Certain providers at CHRIS specialize in working with men. Men are often the creators and enforcers of the patriarchy of which our society is often governed. However, this system also traps them. They are not given the place to speak of their feelings openly. Men often struggle to connect to their emotions, sometimes at the basic level of even having vocabulary for what they are feeling. These feelings can be exasperated when in relationships or trying to fit into male centered groupings.
Men may a feel the need to process the following:
- Gender concerns
- Masculinity specific concerns
- Desire issues
- Sexual functioning concerns
- Sexual orientation concerns
- Processing sexual compulsive behaviors
- Professional career development
- Placement in family and society
- Need more male socialization
- Romantic relationship challenges
- Sexual relationship challenges
- Sexual anxiety
- Adult and child sexual trauma
- Breaking “the guy code”
Oftentimes, men struggle with knowing their place. This can include being uncertain of how to process positive elements of masculinity while trying to move away from others which have historically hurt others. Young men in particular are currently facing a struggle to not exhibit what pop culture refers to as “toxic masculinity”. They wish to be perceived as upstanding men. However, this sometimes can make them feel as though they are weak or not masculine enough. Socialist often refer to the system in which men will protect each other and not speak up regarding concerns they have as “the guy code”. Sometimes men witness elements which they do not approve of but fear repercussions from other men. Even when not faced with a direct objective to another male, sometimes men feel as though they are violating the code of conduct for being a man when they feel different than what they perceive they are supposed to feel.
Men often face this particular dilemma when they are managing feelings of being different from a sexuality or gender based concern. This can include preferring to dress in a style which might break traditional gender norms or wanting to be physically close with another man, even when their is not interest in being with other men sexually. Therapy provides a space for men to address such concerns. Therapy allows men to discuss openly their thoughts and feelings while getting affirmation. This can also include periods in which the therapist might challenge the client to think differently or to try to break free from conventions to which they do not agree. This can be a challenging process for men and one that takes time and patiences by the therapist to provide a refuge for men.