Men and counselling and psychotherapy
As men we don’t always find it easy to ask for help and many of us will find the idea of using counselling or psychotherapy quite a big step to take. I know this, not just because I work with a lot of men in my private practice but also because that’s how I felt about it back in the early 1990s when I first went into therapy myself. In the end, I found the process so helpful that I eventually took a training at Cambridge University and have now been a therapist for 20 years.
It’s important to realise that:
- counselling and therapy with me is a confidential and non-judgemental process
- | won’t tell you what to do but we will talk about whatever you need to talk about and we will work on ways of developing a useful route through your issues, however difficult
- I won’t be telling you how you should be feeling
- therapy with me will allow you to focus on any issues you need to, including sexual difficulties, worries or problems
- if you’ve not had any sessions before you might be surprised to discover that therapy feels more like an ordinary conversation than you thought
- it’s okay for counselling and psychotherapy to deal with life changes, mental health, wellbeing and life style
- sometimes we might laugh about things in therapy – not because we are avoiding talking about difficult issues but because, even in therapy, some things are just funny.
I know it can feel like a big deal to make the first step but I’ll do my best to help you feel comfortable right from your first contact with me.
Here are some questions that men typically ask about the process of online therapy.
‘IS THERAPY DIFFERENT FOR MEN?’
While the process of therapy is gender neutral and was first developed and mainly practised by men, how men and women feel about the process and what needs they have in the space can be quite different.
We know that men need to feel that therapy takes a positive view of being male and when it comes to issues like depression, practitioners’ reports and some academic research has reported that the commonly recognised and described symptoms of depression – being tearful, withdrawn, lacking in motivation and energy – are more typically the way females express depression. Men will actually often express symptoms in an externalised way that we call ‘acting out’. This might be through uncontrolled anger, addictive behaviours that are used as a cover up for the felt distress, or the use of physical aggression. And, of course, if you express your depression in these sorts of ways it tends to compound difficulties in the social world, and will often make family, friends and professional helpers less sympathetic in their response to you.
Data drawn from population level studies suggest that men who are in psychological distress are more likely than women to choose coping strategies that don’t help them adjust adequately or appropriately to the environment or situation. A popular strategy might be to self-medicate through alcohol, drugs, or porn and/or sexual addictions. Of course, generalised data about gender is just that: general! And so it doesn’t tell us about any one individual. But my experience in private practice certainly adds up with the data.
‘DO YOU OFFER AN ONLINE SERVICE?’
I offer a Face-to-face location-based service in Backwell, Bristol and, at certain times of the year, a walk-and-talk therapy service in central Bristol and North Somerset. However, I also offer an online service for counselling and psychotherapy for men. I have extensive skills and deep knowledge as a therapist in areas of practice that are difficult or impossible to find and/or access across large areas of the UK. This is especially true with regards to sexual and relationship difficulties – including those that concern sex and porn addictions.
By offering online video-chat based sessions through FaceTime, WhatsApp, VSee or even the telephone, I can offer men throughout the UK and internationally the chance to work with me.
Working online via video-chat also allows men (and women) who travel for work to make regular sessions. Video-chat sessions also removes travel time to and from the session. Another advantage of online conversation work is that it allows the chance to get help during any break time of 50 minutes during the working day. Some men prefer working online as this means remaining in the comfort and safety of their own space at home, office or perhaps just in a parked car while still having a confidential session with me.
A final reason why men might like to use online video-chat for their sessions is that some people find it easier to open up when they are working online by comparison to being in a strange space.
‘WILL I HAVE TO WAIT TO BOOK A SESSION?’
The side bar of any page of this site will generally have information about my availability (on mobile phones, this information shows at the end of the page). However, even if I’m fully booked do please contact me if you’d like to work with me as I might know that a space is coming up soon but I’m not yet able to advertise it.
‘WHAT IF I WANT TO BOOK A SESSION?’
I’m happy for people to send me an email or a text to make initial contact. I’m also happy to take a phone call (if I’m free) or for you to leave a message on my confidential business phone number 07871 257 457. Whichever way you contact me, you can find out a little more about whether online video chat might be a good way to work together.
Having worked for many years with men, women and couples – face-to-face and via online video-chat – I would say that if you are comfortable using FaceTime, WhatsApp or Skype as generic platforms, then it can also be a great way to do therapy. And these days, freezes and breakdowns of the Internet, which can be annoying, are thankfully infrequent. In 12 years of using this sort of technology for therapy I have never had to abandon a session mid-way through.
Therapy Place Bristol
Face-to-face and online counselling, psychotherapy and sex therapy for men, women and couples