When men reach out to me to start counseling for the first time, they are often unaware of what the process looks like, what their role is and what my role is. We begin to answer these questions during the initial consultation and throughout the therapy journey. Despite not knowing what it all looks like, many men have some understanding of what they want to learn or how they want their life to look different which is a great starting point. 

The Secret Sauce of Counseling

If we are able to achieve a client’s initial goals or vision for their life, then mission accomplished!  But I have also found that there is a secret sauce to counseling when clients learn or develop in a way that they never expected. As I start to reflect upon the hundreds of men who have worked with Launch Point Counseling, there are some unexpected impacts that seem to stand out. This blog post explores the top 5 hidden benefits of the counseling experience for men. 

Top 5 Hidden Benefits of Counseling for Men

     1. Moving from asking “why” to implementing “what and how”

Many men start the counseling process wanting to know why a symptom has shown up, why they are behaving in a particular way, why they are experience a change in their mood or why they can’t seem to change on their own. I get it. It stands to reason that if we can get to the source of the problem, we can solve the problem. And in some cases, there is absolute validity to this. But in other cases, we will never know the “why.” And if we continue to track down the why, we might remain stuck and change sputters. I have found that if men are open to coexisting with not knowing why, they are more capable of learning what tools or interventions help them to recover and how to go about implementing these resources. 

     2. Learning how to reconnect with our bodies 

I recently had a new client ask me how he might begin to change how he thinks. Essentially he wanted to rework his entire perspective of the world. Instead of seeing grey clouds in the sky, he wanted to find a way to see past this and appreciate the sound and smell of the rain. Absolutely! I love doing this kind of cognitive work with clients. But when we began to explore his internal emotional response and how his body responds when his central nervous system is activated, I was met with a blank stare. While I absolutely believe in the power of our own cognition—how and what we think, I often wonder if the body is the most underutilized tool in the counseling process. When we can begin to learn how to listen to our body, use our body as a tool to self regulate and use our body as a resource to heal and recover—anything is possible. 

     3. Recognizing that the counseling experience can reflect back to “real life”

I have a very distinct memory of sitting in my graduate courses for counseling learning that what a client presents in the counseling space is often a microcosm for the rest of their life. For example, if I have a male client who is entirely avoidant in the counseling office—there is a good chance that he is avoidant outside of the counseling space. The inverse of this is true as well. When we start to develop and identify meaningful insight and behavior change in the counseling space, this can absolutely be applied to other parts of a person’s life. For example, when I have a client who is learning how to ask open ended questions about their own emotional response to some stimulus, they might discover that they can also do this same process with their partner, their children, their friends, colleagues or whomever is a part of their social network. 

     4. Learning how to notice and manage the self

We live in a world that moves so quickly. This applies to both individual moments and entire lifetimes. It seems like just yesterday I was out playing in the summer streets until dusk settled. And when we factor in the role of technology, our days move even quicker. One of the areas that I like to encourage my clients to consider is learning how to slow way down and begin to notice what is happening within themselves, completely independent of their external environment. One of the benefits of the counseling space, unlike every other space in our lives, is that it’s completely free of distraction. No phones (ideally). No other people. No work. No intrusion. And when we can begin to notice and observe ourselves—cognitively, emotionally and somatically—we can learn how to manage our selves in a way that will be most effective. Without the ability to slow way down in a world that moves at lightning speed, the ability to manage becomes incredibly difficult. 

     5. Recognizing that human connection can be enjoyable again

More recently with my male clients, it seems like one of the universal concerns is a lack of human connection. This might show up as a lack of connection with their partner, children, parents, siblings and friends. Many men describe this as “drifting” or “existing”. This is often a very painful place to be because it results in feeling incredibly isolated and lonely. When a new client walks through my door, I can guarantee that one of our first orders of work is to create space and opportunity to connect. This might look like laughter, sharing stories (mostly the client sharing!), exploring, dreaming and practicing curiosity. Overtime, this connection evolves into a relationship. That’s literally what counseling and therapy is—we are building a therapeutic relationship and this might be the most important process of this art and science. And if we are able to achieve this connection and relationship, there is a good chance that the person across from me might begin to realize that human connection is not only possible but it is fun again. 

Moving Forward

The reality is that there are no shortage of benefits and potential outcomes when someone begins the counseling experience. It often starts with what the individual wants from the experience and continues with the counseling relationship and the work that happens both inside and outside of the office. But when we take a moment to peel back the layers of more obvious change, we begin to see that there are benefits that are sometimes hidden to the naked eye. This is a reminder that we can all keep an open mind about what could or might happen when any of us begins the therapeutic journey. 

Men’s Counseling in Cincinnati, OH 45040

If you are a man who is considering counseling for the first time and you are wondering about what you might gain from the therapy process (both the expected and unexpected), you may benefit from men’s counseling at Launch Point Counseling in Mason, OH, north of Cincinnati, OH. To learn more or schedule an intake appointment, please contact Launch Point Counseling or schedule an appointment today.  

About the Author:

Brad Fittes

I began my education at the University of Tennessee but eventually made my way to Columbus and graduated from The Ohio State University in 2006 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and in 2008 with a Master of Arts in Counselor Education. I am proud to have graduated from the Counselor Education program at Ohio State, a nationally ranked counseling program. I am a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (E.0701092) in the state of Ohio. I am in the process of completing my Supervision designation so that I can support the development of other counselors. I have 15 years of work experience in community mental health, higher education private practice and military Veteran’s services Since 2008, I have been practicing counseling utilizing the following theoretical approaches: Person-CenteredCognitive Behavioral Therapy(CBT), Family Systems, and Solution Focused Therapy.
I primarily work with the following populations

  • Teenagers (and families) who may be depressed, anxious, isolated from peers, having difficulty in school or conflict at home
  • Young adults who may feel lost, disconnected from their surroundings, questioning their identity, trouble transitioning from high school to college or college to the workforce
  • Men (and partners) who may have difficulty managing work and family responsibilities, poor communication skills, difficulty expressing emotion and trouble transitioning in life (i.e. retirement, death of a loved one, divorce, new parent, etc.)