Do you feel lost as a man?
· Do you feel alone in your problems?
· Are you unsure about what it means to be a man?
· Are you struggling with being too rigid or passive as a man?
· Do you fear going for what you want in life?
If you are a man living in today’s society, it can be very confusing as to what it means to embody mature masculinity. Due to the lack of strong role models, men often feel adrift as to how to lead their lives from a place of power, caring and sure direction. Author Robert Bly and other thought leaders in men's psychology have shed tremendous light on the struggles men face in modern society and how to overcome them. I have studied intensively with groups of men involved in this work, including Bly himself, on what the challenges are to our lives as men and how to face them with courage and responsibility.
I fell numb as man. Why is that?
Many men become “hardened” to their emotional lives. The culture sends us a barrage of messages that say being a man means: having a lot of “things”, being promiscuous, drinking, being cut off from feelings, relying on our intellect, and being able to compete with other men in a cut-throat manner. Hardened men tend to be overly aggressive, unfeeling, and even paranoid. Behind their machismo is often found a depressed, wounded "inner child.”
I have a hard time asserting myself as a man. Why is that?
Some men have recognized the problems inherent in the old model of masculinity and gone in the complete opposite direction. These men are what Robert Bly, author of the seminal book on men’s work—Iron John, calls, “soft men.” Soft men have taken the pursuit of their feminine side to an extreme. These men are often sensitive to others, attuned to the needs of those around them, empathetic, and overly giving. However these “soft men” often lack vitality, vigorousness, intensity, and the ability to cut through life’s problems. They may fear responsibility and cower in the face of adversity. Soft men often appear as meek or wanting others to do for them what they feel unable to do for themselves. They lack the authentic “warrior” energy needed to carry them through the difficulties of life.
We could say that both the soft and hardened man are stuck in a kind of perpetual adolescence. Neither has integrated what is meant by the “authentic or mature masculine.” As a result, many men experience an extreme sense of isolation, anxiety, and even fear of other men.
So what’s the solution?
I have done extensive work in the field of men’s therapy. If you feel you are suffering from an outdated or incomplete model of what it means to be a man, I can help you integrate what is psychologically thought of as healthy or “authentic masculinity.” A man with authentic masculinity is both assertive and sensitive. He has clear boundaries with others and is able to go for what he wants in life. He is giving without being self-abandoning. He is self-reflective and is able to take responsibility for his “shadow self” (i.e. his character defects, addictions, neurosis, etc.). As men, we need the help of other men to self-actualize our highest potential. Together we can map the road to your authentic life, work through your fears or blocks to success, and develop the intimacy you may be craving in relationships.
What will you actually do?
We can work with a number of things to help you in your work as a man. Using Cognitive Behavioral tools we can set goals you are accountable to achieving and unravel the beliefs that might be keeping your from achieving those goals. We can utilize Self-Compassion work to help you improve the relationship with yourself that could be currently overly critical or even abusive. We can work with Mindfulness Meditation to help you center yourself when experiencing a storm of emotions. There are also tools such as Emotional Freedom Technique in which you will learn to work with your body’s meridians to calm your mind and lower the cortisol levels (the stress inducing hormone) in your blood stream. We will utilize Humanistic Psychology—providing you with an environment of unconditional positive regard and encouragement, something you may have lacked in your early development. Together we can heal all the blocks that hold you back as a man.
I’ve had strong women in my life, but I didn't get the strength I needed from them. Why is that?
A common agreement among experts in the field of men’s work is that we as men must work with other men to achieve authentic masculinity. As well intentioned as women may be, they cannot usher you into your adult life as a man. The simple reason for this is that they are women, not men. They may have walked the authentic path to womanhood, but they have not walked the authentic path to manhood. Many men have never had the help from other men required to achieve the development of their authentic masculine. It’s possible to remain psychologically stalled in some version of boyhood your entire life. You can be caught in a state of “developmental delay”— stuck in the part of your adolescence where you did not get the guidance you needed from older men. If this is your case, don’t be ashamed. None of us gets to the mature masculine self alone. I needed guidance on the path, and so will you. If you are undeveloped in your mature masculinity you may suffer from some of the following problems: feeling victimized in the world, stuck in a dead end job, working for a corporation you have no passion for, making money could be your sole career goal, suffering from an addiction, lack of passion or creativity, being isolated socially, being unable to break out of depression or anxiety, in a state of constant competition with other men, etc. You can free yourself from these and more problems that may have plagued you your entire life.
What are men's groups?
I run two psychodynamic men's groups. A men's group can be an excellent way to bond with other men and receive the support you need in your recovery work. The group is a kind of "functional family." It is a place to get the acceptance and nurturing you didn't receive in your family of origin from the group experience. You will also be able to set behavioral goals. The group then operates as a community that offers encouragement and accountability for achieving those goals.
You still might have fears of getting help…
We didn’t talk about feelings in my family. I’m not sure I can do this.
We all need places to talk about our feelings, fears, and concerns. Life is extremely challenging for everyone. Men often grow up feeling alone and isolated by such outdated beliefs as, “men don’t cry”, or, “its weak to be vulnerable.” I’ve worked with hundreds of men and can provide you with a safe place to be seen, heard, and understood.
Don’t most men handle their problems on their own?
Men are often alone in their problems due to old, oppressive cultural beliefs about needing to do everything on their own. Largely because of these beliefs, men are more prone to heart attacks, addictions, and depression than women are. You deserve to get the help you need and come out of the shadows of isolation.
How long is this going to take?
This is a common question. The length of time therapy takes to achieve lasting results is different for different men. However, most men feel a sense of immediate relief within of few sessions of getting the long needed help they have resisted.
Change Can Happen For You
If you are ready to take the first steps toward change as a man, give me a call at 310 -854-2043. I offer a free 15-minute consultation in which we can talk about your needs and see if I am a good fit for you as a therapist. You can also email me at the link below.