I see a lot of men in my therapy practice. And our conditioning as men is plain: to be tough, to be stoic, to be intolerant of feelings. To be strong and unflinching. Vulnerability is equated with weakness, and the man who can comfortably be in his heart may find himself shamed as weak, effeminate, or gay.
But real strength and courage are needed for feeling and being authentic. Men are conditioned to be problem-solvers on the surface – but this can create difficulty when emotional truth is called for in deeper relatedness, both with others and with oneself.
When a man has access to both problem-solving strength – and is able to give and receive emotional nurturance he gradually ceases being lopsided. Men are actually deeply emotionally capable, and feel themselves expanded and enhanced when they experience this.
Experientially based therapy, using mindfulness to access the dynamic present moment is profoundly supportive of this possibility of becoming more whole. When this therapy happens with a male therapist – someone who has traversed this territory, with all its pitfalls – it has particular power.