Men’s counselling conversations focus on many themes and tools.
We don’t always have the tools to fix our lives by ourselves .
Men in particular have many obstacles to seeking counselling help.
A full description of these obstacles can be found here.
Many men do enter counselling and will sit and talk about a variety of themes.
Here are 8 examples.
Men’s apprehension is normalised immediately in counselling. Men’s Counselling is designed to ensure guys feel comfortable to talk about themselves.
Men set the agenda. It’s on their terms.
Guys overcome their nerves and embarrassment quite rapidly in comfortable chairs in discreet environments.
Many men are tired of fighting, avoiding, denying or holding on too tightly to thoughts and feelings.
The exertion of mental and physical energy to contain an overwhelmed mind can be exhausting.
Because of their silence guys carry the weight of stress firmly in their metaphorical backpack. It get’s pretty heavy!
Counselling provides the physical space, time and permission to bring their baggage into a session. They are invited to put it down for an hour and lighten the load.
This can be a surprisingly relaxing and calming experience.
Anger management is common for men. Their struggle to cope with a spectrum of issues often manifests in mild irritability, aggression, anger and rage.
Counselling quickly focuses on control and regulation of extreme levels of anger.
This is the starting point.
Anger is often a secondary response to other feelings that men struggle to identify or even accept. Lowering the intensity of anger creates safety to recognise what else is going on underneath.
Counselling focuses on guiding men to be better at recognising and accepting other feelings.
Releasing the trap
Some men find expressing why they are unhappy a complicated task. Many guys feel stuck and trapped.
Other feelings that accompany this sense of being trapped include:
- Taken for granted
- Going through the motions
Counselling is a shared task between a man and his counsellor. One collective aim is to name and describe a variety of feelings.
This curious shared enquiry takes place in an atmosphere of acceptance, encouragement, empathy and support. It provides a sense of relief for men. The power of this kind of interaction helps to release the experience of feeling trapped.
Alcohol flows through the river of pain for many guys. (Sounds like the beginning of a poem!)
Drinking to wind down with mates after work or having a glass or two of red with dinner every night are normal ways people socialise and connect.
However, many guys use alcohol to handle their emotional life.
When alcohol becomes the most habitual way of defusing a bad day at work, dealing with stress, conflict or coping with traumatic events it has negative affects on the brain.
Counselling is a useful psycho-educational process. It examines new ways to cope and how alcohol affects our lives. A useful start for men is setting limits on alcohol consumption but to re-define self-care.
Having a beer or a glass of red is not a self-care activity. It’s a social activity and relatively harmless in moderation.
Recent studies are finding that alcohol consumption limits the brains capacity for empathy and reading emotional cues!
Men can be excellent at helping their partner, friend or colleague. If it’s not listening, it’s doing something for people.
Directing conversations towards someone else’s needs is a wonderful way of supporting people. However, it can become a distraction from showing up and sharing in a relationship or friendship. It keeps vulnerability away.
Men get tired, frustrated and resentful towards their partners, friends and colleagues in part because they get so used to flicking the attention away from themselves.
Blokes tend to focus on a lack of sex as being the major intimacy problem. In reality it’s a combination of emotional closeness and physical intimacy that creates conflict.
Counselling supports men to be less blaming of self or others when their needs are not being met. It also defines true intimacy as opening up enough to receive the care and love from others. Understanding a man’s blocks to true intimacy is a significant stepping stone towards change.
The men’s counselling space cultivates this openness for men to get comfortable in sharing themselves in a trusting and safe interaction. They learn to be more open.
Men can then be coached into bringing these skills and styles of communicating into their relationships.
Men tend to experience stress physically before they feel it emotionally. Physical pain or ill health can be the first signs of stress.
Headaches, stomach complaints, muscle soreness, high blood pressure and heart disease are some of the common physical ailments that have stress components.
Emotionally men experience irritability, aggression or anger as signs of stress combined with behaviour changes such as withdrawing from routine activities, excessive gambling, drinking, drug use, and long work hours.
Counselling helps men to identify their signs of stress but most importantly teaches men about healthy self-care.
Men struggle to accept their inadequacies and lose confidence and self-esteem when they feel incompetent. Men carry a lot of shame about this.
They try there hardest to hide their lack of confidence or self esteem and certainly avoid talking about it.
Counselling sessions enable men to recognise how normal it is to lose confidence when life gets harder than they imagined.
Compassion, care and conversation are the remedies for painful experiences. Counselling becomes a private stage to practice these values in order to rediscover self.