“Only people who are a real mess go to a therapist.”
“Other people will think I’m weak or crazy”
“Just talking about things isn’t going to do any good.”
“I just need to work harder, pull myself up by my bootstraps.”
Even though therapy has become pervasive in popular culture, the idea of going to therapy is still shrouded in stigma, particularly for men. Here are 4 reasons you should see one anyway:
1. Your significant other told you to.
Just kidding. Sort of. The best reason to see a therapist is, of course, that you see the value of talking with a professional about what you’re going through. Many men are, however, “encouraged” by their significant other to see someone.
Sometimes the people around us can see our struggle more clearly than we can. They see us feeling overwhelmed or powerless, and they feel just as overwhelmed and powerless watching, knowing that professional help could bring about positive change.
2. You need a neutral space to figure out what you want and how to move forward.
Turning to friends and family for support is often helpful but they don’t always embrace the changes you need to make. This may make change more difficult for you. Or it might mean the feedback you receive is filtered through someone else’s agenda.
In therapy, the only agenda is helping you understand what you want and what change needs to occur to get you moving in that direction.
3. You need a neutral observer.
Some issues are easier to work through with someone outside your circle. You might not feel comfortable opening up to friends or family because you don’t want to be judged. Or may you’re concerned hurting your loved ones because some of your problems involve them.
Being able to disclose the full range of what you’re thinking and feeling is a positive benefit of therapy. For many, a problem shared is a problem halved. In addition, being able to create a plan forward with a professional who is able to see the whole picture without judgement is essential in therapy.
4. You need fresh eyes on your problem.
Maybe you’ve been struggling with anxiety, depression, self confidence or anger issues for years and have not been able to make any significant progress. Enter your therapist, who can take a new look at what you’re going through. A therapist with experience has likely worked with people for years with similar issues, which can save you time (and money).
In my office, you can expect a weekly session where you reflect upon the challenges that have arisen, assess what is an is not working, and discuss how to continue making positive changes. This also adds accountability so you can stop treading water and move forward.
In terms of reluctance to reach out for help I often tell clients that real strength lies in a willingness to take an honest look at oneself and see areas of strength and acknowledge where we want to improve. Therapy will help you work through the shame or guilt that comes up by reducing the negative self-talk that gets in the way of making positive change in your life. Embracing this challenging yet incredibly rewarding process of becoming the person you want to be is where true courage and personal strength lies.
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If you have any questions or would like help getting traction with your problems please contact me for a free 15 minute phone consultation.