I get it. You’re a guy and you fix problems. So when there’s a problem in your relationship or when you’re fed-up with feeling the way you do, you want to fix what’s wrong. But you don’t want to get dragged into why there’s a problem because that means dealing with emotions. You might think that only women need to fix problems this way. And you’d be wrong.
Fixing emotionally-based problems isn’t like an ordinary repair job where you can see and touch what’s broken. To do this work correctly you’ll have to know why things go wrong. In other words, you’ll need to learn about the underlying emotional issues.
I found, as you will, that emotions and feelings aren’t that hard to understand or talk about or to make part of your daily life. It’s like learning to ride a bicycle or to swim: once you learn it becomes second nature. But in the beginning you have hard work to do and working with a therapist is the best way to start.
In individual counseling, you and your therapist will explore your life and your relationships and together you’ll learn the ‘what, when, how and why’ of your problems. Once these become clear, your therapist can teach you how to repair your relationship and resolve your personal struggles.
For many men, counseling is educational so it’s helpful think of it as ‘on-the-job training’ (O.J.T.). Here, you’re the student; the therapist is your instructor, and during your training you’ll learn about and practice with tools custom-made for your needs. For example, you can learn how to:
- be emotionally available
- listen so that she feels heard
- talk so she’ll want to listen
- stop picking the wrong partner
- modify bad behavior
- stop drinking
- stop using porn
- manage your anger
- rebuild trust
- be a better parent
- improve relationships at work
If you’re in individual counseling you’ll practice using these tools during “role-playing” with the therapist. If you’re in couple’s therapy, the therapist will guide you while you practice using the tools with your partner. This O.J.T. usually includes weekly ‘classes’ and doing homework, like reading parts of a book or writing in a journal about your day or making time to talk with your partner.
I know, and maybe you know men who say that emotions are unimportant. Some men refuse to accept that they have any emotions. However this it begins in their lives, without emotional awareness or expression or acceptance, these men can suffer mentally and physically when faced with relationship, professional or personal struggles.
Don’t let this happen to you. Just like you would get other professional help, meet with a licensed therapist. Some offer a free initial consultation. The benefits of doing this work include enhanced self esteem; peace of mind; a deeper self-understanding; freedom from addiction and fulfilling, meaningful life.
This article is based on my book “Building Better Relationships – A Guidebook for Men”. Please call me at 949-760-7171 or text 949-244-8572 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to schedule an appointment.