According to Robert Augustus Masters, from his book ‘To be a Man’ 2014.
“I have seen many men suffer by shutting themselves off from their own depths, stranding themselves from what would enable them to have truly fulfilling relationships — not just their empathy, vulnerability, and capacity for emotional literacy, but also their true power and resolve, their authenticity, their capacity to anchor themselves in real integrity. There is a deeper life for men, a life in which responsibility and freedom go hand in hand and level upon level, a life in which happiness is rooted not in what we have, but in what we fundamentally are’
My approach to men’s work, (counselling with an orientation to men’s particular issues), is oriented to supporting optimal growth and fulfilment in all domains of a man’s life while exploring what holds men from making this happen. There is a much research into men’s issues, men’s psychology and what particular wounds men carry. My approach is not about fitting men into a particular model of manhood or masculinity, this in itself is part of the problem. Although narratives and stories of men’s experiences and ideas of manhood may be useful to explore in this work, the guiding direction in this work is how to support men to become more whole, joining head, heart and guts, within a healthy sense of self.
Most men who approach me, particularly, for men’s oriented counselling are heterosexual men who resonate with some of the challenges around the ideas of manhood that appear on my website or elsewhere. Although this is the case, and particular cultural narratives of manhood can impact heterosexual men in ways that are different to others, my work with heterosexual men around manhood issues does not preclude me to work with the GLTQ population. I am a generalist counsellor and have worked with the GLTQ population for many years in varied environments; including sexual health and PLWHA. Feel free to contact me to discuss these issues.
Men’s related therapeutic research shows that:
- Men often struggle to express their feelings or needs, leaving them with a powerful source of untapped emotional intelligence that can provide much needed guidance and wisdom.
- The experience of parenting can often lead loss of self-identity for men, and a feeling of being lost and not having a clear and empowering role in their family, beyond being the ‘bread-winner’.
- Cultural symbols and ideas about men often promulgate the idea of the tough and self-reliant male, and that vulnerability or tenderness is a weakness and rarely a strength. Men can often struggle with being vulnerable which has a host interrelated problems.
- Men can struggle with balancing a sense of being autonomous and self-sufficient and also part of a relationship and working as a team.
- Men often report difficulties with communicating with, and connecting intimately, with their female partners. Male patterns of withdrawing in relationships due to the stress of managing communicating and intimacy difficulties is common.
- Men usually take longer than women to attend to emotional/psychological well-being issues, such as; dissatisfaction with work or a relationship, mid-life crisis and difficulties finding meaningful activities, grieving old losses of letting go of unachieved goals. This can often lead to depression.
- Male depression is very common but often undiagnosed. Depression in males is often expressed primarily through anger and frustration, where the underlying and unexpressed feelings are sadness and hurt.
- 75% of suicides are men.
- Many men struggle to have healthy relationships with other men, which often leads to isolation and lack of support. Issues of manhood and shame can arise powerfully around establishing and managing ‘mateship’.
- Balancing work-life and self-care are often challenges for men.
This work can support you to:
- Explore your work/life balance and learn about what good self-care looks like and what may bring more aliveness and nourishment into your life.
- Understand how your past may be dominating your present, and what you need to own and process in order to let go and open to present connections and future possibilities.
- Turning toward your pain as a necessary step for deep healing through facing and working through your core wounds.
- Embrace and protect the young boy within, learning to have a sense of appropriate boundaries around your needs and what is nourishing to you.
- Explore what connecting your head, heart and belly looks like and experience a healthy sense of empowerment.
- Face your unhealthy shame, get your inner critic off your back and learn to accept yourself.
- Soften and become more intimate with others without feeling you are losing your power.
- Find a source of strength in your vulnerability and learn to, if you choose, express all of yourself; in your relationships, with your kids and with other men.
- Understand what a healthy relationship looks like and the difference between physical intimacy and sex.
- Learn about healthy communication, how to communicate from your vulnerability, how to express your needs and how to set healthy and respectful boundaries.
- Learn the difference between aggression and healthy anger.
I am 47 years old and a father of 2 children.