A BAME businessman is smiling and having fun in Dramatherapy, as depicted in YTherapy's blogpost.

Dramatherapy for Men who Hate Counselling

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.

It’s Movember this month. It’s also International Men’s Day on the 19th November.

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.

Profile of a man with his hand on his face looking into the screen of his laptop.

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 30 minute phone consultation. Let’s chat.

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If you have any requests for a blog post, please feel free to send your questions, comments or ideas to: jamie@ytherapy.com

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/

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Body Image Mental Health Awareness Week

Your Relationship with Your Body

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week.

This year’s theme is Body Image – how we think and feel about our bodies.

What’s the relationship you have with your body?

Do you love, hate or have mixed feelings about your body?

Do you find yourself constantly looking in the mirror – wishing you were smaller or bigger, or you had or didn’t have certain physical features?

Do you feel comfortable or uncomfortable with the way you look, and do your feelings about your appearance impact the way you relate to others?

If these questions bring up strong and conflicting thoughts and feelings, then it may be time to pay careful attention to how you relate to your body.

How you think and feel about your body affects your mental health.

The Mental Health Foundation conducted a study last year and recently published a body image report.

Here is a summary of their findings as seen on their website:

  • one in eight adults in the UK have experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings because of concerns about their body image
  • one third of UK adults have felt anxious (34 per cent), or depressed (35 per cent) because of concerns about their body image
  • one in five UK adults (19 per cent) have felt “disgusted” because of their body image and one in five (20 per cent) said they had felt “shame” because of their body image in the last year
  • one in ten women (10 per cent) saying they have self-harmed or “deliberately hurt themselves” because of their body image, compared to 4 per cent of men
  • a quarter of men (25 per cent) saying they have felt depressed because of concerns about their body image
  • one in five people (20 per cent) aged 55 and above have said they have felt anxious because of their body image
  • one in five (22 per cent) of all UK adults and almost half (46 per cent) of 18-24 year olds said images on social media had caused them to worry about their body image
  • six in ten UK adults (59 per cent) think the UK Government needs to do more to protect the public from the presentation or use of unhealthy body images in advertising and social media

The big takeaway message is that body image issues affect everyone at any time – regardless of age, gender, ethnicity and sexuality.

Sometimes it takes a national campaign or movement to help us pause and think about how we may be personally affected.

If you feel affected body image issues and are looking for mental health support, I can help.

Get started with a 30 minute phone consultation. Let’s chat.


If you have any requests for a blog post, please feel free to send your questions, comments or ideas to: jamie@ytherapy.com

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/

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Reaching

10 Things You Will Discover in This Blog

A warm welcome to my blog.

This blog is the newest development here at YTherapy.

 

If you have been affected by traumatic life experiences, and:

  • You would like to find out more information about trauma recovery
  • You are beginning or already on a journey to healing
  • You are curious about therapy or currently engaging in therapy

Then this blog is for you!

 

My goal is to share my knowledge and experience as a Dramatherapist who specialises in trauma, and to motivate and inspire you to work towards your own recovery. With greater knowledge comes greater self-awareness and self-compassion.

 

Here are 10 things you will discover in this blog:

 

1. My Voice

Informal and personal – this is the approach I will take to writing my blog. I will be speaking from the “I” and addressing “You” as the reader. When words are not enough, I will also use images and videos.

I would like you to hear my voice without unnecessary formality. I would also like to share my unique perspective on trauma and recovery. I want to make my posts easy to understand, accessible and relevant for you because trauma can be hard to deal with. If you can hear my voice and you feel what I share is helpful to you, then I will have accomplished my mission.

It may be that you are searching for a therapist and are now reading this blog post. If you feel you can hear the therapist’s voice come through a little more clearly in a blog, then this can help give you a greater sense of their communication and therapeutic style.

 

2. My Experience

You can read my biography on the About Me page, however, I would like to share more about my experiences with you in this blog.

I will dedicate myself to writing posts where I can further share my experiences, insights and reflections with you. I think it’s important to explain a concept or how things work by drawing from my own experiences as a clinician.

As I have worked with many different client groups and in varying contexts, I can share a bit more in depth about how Dramatherapy has helped those affected by trauma and how this way of working can help you.

 

3. Real Life Stories and Golden Moments in Therapy

Stories are a powerful tool for learning.

People want to hear stories of change and recovery from those who have had similar experiences to them. If in that story you feel you can identify with the protagonist, then that story can fill you with hope. That’s why I’ve added a Case Studies section to the YTherapy website so that you can learn about other people’s experiences and how therapy has helped them.

Having worked in the field of addiction, trauma and abuse for many years, I have witnessed the power of peer support and the power of the service user voice. Hearing a client’s story or voice can empower you in your journey to recovery.

I’m going to share real life stories and ‘golden moments’ in therapy, and of course to do so without breaking any client confidentiality. Sometimes I learn a great deal from hearing clients re-tell stories told to them, from listening to my colleagues in supervision, and from having conversations with other therapists practicing in different fields. These experiences will feature in my blog in some shape or form adding another level of richness to help you in your recovery.

I often post quotes from clients on YTherapy’s Instagram account. To hear more of my clients’ insights from therapy, please follow: @ytherapyuk #learningfromthepatient

 

4. Useful Information about Trauma

I specialise in trauma.

More specifically, I work with adults who have experienced relational trauma and childhood trauma. Trauma that stems from relationships are often complex and historical, and even rooted in earlier experiences from childhood.

I have worked with highly traumatised clients in many types of institutions including psychiatric hospitals and prisons. I have a lot of experience working with people who have been hurt by others, people who hurt themselves (e.g. substance abuse, self-harm), and people who hurt other people.

However different they may be from one another, the one thing my clients continue to have in common with each other is that they have experienced some form of relational trauma. Usually something significant has happened or not happened (often repeatedly) in their relationships and connection with others.

People who have been deeply hurt by others are always looking for places to put their hurt – in themselves or in other people. My hope is to share with you my knowledge and experience so that you have a better understanding about trauma and how it can affect you and your relationships.

 

5. Useful Information about Dramatherapy

To many people, Dramatherapy is a mystery.

Dramatherapy may be a lesser known form of psychotherapy but it is equally effective in helping people with trauma-related issues, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD).

My aim is to educate and to dispel any myths around dramatherapy. I also hope to share different examples and ‘golden moments’ to demonstrate how dramatherapy works and how it can help you.

There are a lot more dramatherapy services for children and young people, and not as many for adults. People may be unaware of the value and benefits of dramatherapy. I hope to educate and share how dramatherapy can be very beneficial especially if you have experienced any kind of relational trauma and childhood trauma.

After all, dramatherapy is an action-based therapy. Great change can happen through talking about your relationships, connections and communication with others; and even greater change can happen if you actively engage in these topics by working experientially, creatively and symbolically.

 

6. Creativity Development

If in my blog I can share with you something that will inspire new ways of thinking about and perceiving your traumatic experiences, then we are working with the ideas of possibility and potential for change.

Having worked in a creative background for all my life, I have experienced creativity’s power to teach, to create social change and to heal. If I come across anything relevant that I think could also become resources for you and your self-development, I will of course write about it in this blog.

 

7. Therapeutic Themes, Insights and Dilemmas

This is a big one and will become the juiciest of posts. When working with trauma, I have observed many common themes, insights and dilemmas in therapy.

I will have a lot to share. I feel particularly drawn to write about the therapeutic relationship, what is often questioned and challenged in therapy, and new discoveries and reflections that come from clients too.

I hope these posts will be helpful for those thinking about taking up therapy and for those already engaged in therapy. The main aim of therapy is to help you, but when it stirs up uncomfortable feelings or challenges you, it may help you to understand why you may be thinking or feeling a certain way in the therapeutic process or relationship with your therapist. This is especially important for those who have experienced relational trauma and are wanting to start or are currently engaged in long-term therapy.

 

8. Trauma-Informed Advice and Tips

There’s already a lot of helpful information out there on mental health and wellbeing. For example, if you’re experiencing problems with sleep, you can probably find many resources with long lists of what to do and what not to do.

If you have been affected by traumatic experiences, please keep an eye on my tips. I will be sharing some helpful advice and tips which may be useful to you on a day-to-day basis. If what I share helps broaden your understanding of trauma, hopefully the advice and tips offered will feel more relevant, meaningful and effective in helping you.

 

9. Resources and Recommendations

A blog is the ideal space for me to share resources and recommendations that I think could be useful to you. For example, I may share quotes, images, videos, articles, books, films, events, apps, etc.

If you have come across my blog and would like to recommend something that has helped you, I would like to hear about your experience as this may be helpful to others.

 

10. News, Events and Updates

Whenever I have a big update on training workshops, events and publications, I will also share this in the blog. I will also make these announcements on social media so feel free to connect with me for regular updates:

 

If you have any requests for a blog post, please feel free to send your questions, comments or ideas to: jamie@ytherapy.com

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/

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