Counselling is something more and more men are embracing. However, men don’t always want to talk about their feelings. So, could something like Dramatherapy be a solution for men who are not a fan of counselling? If this peaks your curiosity, read on.
The message is clear: men’s mental health matters.
It’s important for men to feel they can open up. As a society, we know there are consequences when feelings don’t get expressed. Men are more likely to suppress complex feelings and this can lead to anxiety, depression, stress, addiction, and suicide. So, keeping the lid on your ‘Pandora’s box’ may not be such a good idea after all.
Society and Masculinity
Society’s view of masculinity changes over time but essentially, continues to build an image of someone who is strong. But what does “strong” really mean? For some people, being strong means achieving physical strength and confidence. It may also mean being successful and well-liked. For others, strong means accepting failure and being openly sensitive. Maybe you are open with your emotions, transparent about your feelings. However, other people, like your family, peers and colleagues – are not. Sometimes it’s the experience of having others push their ideas of masculinity onto you that can make you close up.
Have you ever shared your feelings, opened up about something personal, and heard this back from someone?
“Oh, man up!”
“Men don’t cry.”
“Don’t be such a softie.”
Such comments can make you feel as though you shouldn’t feel or express your emotions ‘because you’re a man’.
Perhaps, you’ve heard other types of comments that deny, minimise and dismiss the importance of your feelings.
“It’s not that bad – cheer up!”
“Why are you still worried about that – it’ll pass.”
“Forget about it, just move on.”
Such comments suggest that it’s better to downplay how you feel, turn away from your emotions, and avoid showing it altogether. It’s tempting to think that feeling emotions might suddenly make you crumble – or even become less of a man.
Men and Emotions
When you become too afraid to feel, admit or express your feelings – your stress rises, your worries fester, and the shame you might harbour about your flaws, weaknesses and vulnerabilities can chip away at your mental health.
The problem escalates when life throws you a curve ball. When something happens to you, like a break-up for example, your emotions take over. You may explode or implode. You may take it out on someone and find yourself angry, upset, resentful and full of blame. Even the smallest reminder of your problem can send you into an outburst. Or perhaps you hold it all in and you don’t tell anyone about what’s going on when you’re feeling deeply hurt and rejected. You become a pro at burying your feelings, isolating yourself from friends, sleeping too much or too little, and drinking yourself into oblivion.
The brave and caring person in your life approaches you and suggests counselling. Immediately, a few different thoughts race through your mind:
“I don’t have a problem. I don’t need a counsellor.”
“No way am I going to share my personal life with a stranger.”
“Counselling’s not for me. I’ll get over it on my own.”
Men’s Deepest Fears
Deep down, the thought of talking and sharing your emotions may terrify you. However curious, you can’t seem to bring yourself to ask the questions you want answers to. Nonetheless, you think of the following:
“What if I’m judged on what I really think, how I really feel?”
“What if I’m made to talk and share things I’m not ready to?”
“I may be seen as weak, or I may find out I have a mental health problem.”
“I may not be taken seriously or believed.”
Holding on to all these thoughts and feelings can tear you up inside and make you want to say “no” to help, even when your mental health matters the most.
That’s why in any type of therapy, it’s important to choose a therapist:
a) You feel comfortable with.
b) Who is able to work at the pace and depth you’re ready for.
For men who aren’t ready to tell their story in full, who need a bit of time to build trust with a therapist, who need help with expressing their emotions – Dramatherapy can help.
Why Does Dramatherapy Work Well with Men?
Dramatherapy may be just the outlet you are looking for.
Like counselling, you get to work 1-to-1 with a professional therapist to help you better understand your situation and feelings so you can feel stronger in yourself. However, the way you get to the same outcome may be different and more suitable to who you are and how you communicate. Dramatherapy works well with men because this type of creative therapy for adults is incredibly accessible. You can talk when you feel comfortable AND you can express yourself in more ways than one when words don’t come as easily.
How Dramatherapy Works
Dramatherapy is Action-Based
Some men do not want or cannot yet express the words they wish to use. Perhaps you also show your care through your actions and want to make your yourself more heard and understood. In Dramatherapy, you get to express yourself through actions and understand your emotions on a deeper level.
Dramatherapy Builds Communication Skills
Physical activities that involve drama, movement and role play can help you express yourself non-verbally. Therapy can also consist of working with art, objects and writing. Being active and working with your hands to build and create is part of the therapy. By working actively, you get to engage with different parts of your brain including the parts that hold your emotions. In time, you learn to find the words that best describe how you truly feel.
Dramatherapy is Non-Confrontational
For some people, traditional counselling may feel like being in a hot-seat. Also, it may feel uncomfortable knowing you need to sit face-to-face with another person where there’s an expectation for you to talk throughout the session. In Dramatherapy, we may sit, stand, and move around in the space. You can address your issues head-on when you’re ready or work more indirectly using story or role play.
Dramatherapy Can Help You Feel More at Ease
Having different exercises, activities and materials can make therapy more informal and relaxed. You’ve got something to look at and something to do, something to help you through the silences, and something to help make you feel more at ease with someone else in the room.
Dramatherapy is Non-Judgmental
If this is your first time going to therapy, you may feel nervous about exposing parts of yourself. Or perhaps you’ve already had some experience of counselling in the past and you recall feeling reluctant to share or only reaching a certain point before pulling back. In Dramatherapy, we can look at what makes you afraid of being judged. We do this by using creative materials and techniques which help take away the unnecessary pressure and tension so you can better understand what holds you back.
Dramatherapy Help for Men in Central London
Dramatherapy can help you cope with anxiety, stress and burnout, support you with trauma and PTSD symptoms, and give you the help you need with relationships. There’s no need to feel trapped in your emotions. You have a physical, psychological and emotional outlet to express all parts of yourself.
If you are ready to open up and express yourself, and are looking for mental health support, I can help.
Get started with a free 20 minute phone consultation. Let’s chat.
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Please note that this blog is meant to be educational and should not be a substitute for therapy.
If you would like to enquire about therapy, please contact me or book an appointment: https://ytherapy.com/book-an-appointment/