Updated: Mar 1, 2020
By: Logan Cohen, Professional Therapist & Online Life Coach
We are generally taught that Men are simple creatures. Us Men like to be practical and would prefer not to get over emotional about things, but rather consider what the problem is, then deal with it head on until the job is done. While we are problem solving machines that can commit an incredible amount of focused energy on tasks to overcome obstacles, we become almost superhuman when the safety of our Loved Ones is at risk.
While we are often up for a challenge and certainly solving a problem, our brains are also just as capable of forming the same intensity of connection to Loved Ones that Women are. Even though we are frequently told that Men are not as naturally talented to authentically connect with others, this is actually a myth. This has NEVER been proven by research and in addition, we will never have to put our professional lives on pause to physically develop a human inside of our bodies...BONUS!
It seems like we get the best of both worlds in so many ways, so why are Men’s health problems worse?
I remember a time sitting in the office with a client at my private group practice in Charlotte, North Carolina (called New Leaf Counseling Group.) The client was a high functioning gentleman in his late 30s who landed in my office after a string of high risk behavior that was eventually discovered by his Wife, at which point she gave him the ultimatum every husband and father fears most, “You either fix these issues or I will divorce you.” Needless to say I, he picked up the phone and gave ma a call.
He came to me as a Professional Therapist because he knew something was very wrong not only behaviorally, but with his thought processes and emotional experiences too. His sleep was horrible and he had gained 30-40 pounds in the past few years. Over the course of our first session, I did a quick assessment for mental health issues in his Family and discovered the culprit, undiagnosed Depression, and especially with the Men in his family.
The client didn’t even realize it himself, but when he shared that his Father died when he was only 45 years old due to complications from diabetes, I was pretty sure what we were looking at. We got him scheduled with his primary care physician and my client shared the unabridged version of his story with his physician, as he was able to make different sense of it with the new self awareness. His medical doctor agreed that the symptoms matched diagnostic criteria for Depression and he was able to provide appropriate medical support to treat the issues and help my client stabilize successfully.
While diabetes is a nasty disease, it cannot kill you in a mere 45 years if you have access to healthcare and utilize it. However, I can safely say that a Man struggling with untreated Depression is probably the most dangerous health condition for us Men these days. It was not diabetes that killed my client’s father - it was Depression that convinced his Father that it was not worth taking care of himself, then the diabetes just finished the job. The age adjusted death rate for Men compared to Women in the country is about 40% higher. This means that for every 100,000 people that die every year in this country, 100 more Men died than Women.
How can this be? While there are many wonderful things about being a Man, there are also some aspects of Manhood that are in disagreement with each other, and this is an area that life coaching for men can be so helpful.
We receive a lot of mixed messages from our Friends, Family, Job, and Media that creates something the American Psychological Association refers to as “Gender Role Conflict.”
This happens when us Men experience gender expectations that do not support each other and create tension or conflict for us, even resulting in real-life negative consequences for ourselves and/or Loved Ones.
There are 6 basic expectations of traditional masculinity that hold true in American culture:
1) Opposition/aversion to weakness.
2) Success by definition of winning and accumulating resources (financial or otherwise)
3) Looking or appearing physically and mentally strong.
4) Courage, or willingness to engage an adversary with no guarantee of winning.
5) Emotional stoicism or restrictiveness.
6) Comfort with violence. (Not that we want to inflict violence, but that we should be able to “handle it” if we come in contact with it)
While the above characteristics can be large parts of a GREAT Man, a strict adherence to them can also set us Men up for complications to the health of ourselves and our Loved Ones.
There are 4 main areas life coaching for men can improve health outcomes when this gets us stuck:
#1 Improved Area From Life Coaching For Men - Over prioritization of "Success"
Over prioritization of success leads to deprioritization of other aspects of Life that are essential in order to maintain a healthy Balance. Life coaching for men can help you or your Loved One re-assess priorities to create the type of Balance that is required for each unique life situation. If there are active health problems playing out in our lives, that means something has got to change if we expect to improve health outcomes. While a life coach cannot treat an illness per say, we can certainly help you increase clarity around and create solutions for the barriers that have kept you stuck in the health problem.
#2 Improved Area From Life Coaching For Men - Accessing Available Support
Emotional restriction cuts us off from vulnerability, which makes it hard (and sometimes feeling impossible) to ask for help. The ability to express vulnerability and ask for help is what keeps us protected from burn-out, both physical and mental.
Regarding the story of the client’s father who died an early death from diabetes complications as a result of untreated Depression, I wonder what would have been different if he just asked for and accepted help?
While the burn-out associated with anxiety or depression symptoms might not be as visible as an amputated leg, you can see here that they can be just as DEADLY. Life coaching for men can help us Men to identify effective strategies and tips for Balancing our integrity with accepting needed help so we can stay healthy enough to enjoy our Lives.
#3 Improved Area From Life Coaching For Men - Increasing Awareness Around & Strategically Meeting Needs
When it comes to life coaching for men, a third area of frequent need is in our social worlds. Since we are taught to prioritize our work lives and achievement so intensely, our social lives easily fall to the wayside as we move through our lives. Through my years in private practice, I have frequently seen Men in my office who hadn’t had much in the way of real friendship for years - even decades. While our Work and resulting professional relationships can go a long way, they can only go so far when it comes to true intimacy.
In fact, we cannot be as productive and/or effective as we need to be professionally if we did not maintain appropriate professional boundaries, which also limits the more authentic interaction for these same reasons. We can get so out of touch regarding these needs, sometimes it takes life coaching for men to re-discover the importance of this aspect of their lives, as well as overcome any personal obstacles that might have developed over the years but now need to be addressed adequately if change is desired.
#4 Improved Area From Life Coaching For Men - Balance Role of Provider versus Family Man
Last, but certainly not least, life coaching for Men can be especially helpful for us to Balance our roles as Provider and Family Member. The expectations for us at Home and at Work are often quite different. Again, those professional boundaries are there to protect the workplace and everyone in it, but you hopefully don’t need that much protection at Home.
Home life is where we meet a bulk of those all important Love and Belonging Needs, and also where our Loved Ones depend on a personal connection with us to get their needs met. If we are not careful, us Men oftentimes go through life events that can make a Balance of these boundaries skewed. A desired outcome of life coaching for men might include increased awareness around how to Balance the roles of Provider and Family Man, as well as practical advice on how to navigate those spaces more beneficially.
My name is Logan Cohen and I am a Professional Therapist & Life Coach with over 10 years in the field of Counseling Psychology. I am a Clinical Supervisor for the American Association of Marriage & Family Therapy, as well as the founder of New Leaf Counseling Group, LLC in Charlotte, NC. After spending tens of thousands of clinical hours with my own clients, starting a successful group practice, as well as a beautiful Family, I “picked my head up from the grindstone” to check in on childhood Friends & Loved Ones.
I painfully discovered that more than a few of my childhood Friends passed away at a young age from preventable health conditions and decided that as a Man, Husband, Father, and Friend, I could no longer stand by as People suffered in silence and self-destructed rather than ask for help. It doesn’t have to be like that and the holistic healing methods offered by the Balanced Man Plan is designed to help People “get unstuck” and break free from old patterns that are the barriers between Self & quality of Life.
The Balanced Man Plan is a therapeutic digital experience delivered through Self-Guided Coaching Plans created by a Male Therapist with the common barriers & strengths of Men in mind. The Balanced Man Plan has the goal of introducing a natural Balance back to Life so it is sustainable for the optimal Health & Well-Being of Self and Loved Ones - and ALL from the privacy and comfort of Home. If you have enjoyed what you see so far, check out our Self Guided Coaching Plans!