The old days of men feeling like they need to be the “strong, silent” type to be “manly” are long gone, thankfully, left way back in the 50s with non-ironic fedoras and poodle skirts.
Today, men are starting to realize making sure their mental health is on point is important to their overall enjoyment of life as well as their professional, athletic, and personal performance. More than 11% of men in the U.S. see therapists to deal with issues like job stress, marital issues, mood disorders, depression, anxiety, and more.
That’s all great news, but we still see some men that are hesitant to see a therapist for their mental health issues. With all the great benefits of seeing a therapist for men, it just makes good sense for men to keep their mental health at peak performance by bringing in professional help. Just like an athlete hires a coach and a CEO works with a mentor, any man can work with a therapist to improve their own mental health.
It’s human to need help
Men are still less likely than women to seek out therapy, and that’s something we personally here at Dr. Ditzell Psychology in New York City would like to change. Once upon a time, it wasn’t considered “manly” to ask for help from a therapist. But needing help is human. We are social animals, and every healthy, happy human being needs to lean on others in times of need. That is the quintessential keystone of being a social animal – we need each other to thrive.
Why men seek therapy
Men seek therapy for all the same reasons as women do: substance abuse issues, professional stress, trauma, PTSD, anxiety, depression, abuse, childhood history or physical or sexual abuse, etc. Though they typically seek help for these issues less often than women, they actually experience those issues at the same or greater rates.
Why men don’t seek therapy
Ronald F. Levany, EdD, of Nova Southeastern University, has coined the term “normative male alexithymia” to describe one theory as to why men are more reluctant to seek therapy – an inability to feel or describe their emotions. Of course, men have all the emotions that women have, but they’re more likely to avoid feeling them deeply and may not be able to express them because they simply lack the words to do so.
Of course, there are lots of reasons that men don’t see therapy. A culture of “boys don’t cry” and “walk it off” has taught men from a very young age that their feeling don’t matter. So, as grown men, it takes a ground shift to realize that, in fact, their feelings are important, do matter, and have every right to be expressed.
Benefits of seeing a therapist for men
There’s a lot more to therapy than just talking about your feelings. There are real benefits to seeing a therapist that makes a tremendous difference in a man’s personal or professional life.
1. Therapy can help you achieve more professionally
Think about the most successful people you know – the really big hitters, the disruptors, kings of industry. You know them because they’ve maximized their talents and their contribution to the world. We can’t say for sure whether or not they all did it in therapy, but we do know the top leaders, CEOs, and tech giants regularly work with mentors, coaches, and teachers who help them that fine-tune their mental and emotional processes. They’re masters of human optimization.
While therapy won’t necessarily turn you into Tony Stark, it can help you get to the root of thinking patterns, patterns of behavior, trauma, and more that are holding you back professionally. Whether it’s a lack of confidence to take the necessary risks in your career, anxiety that keeps you from speaking up and getting that promotion, or something else, your mental health affects your professional performance!
When you see a therapist regularly, you can work through the issues that are restricting your career, optimizing your own human potential.
2. Therapy helps with your love life
Do you find yourself dating the same wrong people over and over again, with just the names and faces changed? Struggling with problems that keep people just out of arms’ reach, like the inability to communicate or attachment issues? You’re not unlucky. You’re not unlovable. You’ve probably just got some deep-seated issues leftover from earlier in your life that is having an unwelcome impact on your current effectiveness in relationships.
It is absolutely possible to build better beliefs and thought patterns around relationships, which create more healthy relationships in your life. You are the sum of what has happened to you, what you’ve been taught, and what you’ve seen throughout your lifetime. If that’s not delivering the healthy, loving, happy relationships you desire, therapy can help you do something about it.
And did we mention, ED is often caused by anxiety and depression? Addressing your mood issues in therapy can help you achieve and maintain better erections, too.
3. You won’t need to self-medicate anymore
After-work drinks lead to evening drinks and morning hangovers. One-night stands provide a couple of hours of fun and many days of disappointment. Gambling debts eventually suck all the thrill out of the game. There are so many ways that we self-medicate when something is bothering us that we don’t have the tools to address. A “little something” like a drink, a stranger in a bar, another random purchase on a maxed-out credit card – they all serve to provide a moment of relief in a lifetime of pain.
But that’s no way to live. And you shouldn’t have to.
When you see a therapist on a regular basis, your therapist can help you work through the underlying pain, stressors, trauma, and negative feelings that are driving you to self-medicate. Imagine what it would feel like to not NEED that after-work drink or 5 more minutes on an erotic website – of being in control of your desires, rather than having them control you. Therapy can help you achieve that freedom.
Men’s mental health treatment in New York City
Dr. Ditzell’s psychiatry practice in New York City serves countless New York men. Whatever you’re struggling with, from job stress to relationship issues to substance abuse or just the everyday struggles of life, our office is here to help you optimize your human potential and become the best version of yourself. Schedule your appointment today, and make the first step toward your new healthy life.