I've been having some trouble sleeping the past few months. I feel like my brain isn't working. My wife says I've been a little cranky lately. I've been drinking a little more than I'd like. I've been getting a lot of headaches. I'm tired all the time. I just feel overwhelmed by the littlest things. My emotions have been all over the place...
These are some of the things I frequently hear when men come in for the first time. More often than not they've been experiencing a combination of these complaints for quite a while. One of the things I've learned as a psychologist specializing in the treatment of men and adolescent males over the past 12 years is that there is often a reluctance to seek help. Males are raised to be tough and self-reliant. Discussing problems can be seen as admitting weakness. Well here is something else I've learned - - the men I see are extremely courageous and benefit greatly from therapy.
refers to a specialty focus concerning the gender-related psychology of men and the issues that confront them during their lives. It stresses that men are, in fact, different from women with respect to the way they experience, process and deal with emotionally charged events. These differences may be related to:
· physiology and the male brain
· gender role expectations
· communication styles
· all of the above
Given these differences, it only makes sense that the therapeutic experience for men and young men should be tailored uniquely to their needs and strengths. Within a safe and supportive environment, therapy with men is more likely to be effective if it is direct and action oriented. Men can learn how to identify and express a broader range of emotion without feeling emasculated. Emotional health for men is being able to accept their emotionality and communicate it effectively in a manner that is consistent with an image of strength and competence.
Nothing is braver than to acknowledge that we are frightened (or sad, or lonely...) and work towards facing that fear. As Nelson Mandela put it, “courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Therapy can help men face and conquer all kinds of challenges.
See Dr. Temple interviewed on ABC7 News by Leah Hope about the stress men face in today's challenging economy:
Men frequently experience stress physically. The following link provides a helpful and interactive illustration: