From my experience as a male counsellor in Vancouver, BC giving counselling to men from all walks of life across BC and Canada I have noticed that guys often feel more comfortable with a male therapist. Many guys feel that there are some things that only another man can understand, such as the relationship between father and son.
Fathers and sons all too often get into a pattern of not talking about what is bothering them in their relationship with each other. They keep silent and turn their focus on external goals. A sense of distance and feelings of emptiness can come up over time, and also regret from not addressing (or knowing how to) broach the subject causing a sense of emptiness from the distance in the relationship. This is just one of the many examples of why men tend to want a male counsellor so they feel more understood from real lived experience.
Some other common challenges that guys come to get help with are for greater self-understanding, managing anger, and dealing with past emotional baggage from past experiences that still affects the present in how they feel, see things, and react.
What would it be like to be able to understand and manage anger better, to learn how to relate in a healthier and more authentic way with the people you care about? The elephant in the room for many men is ‘how do I deal with my own issues so that I can actualize my potential, be more confident, and have healthy relationships. And, how do I not pass my issues on to my children or otherwise negatively impact the people I love’.
Living a life based on your beliefs and needs in the present instead of the past where you feel authentic compassion for yourself and others can seem like a thousand pounds off your shoulders. You no longer need to be a martyr in your life. What would it feel like to be seen, heard, understood, cared about, and helped? Do you need to be an island anymore? Was it necessary in the past? Is it needed now, or can you break out of your past protective shell to a better life now?
Everyone is impacted by negative past experiences. It seems that many men do not reach out for help because they don’t think it’s possible to be helped, or they don’t feel comfortable with a female therapist, or just the idea of therapy as it’s portrayed in the movies is not appealing. What many men have found helpful at my practice is an approach that is tailored for each individual guy by connecting with and repairing the common human aspects we all share in the layers of emotion, the tendencies of the mind, and the limiting beliefs that keep people in a rut.
I see the unique needs and strengths of each of the men I help. For some, we might focus on skills, and others we may delve into the past and bridge that to what you are wanting your experience in life to be now and in the future. A future focus can help give direction to what you want instead of only fixing ‘old’ problems.
A helpful way to see counselling is as personal growth. How can you improve your life? If life is a sport, would you seek out the assistance of a specialist to give you an edge for your game? Many men find this reframe helpful as it makes the goal enhancing life instead of only fixing problems. Feel free to go to our booking calendar by clicking the “Book Appointment” icon in the header of the menu to connect with one of our great counsellors at Wellspring.
Alistair Gordon, MA, RCC, CCC
Registered Clinical Counsellor
Wellspring Counselling Inc.