An in depth look at Daniel’s counselling for males
Men are often put off therapy, thinking that it is either a feminine activity or for mentally ill people. Daniel creates an environment in which men get to explore issues pertinent to how they operate and what is important to them. Daniel’s clients develop their emotional intelligence, their capacity to express themselves emotionally and be emphatic and at the same time with this clarity, purpose and alignment with their core values. Daniel works with his male clients to mature into a masculinity that expresses their values, fosters wisdom, curiosity and compassion.
Men are often estranged from their inner worlds – their needs, feelings and desires. Having access to their emotions wasn’t part of their early programming about how to be a man. Their alienation from themselves makes it hard to really connect in relationships. The isolation of men is pervasive. Research shows that as men age they often have only one male friend and their social networks, compared to those of women, are much less dense and more fragile.
Shutting down in relationships
This conditioning and social isolation often creates a negative cycle. Men who have never experienced a nourishing relationship don’t believe relationships can be sustaining and satisfying in a persistent way. Once they enter into a committed relationship, they feel pressure to be emotionally available but they lack the skills to do so. They don’t know how to be a strong man and be emotionally attuned. Their withdrawal or ambivalence can lead to their partner being critical or demanding, driving them further into their isolation and belief that relationships cannot be satisfying.
Some men, particularly those who had overbearing, critical or abusive fathers and other authority figures, become meek and ambivalent in their relationships. They drift with no real sense of purpose and without making strong choices. Other men are highly comfortable with the power and privilege that traditional social structures have provided them. They tend to be deeply uncomfortable with vulnerability and displays of emotion in themselves or in others. They fall back on habits of rigidity and anger.
Daniel helps his male to understand and unpack their rigid habits of shutting down or getting angry. He assists them to understand the underlying emotions that drive their feelings of being suffocated and bored in relationships. Men often come to Daniel because they want newness but don’t know how to create it. They don’t know what to do after the honeymoon phase. With Daniel they learn how to continually foster a relationship, bringing richness and excitement to it and getting more of what they need.
Fear of seeking help
Men are frequently conditioned to contain emotions and be chronically self-sufficient. This may have been a way to be accepted and belong in their family as a child. This stops them from seeking help or counsel, because they fear feeling like a failure and the stigma that there is something ‘wrong’ with them.
Dealing with difficult emotions or struggling to navigate complex relationships is not a sign of weakness or a reason to feel shame. These feelings are so common amongst men that they are symptom of the society that we live in. Seeking support through a psychotherapist is a sign of courage and a willingness to become emotionally responsible – to become accountable for your own well-being. Daniel firmly believes that a more integrated man is one who is able to honestly name his own strengths and weaknesses in the company of others, and work towards his own maturation as a man with humility.