I’ve tried therapy twice in my young life.
I quit after the first session both times.
Why’d I go?
I thought it was the right thing to do given my baggage, traumas, emotional wounds… Why not talk it out with a professional?
Then it didn’t work for me, so I said “fuck that shit” and didn’t go again.
Why’d I quit so quickly both times?
It was too damn slow. All talk, no solutions. First time, I got a questionnaire to see if I had depression or an anxiety disorder. Negative for both. Both times, the therapist started with some basic “how’s your relationship with your parents, family, friends…” questions. At the time, it was all good. Why was I even there?
I decided to take care of my emotional pain on my own.
But not before I emotionally vomited onto the second therapist when our time was almost up, rapid-fired my baggage at her, and showed her some texts from an abusive dynamic on my phone that I was all like “look at how this fucker treated me” about.
It all needed to come out sometime.
So, does therapy benefit men?
If you’re on the bird app, you may have seen the tweets that spawned from one that was like “Men will literally get a gym membership and lift weights instead of going to therapy”. (I couldn’t find the original)
Like it or not, there’s a ton of truth to it.
Talk therapy doesn’t forge the masculine essence, especially when the therapist is a woman. ACTION does.
I don’t mean to paint all therapists, female or not, as incompetent. They’re diverse, plus they’re unique individuals like any of us. A suitable therapist for one person may be a bad fit for a bunch of other people.
It’s just that, if a man’s not fully in touch with his masculine essence, talk therapy can get him in a feminine cycle of endless self-validation. Without actually solving anything. Instead of getting to the point and creating solutions, in alignment with the workings of our male brains, we’re expected to vent, get emotional, look for validation, look at the past more than at the future.
The opposite of this is training – in the gym or for a sport. It’s not as much about talk. It’s all action. All about challenging oneself, creating a better future self through present discomfort. And for a man who feels weak and powerless, these activities can be just what raises him out of his depression and calms his anxiety. Plenty of men’s lives (including mine) have been saved by the gym, and you’d be a fool to deny that.
The masculine essence grows when it’s challenged and pushed to its edge. It grows and becomes healthier when it has conquest to pursue, when it has responsibilities, a mission, an obligation to the greater good.
As for the feminine essence, it’s nurtured by comfort, safety, and validation. And mental health advice to and from women prioritizes these things. Women want to love themselves as they are. Women want to feel like they’re intrinsically worthy. Women want to feel like they’re beautiful as they are.
This advice doesn’t work to solve a man’s insecurities and wounds, at least not without some masculine foundational work.
Men need to feel POWERFUL and CAPABLE before they can feel loved or validated. Otherwise, any love they receive will feel unearnt and patronizing. This love and validation may come with good intentions, but it won’t make them feel like MEN. It won’t do anything to satisfy the true needs of their male soul – conquest, moving forward in life and up in the world, being forged by their brothers and penetrating the souls of the women they desire, and carrying the burden of responsibility for part of the world.
The inverse is true for women – women need to feel LOVED and VALIDATED before they feel powerful or capable. Otherwise, their feminine essence will be weakened and forced into a masculine role. They won’t FEEL LIKE WOMEN, even if the person trying to help them genuinely wants to see them succeed.
When therapy helps men
A few guys in my life have gone to therapy, and it’s helped them. So I don’t mean to say that ANY therapy will drain the manhood out of you and stop you from seeking actual solutions to your issues. You just have to be mindful of what you’re getting into and why you’re getting into it.
Before you go to therapy, dear gent… Ask yourself the following:
1. Are you already connected to your masculine essence?
If you’re not already pushing your limits physically and mentally, and conquering new territory, start here.
Work out and feel the burn. Build some muscle. Exhaust your body through intense training. Train for a sport if that’s your calling.
This alone can be a therapeutic outlet for any chronic negative feelings you’re carrying, as well as a necessary way of metaphorically “sharpening your teeth”.
You can also solve difficult puzzles, take long walks in nature, work hard on something meaningful to you. Conquer this new territory like a man. As long as it’s not video games, fun as they can be.
2. Are you actually ready to solve your problems and face difficult truths?
In hindsight, I quit the first therapy sesh because I was already getting to know my edge in a few life pursuits, and that helped my mental health immensely.
The second time, I quit because I didn’t actually want to solve my problems. At least not by talking about them. I was committed to my path of self-destruction at the time and honestly, I wanted the therapist to talk me more into it, not out of it.
Could she have helped me solve them? I don’t know, maybe.
But in the end, only you can solve your own problems. The therapist won’t do it for you. They can offer coping strategies, exercises to improve your way of thought and release certain attachments, and potentially a helpful second perspective on your issues. This can identify blind spots and flawed ways of thinking in you, but you have to be open to being challenged in this way.
If you’d rather feel justified in your misery, like it IS who you are and your therapist is just there to validate your pain, therapy will only be a fashion statement to you.
3. Who is your therapist? How do they help their clients?
Like we already went over, not all therapists are created equally. Some want to milk you for as long as they can. Some genuinely want to see you quickly get better. Some get the male experience, and some don’t.
Vibe check your potential therapists. What kind of person ARE THEY? What are THEIR ways of life and THEIR inner models of how the world works?
Therapists are people too, not omnipotent problem solvers. You’ll want one who understands where you’re coming from.
4. Are you aware of WHY you’re going?
Emotional vomit is actually a good thing. All those repressed feelings and thoughts in you need to come out eventually. And it doesn’t have to be onto a girl you’re dating or onto a guy you met while shitfaced at a party (Lord knows I’ve made that mistake).
Don’t wait until you’re in therapy to face all these rough edges of your psyche. Vent them by yourself first. Write a journal or talk on camera if that helps. I do both, and it helps me A LOT.
Go into therapy with an action plan, not just because. That’s the mistake I made both times I went. I went because I felt obligated to, not because I actually felt it was right for me.
Therapy may or may not be for you. I don’t want to be dogmatic about it. It’s your call about whether you go.
If your problems are mostly in your dating life and you’ve considered conventional therapy to help you with your sexual life and energy but haven’t pulled the trigger…
I could have used a guy like me in the early days of my dating life.
Good day and good mental health,