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Why men struggle being honest in therapy

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

And how to become more open and honest with a therapist

First Step Men's Therapy helps men across Ontario, Canada develop healthier relationships with themselves and others. We offer individual, couples, and group counselling to men and their families online using our secure telehealth platform.

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Quite often in the first session, I ask clients if they have had previous counselling experiences and what they liked or disliked about those therapeutic relationships. Often, men say to me "I just wasn't open and honest with my previous therapist. I felt like I would be judged or seen differently". Men may struggle at first with therapy, as it often involves breaking through vulnerability, openness, and emotional identification and expression.

Why do men struggle with being honest in therapy?

There are a variety of reasons why men may struggle with being honest in counseling. One reason may be societal expectations and stereotypes that suggest men should be strong and self-reliant, and that seeking help or being vulnerable is a sign of weakness. Additionally, men may also feel shame or embarrassment about discussing certain personal issues, and may be less likely to trust or open up to a therapist or counselor. Furthermore, Men may also have different communication styles than women and may be less likely to express their emotions verbally.

How can men be more honest in therapy? What are some tips or suggestions?

There are several ways that men can work to be more honest in therapy:

  1. Build trust with the therapist: Men may be more likely to open up if they feel comfortable and safe with their therapist. It's important to find a therapist that you feel you can trust and with whom you feel comfortable discussing personal issues.

  2. Challenge societal expectations: Men may feel pressure to conform to societal expectations of masculinity and may be less likely to express vulnerability. It's important to challenge these expectations and understand that it is okay to ask for help.

  3. Change the way you think about therapy: Men may view therapy as a sign of weakness, but it can be helpful to think of therapy as a way to become stronger and more self-aware.

  4. Practice active listening and self-disclosure: Men may be less likely to express their emotions verbally, but it can be helpful to practice active listening and self-disclosure in therapy. This can be done by reflecting on your thoughts and feelings before the session and sharing them with the therapist.

  5. Give yourself permission to be honest: It's important to give yourself permission to be honest and open about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in therapy.

  6. Communicate with the therapist about your concerns, if you are having difficulty being honest. The therapist can work with you to create a safe and comfortable environment where you can express yourself openly.

It's important to remember that being honest in therapy takes time and practice, and it's normal to feel uncomfortable or vulnerable at first. The most important thing is to keep an open mind and to be willing to work through these challenges.

Want to learn more?

Blog post on why so many men struggle with intimacy: Click here

Blog post on what does it mean to be my true self: Click here

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