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Working With Male Clients

Insights from Ryan Shick for Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month

“Please share with us your experience of what it’s like working with male clients and how you approach their care differently” 

In my experience, men often seek counselling to understand themselves better, particularly in relation to their life circumstances and primary social supports. They value clear direction in both the counselling process and their lives. Men tend to be receptive listeners, open to new perspectives and tools, and are straightforward about their challenges. They are also good at learning new skills and applying them effectively. With increased self-awareness, their cautious optimism grows as they realize they have viable options for positive change.

I use a strengths-based approach, helping clients build on their existing strengths and skills. This method resonates well with male clients. A key aspect of my approach involves focusing on values, helping men connect with what’s most important in their lives, such as mental health, relationships, self-care, personal growth, work-life balance, and fulfillment. From this values focus, we develop actionable goals.

Men typically desire a sense of direction. I maintain a structured game plan in my counseling sessions, focusing on clients’ goals. This makes the process purposeful and effective. I also help men create practical steps to implement between sessions. Exploring feelings is crucial, as many men aren’t used to discussing their emotions unless prompted. Emphasizing self-compassion is also important, as many men tend to be hard on themselves.

My approach is respectful and empowerment-based, listening attentively and treating clients as equals. I aim to help clients become more self-aware, fulfilled, resilient, and confident.

“What are some of the most common concerns that you work on with clients?”

I have found that men seek counselling for a variety of reasons, but typically for anxiety, relationship issues, stress, burnout, negative thinking, self-esteem issues, depression, lack of motivation, anger management, procrastination, discovering purpose, and a desire for increased happiness and self-awareness.

“ In your opinion, what do Men need in counselling/ from their counsellor?” 

Men need to feel heard, validated, understood, and supported. They seek to understand themselves better, discover options, have goals and plans, feel they are not alone, be accountable, get an independent perspective, and have coping tools. Optimism and hope are derived from their strengths, the encouragement of their counsellor, and the belief that meaningful change is possible.

“What do you feel is one of the biggest barriers preventing men from seeking support through counselling? And how do we work to change that?” 

One of the biggest barriers to counselling is getting men to take the first step. Manifest’s community presence and male-focused marketing encourage men to try counselling. The welcoming and caring support from Manifest’s administration motivates clients to connect with a counsellor. Establishing safety and connection quickly is crucial, as is creating value within and between sessions to keep clients engaged. Manifest counsellors excel at building rapport and fostering hope for positive change.

In conclusion…

For Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s crucial to recognize the unique ways men experience and benefit from counselling. Understanding their needs, employing effective approaches, and breaking down barriers can help men lead healthier, more fulfilling lives.

Break the stigma ❌

You are enough 😇

Break the stigma ❌

You are enough 😇

Don’t just talk about it, do it ✨

Don’t just talk about it, do it ✨

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