Although emotions are a natural part of the human condition, many men have no idea where to start when trying to verbally or even nonverbally communicate emotions. This is because in American culture, men are not socialized to identify or communicate their emotions and at times are discouraged from experiencing emotions altogether. Often, the only emotion that men are allowed to and even encouraged to express is anger. This shame and aversion to emotions that is built into our culture encourages men to keep their feelings to themselves.
By continuing to ignore or suppress your emotions, you will continue to keep others at an arm’s distance. Believe it or not, research has found that having a healthy relationship with emotions is linked with an increased sense of well-being, physical health, stronger relationships, and decreased substance abuse. If nothing else, having a healthy relationship with your emotions will help you make sense of your partner’s emotions, instead of dismissing their behavior as irrational or stupid.
Men who are in therapy (counseling, treatment, seeing a shrink — I'm cool with whatever label you want) can work on issues in a number of different areas:
- Learning techniques for stress relief
- Finding out why you’re so pissed off all the time
- Reducing the fear that you’re being taken advantage of
- Becoming more assertive, at work and at home
In your relationships:
- Having a deeper connection with your partner
- Having a more enjoyable sex life, whether you're partnered or single
- Taking care of YOUR needs—which you were taught was selfish, but can be a positive thing
With your kids:
- Having more fun with your children
- Being the role model for your kids that you want to be
- Learning that showing your emotions to your kids can be one of the strongest things you can do
- Understanding that you don’t have to be your father—or you can take his best qualities and discard what you didn’t like
How does this work? Well, counseling isn’t just about talking about your feelings. It’s about looking at your reactions to situations. Exploring and examining what’s behind them—especially if you’re not happy with them. Maybe you’re seeking this out on your own. Maybe a partner has been telling you that you could benefit from counseling. Maybe issues that are beginning to creep into the work place and your boss or HR has been talking to you about getting some help. Counseling could help and it may not be as scary as you think.
Why Talk to Me?
Well first of all, I’m a guy.
It may just be easier for you to talk to another man. And not one of your buddies or someone who might use your stuff to “bust your balls” later. As a guy I know first-hand the stress we face. I've done the work myself and it wasn't easy to sit across from someone else and talk about all the things I worked so hard to hide. But just letting some of it out to someone who was not in my family or group of friends was a huge relief. I’ve successfully worked with single guys, married men, gay and straight men, men who are angry, "nice guys” who just can’t seem to get ahead. These men are fathers, sons, brothers, husbands, and boyfriends. Now I'm ready help you out.