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Issue 17 Out Now

Why Men Need Therapy

Men have a long history of being unable to express their emotions healthily. Throughout childhood, men are told to be strong and bottle up their feelings. Men avoid working on their repressed emotions, leaving the mind unchecked. Avoiding therapy leads to depression, aggressive behavior, anxiety, and other mental plights.

No matter how you identify, talking about feelings and experiences can make a difference. Therapy can help you tackle overwhelming thoughts and emotions, and opening up can also help you recognize emotional problems that were previously difficult to understand.

Therapy will allow men to reflect on their actions and interactions with people instead of simply pushing past them.

Mental health experts have stated that women have nearly twice the rate of depression diagnoses, while men are much more likely to die by suicide, drug overdose, and alcohol-related deaths. In a study by the CDC in 2022, 15 percent of men reported receiving medication or therapy in the past year, contrasted with 26 percent of women of the same reports.

Men hardly go to therapy, avoiding it out of fear of being weak or soft. Men learn to bottle their emotions from parents, friends, and society. These men typically present themselves as stoic, self-reliant, and overly masculine to hide that they are depressed or in need. The idea of reaching out for help goes against what men are taught as children making it harder for many of them to ask for it.

These men are afraid to seek help and often go through traumatic and damaging life events without talking about them. While women find support in each other, men who try to confide in one another are looked down upon and taunted. If men can’t even talk to who they relate to most, who do they speak to? Their feelings are often kept from their partners until they arise in arguments as aggressive behavior.

To make therapy more approachable to men, many therapists have reworked therapy to become stronger rather than treatment for mental illness or seeking help. The language and approaches used in therapy change when men are involved. Some therapists use humor and lean into things men enjoy to make connections. This rebrand is all to get men to see therapy as a way to strengthen their minds and not a place to divulge weaknesses.

To get even more men to engage in therapy, many organizations have utilized interactive websites that relate to the traditional concepts of masculinity that men hold. These websites educate and reduce the stigma that keeps men from reaching out. They typically have mood checkers and self-help tips, but the unique approach is using humor and masculinity to draw men into therapy.

Using the traditional ideas of masculinity and humor is to get men to start questioning the gender norms and ideals they hold. Showing them that avoiding emotions and life problems is not a sign of strength.

The hardest part of getting men to go to therapy is getting them to stay. Many men show up not willing to engage. They state that someone forced them to be there or participation during the session is nonexistent. With their pride in the way, men don’t realize that they wouldn’t have begun to reach out if they hadn’t chosen to be there. Initially, diving into emotions can be jarring for men, especially when they don’t understand them. Therapists typically ask about their sleep, appetite, and motivation to gauge signs of depression or anxiety.

Men need therapy, or they will keep suffering in silence. Talking about traumatic experiences and emotions can be strenuous. But it will bring relief. A therapist can give you insight into ways to strengthen yourself. Therapy can completely change your life if you allow it to; it can give you new ways to cope and deal with everyday stressors.

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