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    Counseling for Men

    A typical image of American men getting together involves beer and sports, jokes and complaints about women, a little backslapping, and awkwardness at the least hint of intimacy.  In this scenario men are simply tough and have no need to share their stories or sort through the substantial challenges of work, relationships, parenthood, friendship, health, money, sex, aging parents, and an increasingly complex world.

    At the other end of the spectrum is the equally compelling image of the Lone Wolf, the man who somehow burst into adulthood with all the skills, knowledge and emotional grit that he would ever need, a man who can stand alone and face the world with courage and fortitude without blinking.

    In either case men are supposed to accept the mystifying assumption that they should somehow know how to handle life’s difficulties without having been taught, that it is a weakness to admit ignorance, that it is absurd to be relieved when other men reveal that they are struggling with similar problems.  All too often our fathers–hampered themselves by the message to be stoic, by the demand to be a provider but not a nurturing parent, an enforcer of rules and not an encouraging presence–left us wounded and longing for an understanding mentor who would be pleased with our successes and helpful when we stumble, who could be playful and loving.