Therapy for Men's Health
My work with men, includes the mental, emotional, and spiritual growth and development of men, their partners, and families. Masculinity can be a tricky perception. The assignment of gender roles by society, and the reinforcement by family, friends, partners, and mass media, teach us how to respond in social situations, and gain perceived approval of male peers. The problem comes when one doesn't identify with the strict norm or expectations of what a "masculine" man is supposed to be. You may find yourself compromising who you are in some way, in order to fit in, or avoid the vulnerable feeling of not being accepted. For some this avoidance of vulnerability is very covert, lurking behind a stoick or aggressive posture. For others, this avoidance may be overtly out in the open. As humans, much of our avoidance of vulnerability is rooted in the fear of loss or rejection. For our ancient ancestors, to be rejected from the tribe was as good as death. In the present world, rejection doesn't look the same, nor does it carry as severe of a consequence. Isn't it interesting that we often protect ourselves from the potential for rejection or disapproval, as if it's a permanent loss? What's more interesting, is that this protection, or guard, can be one of the contributing factors in creating the problem; a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I work with many guys who don't recognize themselves anymore; who feel out of touch with who they know themselves to really be. In hindsight, you may ask yourself why you said something so hurtful, acted so insensitively, or thought so intently about causing pain to someone who made you feel uncomfortable. As men, we benefit from learning from our experience, how our experience influences us and impacts others, and how to best navigate our experience to achieve the life we want.
Depression, Anxiety, & Mental Health The fact is, depression, anxiety, and other mental/emotional experiences know no boundary of gender. They affect all of us without discrimination. However, the ways in which we process, experience, and present these experiences may differ, based on genetics, hormones, societal cues, and learned gender roles and expectations. As you may have noticed in your own life, men are often discouraged from showing what's known as softer emotions or intentionally being vulnerable in any way. The fear of being perceived as weak or undesirable takes precedence as a powerful deterrent for many men. These expectations lead to, and reinforce, stereotypes of what the "man's man" is supposed to look like, which, in turn, influences how we experience ranges of emotion and mood, including depression and anxiety.
Terry Real (1998) has published his work on covert and overt depression in men, noting the very important and very real presence and distinction between repressed emotion in men, and the manifestation of anger and aggression as a surface symptom of such repression. In our work together, I create a safe space for you to explore emotion, gender, expectations, and overall lived experience. These experiences may seem uncomfortable, or even frightening at first. That's to be expected with most new experiences, especially powerful ones. Healing happens when we give space for, and listen to, our inner experiences. Only then, can we understand them, learn to navigate them, and control their influence in our daily functioning.
Relationships, Marriage, & Divorce
Allow me to normalize that relatioships are difficult. Healthy relationships are worth it. Toxic relationships are worth finding resolution. Whether working on the attachment between you, or accepting that you are good people, just not good together, you may have noticed that something doesn't feel right, and needs adjusting. I am very honest with men who come to therapy for relationship struggles. This process requires self-exploration, acceptance, vulnerability, and courage. Before any of us can point figers at our partners, we must first look at ourselves and get curious. What drew me to this person? How are we working together as a unit? How do I contribute to both positive and toxic attributes of our relationship?
If you're feeling stuck, or notice struggles in your relationship that don't seem to go away, it's time to identify the roots of the issue, establish what you and your partner want for your relationship, and map a path for how to get there. Everyone deserves to be happy, and we all carry emotional baggage into relationships. My approach is to help you identify your baggage, gain awareness to how it impacts your relationship, and learn ways to navigage the baggage so that it's presence doesn't define you or your relationship.