In today’s world where ideals of masculinity include images of power, self-assuredness and determination, men are supposed to be strong and certain, they are supposed to be able to hold it all together. Shame researcher Brené Brown says that metaphorically men are handed a box when young, with the words ‘CAUTION: Do Not Be Perceived as Weak’ stamped on the outside, whilst added to this is the cultural expectation: ‘You had better be great and all powerful’. *
When men are toddlers it might be deemed acceptable for them to cry to their caregivers when they are hurt, confused or frustrated but as they get older men are often encouraged to believe that this behaviour is not acceptable. A consequence of this is that over time they learn to hide certain feelings: feelings of being weak, inadequate, feeling uncertain or unsure etc.
Given these conditions it can be very difficult for men to find a situation or a person who they feel they can open up to without being judged or shamed for not measuring up. Such a space can rarely be found in the workplace because men are supposed to be demonstrating how well they are performing. It can be difficult to open up in a relationship too because men are supposed to be stable and in control, and with friends men can sometimes feel a pressure of appearing to be happy, self-assured and content.
I support my male clients to improve their level of self acceptance, self belief and self esteem and I help them to understand what their core beliefs and values are (i.e. what is most true about themselves) so that they can live authentically fulfilling lives with dignity, integrity and pride.
I work with men – and just to be clear this includes heterosexual men, gay men, bi men, trans men – who have really been feeling on their own because they have never had anyone to talk to about how bad or inadequate they secretly feel about themselves. I also see a lot of young men who have no real idea of what they want to do in life and yet feel an immense pressure to appear to be looking like they are certain and in control of their direction. I see a lot of men in mid life who are questioning some of the decisions they have made; career, relationship, friends, hobbies.
I work with a lot of gay and bisexual men, and with men who do not identify as gay but who are sexually attracted to other men, and I work with teenagers and young men who are confused and/or conflicted about their feelings of same sex attraction. From time to time I also work with parents who are struggling with, and/or who have questions or concerns about the the sexuality of their loved ones. I also work with straight men who have issues around sexuality: relationship issues and/or difficulty connecting with others.
On this website I have used the terms ‘male clients’ and ‘female clients’ to talk about the service that I provide, however, I am aware that for some people, these terms in themselves are a source of confusion, stereotype and/or limitation. If this is the case for you then apologies if I caused any distress by maintaining the use of these binary gender distinctions and if you would like to explore this aspect of your identity then I would be really happy to hear form you.
If you have been struggling with any of the above problems or with any other difficulties that are not mentioned above, and you think I might be able to support you then please get in contact for a free no-obligation 10-15 minute chat.
* Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms
the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead. London, Penguin, 2012.