Our society often teaches us that men are supposed to be stoic, competitive, self-sufficient, and fiercely independent as the provider who should be in constant pursuit of success. While it’s important to recognize many stereotypically male traits are quite useful at getting through life, they can equally leave you feeling lonely, overwhelmed, and limited in how you express yourself, live your life, and connect with others. Dominant masculine ideals make it difficult to recognize and talk about the vulnerabilities that all of us have simply by virtue of being human. If everyone around you keeps their struggles to themselves, how can you not assume you are the only one struggling? Evidence clearly does not support this, as indicated in data such as men’s significantly higher rates of alcohol abuse and suicide.
At Center Focused Therapy, we approach men’s issues through a cultural lens that accounts for the potentially detrimental effects of how men are often socialized, how gender-based experiences confer both privilege and hardship on men, and how views and expectations around masculinity vary according to other social identities in ways that can further exacerbate the negative effects of both social and internalized views of what it means to be a man. Addressing such concerns in therapy can give you greater insight into how gender forms your approach to life and others, as well as provide you greater flexibility in order to open up ways of fostering greater connection to others and a stronger sense of meaning in life.