrete aspect of counselling that means you leave the consultation with something useful.
6. CLARITY – Counsellors are trained to help people look at things in a new way.
Counselling can be as practical as it is emotional.
The counselling conversation is a space to learn new skills in order to make sense of thoughts, feelings and behaviours. When it’s with somebody who is highly trained, skilled and not so caught up in the pressures of your life pretty much anything is possible to fix.
Leave me your thoughts in the comments section below