How Men and Women Experience the Process of Psychotherapy
For most people, day-to-day life is loaded with stress. Family and relationship issues, pressures at school and work, health concerns, and financial struggles put our resilience to the test almost every day.
We are equipped with coping strategies that generally protect us from excessive stress and manage everyday pressures. However, sometimes these strategies are not relevant or strong enough. Some of our experiences are too upsetting to be handled without help.
People usually seek psychotherapy when their emotional or mental health concerns impair their everyday life. Therapy can be a safe place to analyze and understand your feelings, learn effective coping strategies, and change unproductive behavior patterns.
But are there sex differences in therapy and whether men and women experience this process differently?
Men Are Less Likely To Seek Psychotherapy
Research shows that and men and women deal with stress in different ways. Men tend to bottle up their emotional struggles and avoid seeking psychotherapy. They are more likely than women to feel frustrated about life difficulties, such as having financial troubles or losing a job. On the other hand, women are more likely to focus on their emotions as a coping strategy than men.
Although men are equally vulnerable to mental health concerns like anxiety and depression, they are less likely than women to seek therapy. Still, their symptoms mostly remain unrecognized, undiagnosed, and untreated. Furthermore, studies show that men, more than women, suffer from complications closely related to depression, like the need to rely on external stimuli. Also, suicide rates in males continue to grow alarmingly around the world
Men Suffer Equally As Women; It's Time To Seek Help Too.
Are Men Victims of Masculinity Stereotypes?
It is believed that there is a strong link between the male gender role and men’s experience of depression and their ability to cope with symptoms due to masculinity stereotypes.
The widespread male stereotypes that men should be easy-going, keep it in, be tough and similar may affect men’s mental health. The masculinity norms and fear from the stigma attached to mental illness may prevent men from sharing their experiences or seek professional mental health help.
Nevertheless, gender differences in preferences for therapy are still not explored enough. One study shows that men are less motivated than women to seek help for mental health issues, showing significant differences in some aspects of therapy, coping strategies, and help-seeking. Researchers believe that men would be more likely to seek psychotherapy if therapies accommodated men’s preferences.
Men Can Embrace Psychotherapy In An Understanding Environment
Men Are More Reluctant To Self-Disclose in Psychotherapy
Men are more often unaware of their emotional problems, but they seem to be less willing than women to share their emotions, thoughts, and beliefs even when they are. Male’s reluctance to self-disclose can easily become an obstacle to seeking mental health issues and discussing them with a therapist.
Men express fewer emotions in psychotherapy than women. They may experience embarrassment and shame in revealing their feelings. Many men consider going to therapy a sign of insecurity or weakness. Fear of revealing their illness and mental health stigma prevents people from seeking professional mental health support.
However, no one ever said that therapy is solely for people with mental illness. Going to psychotherapy means finding a treatment for your mind and emotional struggles the same way you would go to your GP when you feel physically ill. Going to therapy doesn’t mean that you are weak and incapable of handling things on your own. Therapy is a safe place to understand your emotions and cope with life transitions, relationship issues, and stress.
Men & Women Can Safely Express & Process Emotions In Therapy!
Therapy May Produce Different But Equally Important Results
Psychotherapy isn’t just for really challenging personal or relationship problems. Psychotherapy is suitable for all kinds of emotional issues. Asking a therapist for help is not a sign of weakness. The majority of people who come for therapy are ordinary people dealing with day-to-day challenges.
One study shows that men and women may benefit from different forms of psychotherapy, though. While male patients improved more after receiving interpretative therapy, female patients made significantly larger gains after supportive therapy.
Therapy can help you understand your past and how your past experiences affect present thinking patterns, emotions, and behavior. Psychotherapy can equip you with communication skills that will enhance your relationships and help you handle conflicts better. During the psychotherapy process, we will work out through your emotions and past experiences until you come to an understanding of what effect these feelings and experiences have on your day-to-day life, relationships, and overall well-being.
Regardless of the nature or extent of your concerns, I work with couples and individuals in an atmosphere of respect and understanding, without judgment. I utilize numerous techniques such as CBT, mindfulness exercise, and experiential therapy to help you identify, reduce, or eliminate concerns that interfere with your everyday personal and professional life.