Making The Case For Therapy

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Men don’t do therapy.

This has been spoken by strong, successful men for quite some time. They view therapy as being on the same level as knitting, getting a manicure, and carrying a purse. Although it has become more acceptable for men to express themselves in recent years, there is still a sense of embarrassment attached to actively seeking out help. The idea that men can’t help themselves might appear emasculating to some. Simply put, therapy is one of those things that isn’t acceptable for guys; after all, men are supposed to be confident and stable, and therapy is for weak people.

The Truth About Therapy

On second thought, maybe it’s not so black and white. Psychotherapy actually has an array of benefits, including decreased stress and anxiety, higher self-esteem, and improved relationships. Most people think of therapy as something that’s only for individuals with diagnosed disorders like schizophrenia or depression, or that it’s exclusively for individuals who’ve experienced traumatic childhood events that have harmed their livelihood. These stereotypes have given therapy a negative connotation, reinforcing the idea that only damaged or weak people should seek help from a psychiatrist or psychologist.

As a matter of fact, counseling can be for everyone. The ability to communicate your stresses and concerns with an impartial adult can have amazing benefits mentally and emotionally, but there are also ways that it can help you achieve your professional goals. For example, many people consult life coaches when they want to make important career decisions or are having trouble progressing in their jobs. Other people turn to life coaches when a relationship isn’t going well or when they feel like they need to reorganize certain aspects of their lives. In essence, life coaches provide similar services as mental health counselors; they just have different qualifications and may not be covered by insurance.

Therapy Myths

Several myths exist about therapy, and it’s likely that these falsities are to blame for the negative thoughts that people associate with it. A recent article debunked these myths, which included statements like “People who go to therapy are weak” or “Therapy is unnecessary when you can just talk to good friends.” These beliefs are simply misunderstandings, and more people should experience therapy for themselves before deciding that they don’t like it. By approaching a problem head-on, individuals can resolve issues faster and more productively.

Not surprisingly, many people opt for another form of aid, and this help is far less time consuming, embarrassing, and confrontational: Pills. Medication is the easy alternative to therapy. Simply swallowing a pill once or twice a day is much less engaging than actually talking to someone about a problem, and this lack of invasiveness is what appeals to people.

The result is that men and women aren’t actually dealing with their problems; they’re finding temporary solutions for their symptoms. Whether the blame rests with the pharmaceutical companies, the psychiatrists who prescribe these medications, or the patients who pop them like candy, the fact of the matter is that medication most often isn’t the solution to a problem.

The Takeaway

Removing the stigma from therapy can make it more appealing to individuals, particularly men, who need help but don’t want to be criticized by others for seeing a therapist. Getting help isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength. Criticizing others for helping themselves doesn’t solve anything, and it only leads to more problems. The stereotypes regarding psychological treatment continue to subsist, but as men continue to adapt to new roles in society, they will also be forced to cope with the mental and emotional effects that these changes will have on their lives. In the end, real men aren’t afraid of expressing their feelings, unless of course those feelings involve a love for purses, manicures, or knitting.

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