See the link at the bottom to hear Dr. Post discussing Men's Issue
Q. What are “men’s issues” and how can you help?
A. Cultural norms about men’s identity are ever-changing. As a result, the pressure that men feel about how to be in the world is confusing. Giving men a safe place to sort out how they’re feeling about all these issues is very important. This could include connecting with others and learning how to form and maintain friendships.
Some men have an old roadmap from their parents that may no longer apply to them, and yet they have may modeled themselves after their parents unwittingly and unconsciously. This can be both beneficial and harmful. Sometimes, what their partners want from them and what the expectations are about being partners and fathers is quite different than the previous generation. Therapy helps men pivot away from patterns that are not healthy for them or that they don’t agree with while choosing some aspects of upbringing that are in keeping with how they see themselves. Many men continue, over generations, to struggle with identifying their feelings and expressing them appropriately.
Q. My husband has no friends outside of work. I’m worried about what will happen to his social life when he retires. Can therapy help men learn how to make friends later in life?
A. Sometimes women want things for their partners that their partners don’t feel they need. This may be an issue for the couple to verbalize and clarify so that each partner understands the feelings of their partner.
Some men don’t feel a need for many friends. On the other hand, there are men who are quietly lonely and don’t have tools to address their loneliness. If a man feels lonely, therapy can help him connect with his feelings as well as help him strengthen his social skills outside of a work setting. Some men look to their partner for all of their social needs, and therapy can teach men how to connect with others. Therapy helps the individual issues and related couples’ issues and helps couples find healthy, empathic ways to talk about these struggles.
Q. I was raised to believe that therapy is for the weak, but ignoring my feelings isn’t helping me resolve issues with which I’m struggling. Do “real men” seek therapy?
A. Men have not been socialized to express feelings, so they struggle with feeling that it’s OK to have them. When men struggle with emotions, which come from PTSD, abuse, depression, anxiety and other mental health challenges, some feel uncomfortable seeking therapy because it conflicts with their perception of masculinity. While it has become more socially acceptable for men to seek therapy, some men still frown on it. Those who do seek support often report that their self-awareness, relationships and quality of life are improved.