With the hardships everyone is facing in life, it’s normal for most people to need to go to therapy. Despite this, clinical social workers Dr. Lena Pearlman & Dr. Bryan Pearlman, found that women go to therapy twice as much as men do. This shows that, even though therapy has shown to be effective, men still tend to resist going.
Below are 5 possible reasons why men avoid seeking help.
- Nothing is wrong with me – This is the main belief that people, especially men, have when told to go to therapy. Going to therapy isn’t about there being something wrong with you. It is about becoming aware of how you can improve your life for the better and working on improving it.
- Therapy can’t fix me – This occurs when men do admit that they need help but believe that therapy will not do anything to help them. They have their spouse, friends, etc. to help them instead. Although, if you need someone to help you with your taxes, you will go to an accountant. Therapy works in about the same way; think of going to therapy as going to a consultant to help you with what you are feeling. The role of a therapist is to help you understand and manage your life, not fix it.
- I’m fine – Due to past generations, men have been conditioned to believe that they cannot express their emotions. If they do, they will seem weak and as though they don’t have their life together. The reality is that you cannot do a good job in your life if you are feeling miserable. Seeking therapy does not make you weak, it makes you a stronger and better person.
- They don’t want to look backwards – Men seem to like to focus on the here and now. They don’t want to look back to their past and childhood experiences. Thus, they avoid going to therapy because they know it might touch on something that happened in the past. However, it’s important to remember that by looking at your past, you will have a better understanding of who you are today; what shaped you, what made you who you are.
- Feeling scared – Underneath the need brought about by societal pressures for men to look brave and macho, there are several fears. Men fear that they will look vulnerable when others find out they are going to therapy. They are afraid to admit that they don’t have everything together. In the end, they are afraid to admit they need help. Feeling scared to start therapy is normal, everyone is hesitant at first but once you open your world to therapy, you won’t regret it.
There has been an increase of men seeking therapy over the years, but this still isn’t enough. We need to work to get the message out to men of how important our mental health is. You cannot focus on your physical health but ignore your mental health because eventually, your mental health will catch up to you. Ultimately, if you are suffering then you owe it to yourself to seek help!
Mandy is a Gestalt psychotherapist who enjoys working therapeutically with adults on various issues. These include general mental health and wellbeing. She also has experience working with anxiety, victims of domestic violence and eating disorders.
- Blum, S. (2021). Why Men Resist Going to Therapy, And Why We Shouldn’t. Retrieved from https://lifehacker.com/why-men-resist-going-to-therapy-and-why-we-shouldnt-1846328708
- Pearlman, L., & Pearlman, B. (2021). 6 Reasons Why Men Avoid Going to Therapy (When They Really Need to Go). Retrieved from https://stlmentalhealth.com/6-reasons-why-men-avoid-going-to-therapy-when-they-really-need-to-go/
- Stein, J. (2020). 30 B.S. Excuses for Why Guys Don’t Do Therapy. Retrieved from https://www.menshealth.com/health/a27496158/excuses-guys-make-not-going-to-therapy/