|What Do Men Reveal In Therapy?
By Sue Roberts, LCSW
Many men want to communicate better, but they need sympathy and encouragement, according to Sue Roberts. Sue, therapist in private practice and longtime OPEN EXCHANGE lister (See our Counseling & Therapy category), shares these candid revelations from male clients:
Men have often told me that therapy benefitted them more than they could have imagined. Even facing very difficult crises, many had not chosen therapy earlier due to ideas about failure, "having someone else do it when I need to do it myself," shame, failure, or fear of losing control. In their own words, here are quotes from men who were pleasantly surprised:
"I got tired of trying to look better and decided to be more together."
"In dealing with people I'm choosing not to follow my urge to 'one up' someone in fear of them 'besting' me. I'm straight-arrow equal, and I get respect."
"I get more space and time to look wider and farther in life situations without someone hurrying me or running their own agenda."
"I do good damage control the earlier I face and deal with the unexpected results of what I think, believe and do. I like fantasy but reality gets my 51% vote."
"I found out I don't have to fix things or give in when I don't want to. I can just listen and negotiate much better without shutting my ears or digging in my heels."
"In my original family, men weren't into 'communicating their feelings with words, but I couldn't rely on other people to accurately interpret my wordless messages! Women talked circles around me. I've learned the power of simply being thoughtful of everyone's wishes and feelings, including my own."
"Escape was my main solution when things got to be problems. I have a much better time after I learned to show up and hang with what is happeningeven when I'm uncomfortable."
"Same as above, only with drugs and alcohol."
"When my partner and I have a misunderstanding or disagreement, we don't yell and slam doors so much. We try to help each other find out what's really going on underneath for each of us. If we need drama we find it some other way."
"I get to really know what makes me scared, glad, mad and sad. I get to have an honest, private conversation just with myself about what to do about all that."
"I have someone reliable who's on my side. My therapist is an advocate for my happiness and success and can point out potholes from a different angle. I can disagree with her without hurting her feelings, and she can inform me about my blind spots without me getting bent out of shape."
"I compared how men relate to each other in the USA to how men in other cultures connect, and I realized that I was accidentally programmed for loneliness that wasn't fair or natural."
"Some secret things happened to me as a kid that still affect how I take or deal with things. I wanted to get over these awfuls."
"I got trapped in my own BS and stories that I got others to believe. I had to either rely more on the naivete of myself and others, or come to earth and face the music. I had to somehow get real, join the human race.
"I used to think I was the main support of my family, but now with my wife there is double support."
"I used to be so seriousnow I'm fun to be with, even for myself. So much of life is amusing when you know you've been through it, too!"
Therapy helps us complete ourselves and find our rightful places each moment. Knowing the triggers of our gut reactions, and how we've defined and colored our experiences, we can seek the deeper truth as a friend and guide. With this strength and patience, solutions reveal themselves.
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