Why Men Avoid Counselling
Recently someone pointed me to an article titled Husbands Feeling Inadequate in Counseling. The article, written by a man, says many men feel uncomfortable in counselling because they don’t speak the language, making them feel stupid. I think this is a brilliant observation.
When we feel out of place, we feel inadequate. No one likes feeling inadequate, and men usually react to it more strongly than women do. By react, I mean flee from it.
Counselling generally fits into how women think and feel, so for her it’s not much of a stretch. Women are generally better able to voice their feelings, and most find it fairly easy to do so even with someone they don’t know well. Many men find it difficult to even know their feelings, much less find words to express them. Men also tend to be rather closed about their feelings. Sharing with their wife is tough enough; doing it in front of a stranger is just crazy.
If you want your husband to do some counselling with you, you must understand why he finds it difficult so you can make it less threatening. I think counselling is best done with a husband and wife team, which makes him feel he has someone looking out for him. If you can’t find a team, I’d suggest you get a male counsellor. Your husband will be uncomfortable enough with a man; a woman will make it even harder. Also, understand the word “counselling” has negative connotations for men. “Coaching” and “mentoring” are much better words.
I’ve been talking recently with a fellow who says any married couple should meet with a professional counsellor twice a year, just as you should see a dentist twice a year. I see real wisdom in the idea. It makes counselling preventative maintenance for your marriage, and it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something wrong. Twice a year you get a check and some minor fixes. You both become comfortable with the counsellor and s/he gets a baseline reading for your marriage. Should you ever need help, you’ll be plugged in and ready to go. Preventive maintenance is great way to suggest counselling to your husband.
~ Paul – I’m XY and a marriage coach, and I understand why men get freaked out about counselling.
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