Are You Man Enough for Therapy?

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About Steve Milan

Steve Milan, LCSW is a therapist in Austin, TX who works primarily with men and couples. He is also a father, a son, an ex-husband, an ex-CPA, a partner to his sweetie, and an Ultimate Frisbee player. Steve has been writing for his own sake off and on over the years.

Comments

  1. Great topic! Just shared on FB keep up the good work!

  2. Matt Crowder says:

    There are times when a piece on here is so incredibly timely and meaningful for me. This is one of those times. I have been struggling with whether or not to see a therapist after recent events in my life. I have had the same nagging question in the back of my mind of whether or not I need it and if I do, does that mean I am weak or less of a man for it. I don’t like exploring my emotions much less talk about them with someone else. It is much easier for me to just push them back away into a dark corner on a shelf and try and forget about them. Having said that I made the call yesterday and have my first appoinment in a few weeks. I hope that I have the strength to stick with it even if things start to go better because that will make it so that I am better prepared for the next down turn on the road of life.

    • Thank you for saying that, Matt. Running the series this week on suicide, I felt it was more important than ever to have content that would help men who are seeking improvement of their mental health. Steve, who is also writing on cancer next week, suggested writing on this topic and I agreed that it couldn’t have been more timely.

      My own experience with therapists is a lot like Steve’s: quite a few misses, but I only needed one hit. I feel like I’m progressing, and being challenged in ways I couldn’t have imagined, and still can’t articulate. I don’t evangelize for therapy, but if you know it’s what you need to do for yourself, I strongly encourage you to keep pursuing it until you get what you need out of it.

    • Matt, I got some chills as I read your comment. Thanks for taking the time to write. I hope that the work you do will prepare you for a down turn or an up turn. sometimes therapy is just about moving towards the life we want rather than away from pain. The primary question I have when I meet with a client is, “How can you live more fully?”

    • Good for you Matt.

      Steve is right, the truth is men usually don’t get to therapy until things are really messed up. What you’re doing takes huge courage….and as long as you approach it with honesty and a desire to be a better person and honor who you are (even if you’re not sure yet), you’re going to get a lot out of it.

  3. I spent a long time going to therapy just to say I was going to therapy and talk to my hot therapist. Also to manipulate her into prescribing me drugs like adderall and xanax. I treated therapy as a competition between myself and my therapist, and the fact that she was not up to the task intellectually really meant I didn’t get a lot out of it… except for the drugs.

  4. This was so well written! Thank you! Very timely article!

    I finally got the balls to tell my karate sensei to go get professional help (well, not in person, but via text!) and not because I did not care about him and his problems…the boundaries on our relationship were starting to blur and I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by his neediness and anxiety….

    Inside the karate dojo, the rules are very clear on proper behavior and etiquette….outside the dojo, I felt like a line was being crossed when he made an improper request…and I cut off all contact with him for a month and a half instead of telling him directly where he should go for real help (although I think he the answer to that already….I think he was thinking that I was some kind of shortcut)….

  5. Great post. So many things to key in on, but one that grabbed my attention is needing to let go of the stories we tell ourselves. As humans this is an innate skill, unfortunately for men the dominant cultural stories are often geared towards isolation, and conforming to paradigms rather than building our own narrative. I’ve been in counseling consistently for a couple of years now, best decision I ever made and although there’s still a lot of work to be done I’m in charge of the stories in my life.

    • Joe, you nailed it! An episode of depression led me to a great therapist who helped build a new life narrative as an adult and understand and let go of my childhood narratives that kept me stuck and in pain. Keep on going. It gets better as you understand more of the experiences that made you who you are.

  6. I think it would be ridiculous for a man to suggest he shouldn’t see or need to see a therapist because he is a man. I’ve seen one in my life and probably would still IF regular visits were covered better under my health insurance. My plan still has me designate a Primary Care Physician, and visits to him are a $20 copay. If I want to see ANYONE else, be it a specialist like a dermatologist or podiatrist OR a therapist for my MENTAL health, the copy is $40. I simply couldn’t afford that extra $40 pop to see my therapist as often as either of us wanted. It was more stressful worrying about the copay.

    The US healthcare system needs to make HUGE improvements on how it handles mental health for everyone. Men, women, and children alike.

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