Counseling for Emerging Men

Support for the Transition Between Boyhood and Manhood
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About Counseling for Emerging Men

“Emerging Adulthood” is a relatively new term coined to describe the unique phase of life that has surfaced in America just in the last few decades. Loosely defined as the period between 18-25 years of age, emerging adulthood is marked by a feeling of “being in between.” Emerging adults have pulled clear of the struggles of adolescence and are starting to feel responsible for themselves, but are still closely tied to parents and family. 

Emerging men in particular are in need of more support during this critical place in their journey. These “Men Between” often sit at the crossroads of “Grow Up” and “Man Up,” with little guidance as to what either of those even mean. Well-meaning parents, still reeling from the healthy rebellion of teen years, can appear “too close” to the situation to provide meaningful help. Peers can provide much-needed emotional support and commiseration but lack the tools and perspective that comes with life experience.

My aim is to provide a space for young men to feel cared for and supported while also doing the difficult-but-rewarding work of self-discovery, discernment, and maturation. I want to empower Emerging Men to step into their full, healthy masculinity, to use their gifts and power for good, and to live life according to the stories of their own hearts. If you or a young man you know is feeling overwhelmed, lost, directionless, angry, or out of control, I am here to offer a firm but compassionate hand.

Common Emerging Men’s Issues

Although each man is unique, my practice has illuminated several common reasons for seeking therapy:

  • Self-medication through drugs, alcohol, work, sex, or relationships
  • Angry outbursts
  • Social anxiety and frequent comparison to others
  • Intense feelings of inadequacy
  • Difficulty adjusting to life transitions, which often occur in rapid succession
  • Exploring sex, sexuality, and sexual identity
  • Sexual concerns including premature ejaculation, delayed ejaculation, performance anxiety, or difficulty getting and maintaining an erection
  • Difficulty managing practical aspects of life such as scheduling and project management
  • Career and job market exploration
  • Difficulty navigating intimate relationships; questions about love, sex, dating
  • Recovering from adverse childhood experiences
  • Insomnia and other sleep difficulties
  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm
  • Body image issues
  • Grief and loss
  • Athlete identity
  • Spirituality, existential and faith questioning

Tasks of Mature Masculinity

Over the years, I have refined a model of Mature Masculinity, which I contrast with Toxic Masculinity, that serves as a roadmap for our work. I find that addressing masculinity specifically reinforces the therapeutic work, and vice-versa. These tasks include:

  • Balancing the desire to “do” with the need to “be”
  • Heal confusion between sex and love
  • Express grief over the absence of our fathers
  • Transform ambivalence towards women and children
  • Understand how we push shame away through grandiosity
  • Learn to heal shame while limiting destructive behaviors
  • Risk getting close to other men
  • Acknowledge and courageously confront hidden childhood abuse
  • Explore the origins of physical and emotional violence and commit to ending it
  • Reconnect with primal masculine energy and harness positive power

 

How Therapy With Me Can Help

  •  Provide a safe and confidential place to process aspects of life that seem difficult to bring up with parents and peers
  • Build social and relationship skills
  • Explore and re-evaluate relationship with alcohol and other substances without labels or judgement
  • Learn skills for managing anxiety and overwhelm in order to tolerate more challenging situations
  • Begin uncovering a young man’s unique gifts and talents so that he can serve the world passionately and compassionately
  • Explore and re-define adulthood, manhood, and masculinity
  • Learn to listen to, honor, and harmonize the various internal voices or “parts” of Self
  • Provide support and guidance for increasing self-sufficiency while honoring our inherent relatedness

Recommended Resources

Books