The recent idea of "men's therapy" is based on the idea that men face different challenges, and respond to their environment in different ways from women. This idea certainly has some validity: men suffer different levels of anxiety and depression from women, for example. Men also experience different expectations in their lives.
Did you know? Suicide is over three times more likely in men than women in Ontario.
Rumours that men generally speak less than women are unfounded. According to the research, there is no appreciable difference. However, more important than quantity of communication is quality, and it is here that men traditionally struggle. Men often lack a healthy relationship with their emotions, including a lack of language to accurately describe or express them, and the means to understand the meaning of the feelings they have.
Some common issues affecting men:
In therapy, I find that most men want someone "normal" that they can speak to. Someone who won't judge, who can help them make sense of things. Someone who can speak their language, and help them get to solid ground.
The issues affecting men are actually not distinct from those affecting women, but the expression of those issues may be. Many men carry a cultural belief that they have to work everything out on their own; it often takes an act of courage to simply admit that reaching out can help.
Psychotherapist, working in private practice in the Annex, Toronto.