It was interesting to see this month’s GQ (Gentlemen’s Quarterly) leading with an article (Real Men Do Do Therapy) on psychotherapy, Therapy and counselling for men by Loise Chunn the founder of Welldoing.org
The British ‘stiff upper lip’ has seen men choosing not to come to therapy, instead feeling obliged to deal with any issues themselves which usually involves keeping it locked in their head and using addictions, legal and illegal drugs (to name a few) to ease their emotional pain.
The film Side Effects tells the story of British view on therapy the best. In the States they are congratulated for seeking a therapist (“Well done for getting better”) whereas here in England we are demonised (“You see a therapist? What’s wrong with you?”)
As male suicide rates continue to soar, the suicide statistic support by The Samaritans, states “The suicide rate among men aged 45-59, 25.1 per 100,000, is the highest for this group since 1981″ something has to be done so that therapy is an option for both men and women.
So much is expected of us in our modern age that we need an outlet, Sometimes we all need help and instead of therapy being demonised it should be seen as a viable option in our development. In the GQ article Louise Chunn not only normalises men seeking help with their mental and emotional well being, but also celebrates it. If you had a broken hand wouldn’t you go and get it fixed? Well that’s exactly how we should feel about our mental health.
It may seem daunting coming to see a therapist but no matter how big or small you feel your problems are it will lead to you being able to conceptualise, understand and deal with them so that they no longer have a hold on your life.
When explaining how therapy works I find it helpful to use the analogy of ripping off a plaster.
If you leave the plaster on too long the wound will get infected, affecting your general health.
If you rip the plaster off slowly it will hurt a little bit every time you try. However if you rip it straight off it will hurt for a moment and then the plain (and plaster) will be gone forever and, most importantly, the healing process can start.
Do you want to be happier? Achieve your dreams and step out of the shadow of fear? Therapy works. Why don’t you give it a try?