7 Men’s Issues for Counseling Men
I specialize in individual counseling with men in St Cloud, MN. Working with a counseling therapist who understands men’s issues is more helpful than engaging in therapy with a therapist who has more difficulty understanding your perspective. Men typically are reluctant to work with a talk therapist. The men I have counseled often come into therapy bracing themselves for the dreaded question that they assume all counselors of psychology are bound to ask, “How does that make you feel?” It is not a question that I ask.
It Isn’t Just About Your Feelings
There is more to working with a counseling therapist than talking about your feelings. In addition to the emotional ways of experiencing the world, we also have our thoughts, our wants, our beliefs, our actions and our inactions. All are vital to clearly understanding where we are today and the direction we might take for our future. Our emotions are a significant part of the mix too, and we explore how they relate to the ways we have experienced difficulties in our past. Our emotional feelings give us insights into orienting us towards an ideal direction in our future. The point here is that talking about our feelings is not always the central aspect of counseling therapy.
Young Man Walking On a BeachTo change disempowering patterns in your life, I seek to understand the root contributing factors to problems you may be having in your life in the areas of intimacy, anger and misunderstood communications.
1. Deciding whether or not to Stay in Your Marriage or Romantic Relationship
I help men gain insight and perspective when their current marriage or romantic partnership is no longer working happily. Men have sought me out to gain clarity before they decide to stay or part ways with their significant other or spouse.
How Counselor Therapists Decide On Individual vs. Couples Counseling
If, after the 1st session, a man wishes to pursue couples counseling utilizing me as the counselor, we will first see if his wife or romantic partner might have another choice. If not, I will meet with her individually for a good part of the next session. When bringing both together in my St Cloud, MN counseling office, I will share some of what each talked about, as doing so is in couples counseling promotes transparency.
On the other hand, when a man is not confident after the first session that he wishes to pursue couples counseling, he will remain my client on an individual basis. Should he and his mate want to seek couples counseling at a later time, it will be with another marriage therapist; I will not be their marriage counselor.
2. Relationship Connection as Emotional Intimacy
Do you find it difficult to connect to your mate, your kids or other significant people in your life? Have you been told that you are “distant,” or heard similar words that imply that your level of care and connection is lacking and falling short of meeting the emotional needs of your loved ones? Feedback along these lines is a common men’s issues that can improve over time with talk therapy.
Cultural & Family Beliefs About Masculinity Can Be Rigid
What often is behind a man’s difficulty with emotionally connecting with others are cultural beliefs about masculinity. Those beliefs may be stereotypical and overly rigid. In what ways might your own cultural and family’s beliefs be affecting your success in connecting more closely and effectively with your loved ones? As an adult, you have the opportunity, and personal responsibility, to identify those beliefs and decide which ones serve you and which ones do not serve you, your mate, your kids, your parents or other people who are central to your life.
Beliefs Installed Since Childhood vs. Beliefs that You Consciously Choose
The therapy process for increasing relationship connection entails sifting through your current installed beliefs and to identify disempowering those ways of thinking and believing. As you let go of overly rigid beliefs, you create room to choose different ideas that make the best sense to you now as a thinking adult. Doing so leads to a much happier life that is connected more deeply to your loved ones rather than continuing to allow unexamined beliefs installed in you as a child to rule your life.
3. Satisfying Sexual Intimacy by Letting Go of Performance Anxiety
Performance anxiety can be an aspect of overall anxiety. Men can have too much of their awareness in their mental processes monitoring how they are performing sexually rather than letting go of their thinking process concerns and simply enjoying the physical experience of sexual intimacy and connection with their sex partner.
Perfectionism, Anxiety & Sexual Challenges for Men
Because I am not trained as a sex therapist, I refer people to their medical professionals or a sex therapy specialist in cases of more deep-seated difficulties of impotence. Many times impotency can be successfully addressed by working with the man’s tendency towards perfectionism. Over-concern with sexual performance is a symptom of too much of the man’s energy being deployed in his thoughts. Not enough energy or awareness is left for him to tune into his romantic partner and simply relax into the pleasure of physical sexual sensation.
Sexual Difficulties are More Commonly Contributed to by Mental Processes
In other words, sexual difficulties, in the absence of physical barriers or more deep-seated sexually specific problems, have less to do with serious sexual dysfunction than with how a man manages his awareness and energy. It also has a great deal to do with more overall beliefs in perfection as an ideal that must be pursued. As we examine a man’s unproductive allegiance to perfection, men can arrive at a new understanding of the many situations in life where pursuing some ideal is not productive. By letting go of thinking about sexual performance in the bedroom, while engaged in sex, impotence difficulties may resolve.
4. Learn How to Manage Anger In Your Life
Are you frequently upset and find yourself frustrated and angry? Is anger damaging your relationships? I have an approach to anger management that helps you to fundamentally change habitual patterns of anger. In therapy, we will explore the valid and perhaps less valid triggers to your anger. You will learn ways to express what is important to you more skillfully without having to become triggered by anger reactions. For more information on reducing instances of getting mad, please see our page on bettering your life through Anger Management.
5. Easier & Clearer Communication
Men often feel “outclassed” by women in the arena of communications. This does not have to remain so. You can gain some easy-to-learn ways of enhancing your communication skills through counseling. This is a very common men’s issue that can improve quite quickly with coaching and counseling therapy. I have helped men to learn new communication skills that allowed them to significantly improve their connection to their mates, their friends, their family members and their work associates.
Because this is individual therapy, (although I also help men with their communication skills when they are in couples counseling), the skills identified and ways of working with those communication tools are specific to you and not generic.
6. What is Midlife Transition for Men?
It is common for men who are growing in awareness to begin to feel uncertain of their current life direction. Midlife transition, (often referred to as a midlife crisis), most often occurs between a man’s mid to late 30’s and mid to late 40’s. When a midlife transition is not recognized and thoughtfully addressed it can take the form of a more stereotypical midlife crisis.
You may have seen the crisis kind happen with others. The man may suddenly ditch his wife and family as a result of entering into an affair. There is is a new sports car or motorcycle. His new romantic fling is almost always a lot younger. Moreover, all of it ends rather quickly. What remains is shattered relationships. The man who went down the path of a midlife crisis can be left feeling more isolated and lonely compared to a man who can enter into a more thoughtful mid-life transition.
For most men, it begins with a sense that their career success, financial progress as well as their current romantic partnership and family success are no longer giving them as much of a feeling of satisfaction and happiness. It is like something is missing but without a strong sense of what exactly it is that they feel a lack of in their life.
For many men, it is a time of uncertainty that can be summed up in an expression I heard from my career mentor, Kirk Lamb, Ph.D. He said mid-life often is like this: “I climbed the ladder of success only to find that when I got to the top, it was leaning against the wrong building.”
We may have already achieved a successful middle-class or even upper middle-class life, but it no longer feels like it is enough. In a man’s efforts to escape this empty feeling, he may, like many men, work very long and hard to increase the size of his financial house dedicating himself to achieving his next level up into upper-middle-class life or even into a life of wealth. For a time, this pursuit may distract a man from his troubling inner feelings.
However, for most men, this “having even more” approach does not fill the emptiness that they feel inside. More often, it is something else that is calling. More prestige, wealth and lavish material things still fail to satisfy.
What is calling men from their emptiness is comes from the inside, not the outside world.
That “something” calling from within a man’s inner depth is his creative forces. Those forces could be the more artistic or entrepreneurial aspects of his being. Those creative forces perhaps have been underutilized or have even been wholly unrecognized up until the time of a man’s midlife. Working effectively with midlife transition involves getting in touch with those aspects of a man’s life and curiously exploring the specific creative interests that he wishes to develop.
There is one more critical component of mid-life transition. It is our mortality and the certainty that death will come for us too. The worst that can happen ultimately does happen to all of us. Since none of us escapes from growing older or remains alive without dying, why play such a conservative game?
During the time of mid-life, men commonly have an awakening that can motivate them to reorganize their lives in creative and unanticipated ways. In essence, our impending death advises us on what is truly important for living our lives with a deeper meaning based on discovering what is critically important for us in the second part of our lives.
In my counseling work with men’s midlife issues, I help my male clients take a critical look at their present careers and options for new careers. As a result of career exploration, men often stay in their current career and job for the time being. When that is the case, men commonly use after-work time to take up new hobbies and explore interests that were important at an earlier time in their lives. A man’s hobbies or personal passions may eventually grow into a side business.
On the other hand, It is also common for the men that I counsel choose to take up a new career. Within a counseling therapy session, men discuss the full range of career options available to them and how those options fulfill them internally.
I do a good deal of career consulting and executive coaching, so we can explore the practical consideration of making a career change as well as the more internal factors. Through counseling therapy, men can strategically navigate through midlife with increased “life meaning,” and greater certainty for arriving at a more fulfilled second half of life.
Please contact me for a “no cost” phone consult to ask any questions about what it might be like to work together in my Chandler Counseling & Consulting – St Cloud, MN office. 320-223-9481 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that I also work with clients in Minnesota for counseling therapy or nationally for life and executive coaching via video conferencing.
Richard Chandler, MA, LPC