Men are Less likely to Seek Psychotherapy or Counselling than Women

Men are More Reluctant to Seek Psychotherapy and Counselling help than Women

In a recent article published in the BACP’s monthly magazine, ‘Therapy today’, Colin Penning writes, “Many people think men’s emotional literacy and ability to articulate their feelings is less than that of women. The question then is, do these assumptions about men reflect a stereotype or a reality? This was the question that Relate and the Men’s Health Forum set out to explore in their new report Try to See it My Way.

We know that men are more reluctant than women to seek support and advice when relationships run into difficulties. Far fewer men use telephone advice and helpline services. We also know that men are less likely to access counselling services generally. Men make up just 36 per cent of referrals to the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme. They are also under-represented in relationship support services: just 44 per cent of Relate’s clients are men.

So why can’t (or won’t) men seek help for emotional problems? The first and most obvious answer is that men are socialised not to admit to vulnerability, which is a prerequisite of securing help. The second is that maybe we aren’t offering the kind of support that men can relate to and that they find helpful.

The report suggests work is a key factor. Men’s tendency to work longer hours can cause relationship problems and conflicts around the life–work balance; financial difficulties can increase pressure on the man, who is often still the primary breadwinner in the family.

One of the key findings of the report is that men and women have very different approaches to communication. Insights generated by two focus groups of Relate counsellors found that men have a tendency to want to ‘solve problems’ while women want to discuss change and understand why things have happened. So men are coming to counselling with unrealistic expectations.

But the Relate counsellors told us that men may have become more open to the idea of relationship counselling in recent years. And they told us there may be things we can do to reach out to and engage men in taking better care of their own emotional health.

Our report makes a series of recommendations. Some are to national Government around raising men’s awareness of the importance of emotional health and making personal, social and health education a statutory requirement in schools. ”

Admitting to finding things difficult and seeking help is not a weakness. The therapists at The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice have many years experience working through issues presented by male patients in order to discover what lies at the root of their difficulties.

The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice is found at 121 Harley Street, London.

Psychotherapy Support for Actors

Research Shows Psychological Vulnerability in Actors

A recent study by California State University looked at the psychology of the sort of people who choose to become actors. The results imply that these people tend to be imaginative but also emotionally vulnerable.

Paula Thomson and S. Victoria Jaque wrote in the Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts journal that “Our study adds to the body of research that suggests there is a psychological cost for participants engaged in the creative arts”.

Their study looked at 41 professional actors living in Cape Town. Toronto and Los Angeles and compared them with people from other artistic groups such as athletes and art lovers.

What they discovered was that, “Even though there was no difference between the two groups for past traumatic events, more actors were unable to maintain narrative coherence when discussing memories of past trauma and loss.” The actors struggled when attempting to discuss past traumas which the researchers felt suggested that they find it harder to resolve these traumas.

The researchers illustrated how the actors had an increased ability to “remain engaged, regulated and coherent during the interview process”, however, they were also more likely to show signs of confusion, prolonged silence or “unsuccessful failures to deny a traumatic or loss event”. Thomson and Jaque argue that this suggests “a greater vulnerability for psychological distress”.

Thomson and Jaque give a note of caution to those thinking of an acting career in therapeutic terms: “Actors may have enhanced their imagination through the practice of acting or they may have entered a career that supports their heightened predisposition for fantasy.”

For those who do choose to become actors, there is psychological support available in the form of talking therapies such as psychotherapy and counselling. This can help develop an understanding of past traumas and resolve feelings surrounding them.

The psychotherapists at The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice on London’s Harley Street, work with people of all backgrounds, including members of the performing arts who struggle with emotional and psychological problems.

Depression Amongst Sportsmen Suggests More Recourse to Psychotherapy

A Growing Awareness of Sportsmen Struggling with Depression Suggests a Greater Need for Psychotherapy

In a documentary on the BBC last week, ‘The Hidden Side of Sport’, England cricketer Freddie Flintoff explored the depression suffered by high performing sportsmen and why, until recently, little was knows as to the extent of depression suffered amongst this demographic.

We were told that statistically, 1 in 10 sportsmen suffer depression whilst there are more suicides amongst cricketers than in any other sport.

Flintoff described experiencing “unbelievable highs and dramatic lows” during his cricketing career but often asked himself, “What’s wrong with me”, when everything seemed to be going so well, and yet he still felt low. He was winning and yet he still felt depressed.

He put on a show and gave a front of confidence that he did not feel, so that everyone on the outside thought everything was alright, until things started unravelling in 2006-2007.

“I didn’t want anyone thinking there was anything to be got at. I didn’t want people knowing I wasn’t that confident person”, “I was seen as this character who was unflappable”, so he hid behind a “happy go lucky” character.

However, he simply could not escape his feelings and drank in order to find another way of coping with how he felt, but this just exacerbated things. He said he was, “drinking to escape, change how I felt”, but depression was still there and the come down from the drinking and the behaviour during it caused him embarassment and shame; he mentioned how he felt the “disapointment people had in me”.

His fellow team player, Steve Harmison described how he felt that playing sport, throwing himself into it was an escape from his feelings, however eventually this way of avoiding what was going on for him ceased to work as he experienced hyperventiltion and panic attacks. He also mentioned that he didn’t know why he felt that way.

Boxers Barry McGuigan and Ricky Hatton also suffered from depression. They both described how all boxers doubt their ability in the ring and yet they are unable to express their fears. “Never show fear. Never show intimidation” said McGuigan.

Hatton descrided how he thought his depression was triggered by boxing. He had such a pride in boxing and in himself as a boxer, then he started to loose and he had to come to terms with that and the end of his career. The loss of his itentity as a boxer seems to have contributed to his depression.

Hatton too, as with Flintoff, turned to drink to try and resolve his feelings with similar results. He said, “Suffering from depression then add drink to it, its like a  runaway train”. Hatton tried to deal with his problems by himself, in secret, however, Barry McGuigan had a close family to whom he turned. He said that other boxers did not have this and did not wish to seek help from a counsellor or psychotherapist. Hatton backed this up by stating, it is “very very hard for a man to go to someone and say “I need help”. It’s tough”.

Vinnie Jones, another man seen to have been successful in life, described how he came very close to suicide with depression. He said, “You feel so degraded in yourself. Every bit of pride was taken out of me. Why are these people putting up with me?”. He went on to say that there was no one to turn to within sport and that depression was ignored as it was, “taken as a weakness”. Jones was fearful of how admitting to depression would affect those around him and their opinions of him.

In an interview with Piers Morgan, the ex editor described his feelings at the time towards the depression suffered by sportsmen. He thought that a person could not be depressed if they have wealth and fame. It was impossible and, “You know what, get over it…”.

It seems that his attitude was that lucky and talented people have no entitlement to depression. Fortunately, Morgan’s attitude has since changed. Matthew Syed backed this up by saying that in his opinion people assume that if you have money and fame etc then you are in a “psychological nirvna”.  However, it is the fear of this attitude in others that often stops men seeking help for depression in the form of talking therapy, such as psychotherapy or counselling. Dr. Steve Bull, a cricket team psychologist said that attitudes to depression amongst sportsmen are changing but he acknowledged that, as 10% of the population in any given year are liable to experience some form of anxiety and depression, more attention should be given to the mind as well as the body.

He too seems to support Hatton’s feelings that sportsmen are obsessed with what they do, that there is a personal identity with their sport and that it is alright when things are going well but terrible when not. However, he did not think that sport caused depression, seeming to imply that it is more the feelings about the sport and the level of participation in that activity. This could be applied to many activities.

Dr. Bull also thought that there is a greater awareness of depression in sport because of the publicity, not that this is a new phenomenon.

The above experiences of high functioning sportsmen can be applied to the experiences of many men in every walk of life. Even if life seems to tick all the positive boxes, there may still be inexplicable feelings of depression.

Identifying with one’s work so that failure is not an option can be similar to how sportmen identify with their sport. Pressure to succeed in work or private life  can add to a sense of being unable to cope. Fear of others attitudes towards depression may prevent men seeking help, such as committing to a course of psychotherapy. Fears of weakness, of social exclusion or feelings of shame may all contribute to not seeking help and support but suffering alone and ultimately may lead to self destructive behaviour, such as drinking (as with Hatton and Flintoff) or drugs. However, as Flintoff said, to “talk about my feelings was good to do”.

“Disappointments as a player I’ve tried to forget, bury my head in the sand a bit. But confronting some things, I think has helped me tackle some of my insecurities head on”.

“I think moving forward I can let go a little bit. I don’t want to have to pretend to be what I’m not. Nor do I want to play up to what everyone wants from me. I think its just time to be myself”.

The therapists at The London Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice provide a confidential therapeutic environment in which to discuss and explore difficult feeings. They provide non judgemental, open minded, professional support.

The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice is based at 121 Harley Street, London.

Alpha Male Depression and Suicide

The Alpha male affected by depression will often hide his symptoms, fearing that they will appear ‘weak’ by their colleagues, families and friends. The need to remain at the top of the pile is so ingrained in the Alpha male, that to look for help is shaming. The recent suicide of Gary Speed, hugely successful player turned manager, came as an enormous shock to his family, friends and football fans. Only the evening before his death, he appeared on national television, apparently relaxed, focused and in control. Hours later he hanged himself. If we are to learn anything from this tragic suicide, it is that men have an enormous capacity not to express, or share, their vulnerabilities but instead are often  able to hide overwhelming feelings behind a veneer of joviality and success.

Sadness and low mood are not the only indicators of depression and, to the untrained eye, depression is not always easy to spot, especially among men. Classic symptoms of male depression include anger, irritability and excessive risk taking with sex, alcohol, drugs, work or dangerous sports. At worst, depression can lead to suicidal thoughts and feelings – 80% of suicides are related to depression. Suicidal thoughts and feelings should be an indicator that help is needed, immediately. Psychotherapy and counselling can be a helpful deterrent to suicide, often in combination with medication.

Entering  counselling or psychotherapy can help the depressed man discover the roots of his depression and offer an outlet for expressing the feelings that are so hard to share with others. In psychotherapy and counselling at The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice, no one is judged. The individual will be heard with empathy, intelligence and discretion. At The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice, the counsellors/psychotherapists work closely with Harley Street General Practitioners and Psychiatrists so can refer, within the same day, for medication, where appropriate.

Getting help for your depression through psychotherapy and counselling can make a huge difference in your life.

Different Genders, Different Reaction to Anxiety

Psychotherapy is an Effective Treatment for Anxiety in Both Genders

In a study looking into the prevalence by gender of different types of common mental illnesses and published in the America Psychological Association’s Journal of Abnormal Psychology, researchers found that women with anxiety disorders are more likely to internalise their emotions, which typically results in, “withdrawal, loneliness and depression”. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to externalise their emotions. This can lead to “aggressive, impulsive, coercive and noncompliant behaviour”. With this study the researchers were able to demonstrate that the difference in the way men and women internalise and externalise their reactions to difficult, anxiety provoking situations can account for gender differences in prevalence rates of many mental disorders.

The research took into account age and ethnicity as well as gender.

Lead author Nicholas R. Eaton, MA, of the University of Minnesota said that women may suffer depression more than men because they “ruminate more frequently than men, focusing repetitively on their negative emotions and problems rather than engaging in more active problem solving”.

Research has also indicated that women report more stressful life events before the onset of a disorder than men do, indicating that environmental stressors may also contribute to women’s internalising of their difficulties.

Exploring triggers that can lead to externalising or internalising behaviour patterns with a professional psychotherapist is an important step in understanding anxiety and preventing the development of more clinically significant depression.

The psychotherapists at The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice on Harley Street in Central London, can help with this exploration and have many years of experience working with anxiety and depression.

Psychotherapy and Employee Absence

Research Shows Psychotherapy can Help Lower Work Absence

Research has recently been undertaken using information taken from employee assistant programmes. It reveals that 52% of those surveyed said that without the help and support received from counselling and psychotherapy professionals their concerns would have caused them to miss work. The research also showed that only 17% felt that their ability to cope with their job was ‘good’ or ‘very good’ before they had counselling whilst 64%  said it was after counselling.

4213 employees from a range of businesses were questioned regarding the effects of the psychotherapy they received upon their capacity to work well and efficiently. However, it was also found that there was a knock on effect to the counselling. Those surveyed reported a positive effect upon their personal lives, with 9% saying that their personal life was ‘good’ or ‘very good’ before the psychotherapy, but with 57% saying that was the case after counselling. 

Relationships with work colleagues also improved with 23% stating that they were ‘poor’ before psychotherapy, but only 2% afterwards. 

Unconscious thoughts and feelings concerned with our lives and experiences can affect how we feel about and experience our work and relationships. Psychotherapy and counselling can help you gain a better understanding of why you may be finding life and work dissatisfying. The psychotherapists at The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice in London can help guide your exploration which can lead to a better sense of well being.

Can Psychotherapy Help With Anger?

Psychotherapy Counselling for Anger

Reports show that the amount of people suffering from anger management issues is on the rise.

Mike Fisher, the director of the British Association of Anger Management said, “We suspect that anger in our society is reaching pandemic levels, but there’s very little help available”. He goes on to say, ” ..more people are seeking help, but we know that domestic violence is increasing: eight women on average are killed a month. Workplace stress is also rising, and where there’s stress, there’s anger”.

A recent BAAM study found that, out of the 715 people who took part,  84% of them had experienced verbal and emotional abuse in the last 24 months. “Twice as many women responded than men, with 36% more women appearing to be abused,” says Fisher. “But both sexes report a disturbingly high percentage of abuses.”

In The Mental Health Foundation’s 2009 report, Boiling Point it was shown that 28% of adults were worried about how angry they sometimes feel, and 32% had a friend or relative with problems dealing with anger. One spokes person said,  “Chronic intense anger is linked with heart disease, stroke, depression, self-harm, substance abuse, colds and flu, higher stress levels and negative relationships, such as parental abuse.”

Fisher says early intervention is crucial: “The government has announced £400m to modern psychological therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy, but CBT doesn’t get to childhood trauma, which is the root of serious anger problems.”

In depth Psychotherapy, such as psychodynamic psychotherapy, helps to explore early childhood relationships and experiences and uncover powerful feelings that may be behind the present anger. An understanding of the origins of these feelings can alleviate the hold it may feel that anger has over you. Negative emotions need to be taken seriously when it comes to our mentral health.

The Therapists at The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice in London’s Harley Street have worked for many years with people struggling with anger issues.

Therapy For Post Miscarriage Mothers

Should Post Miscarriage Mothers Talk To A Psychotherapist

Last week, news of Amanda Holden’s late term miscarriage made the headlines. Losing a baby to miscarriage is hard for all women, and at all times during pregnancy, but there is something particularly tragic when a mother loses a fully formed, and otherwise viable, baby.

In our society miscarriage remains a bit of a taboo, it’s not really talked about, which leaves it hard for women to find the space to grieve. Family and friends often don’t know how to respond. Was this a life and therefore a death? Or was it a foetus, with no real identity? For many mothers, a bond is already formed with the unborn child, especially in the later stages of pregnancy. Dreams are created, hopes are formed, and then the baby dies, leaving an agonising void. Mothers are left bereft and yet often struggle to have their pain validated and understood. They are often expected to quickly pick up and move on, to try again.

Feelings after a miscarriage can be truly overwhelming for a mother and, if these feelings are not explored and shared, they could lead to depression. It’s really important that feelings felt by a mother post miscarriage, are explored and not shut down. A woman needs to find the space to grieve, Often a course of psychotherapy or counselling can really help process the overwhelming and difficult feelings a woman goes through post miscarriage. Talking to a therapist in confidence can offer a mother the space and the understanding that she needs. At The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice, in Harley Street, the psychotherapists are highly experienced in dealing with post-natal loss. The therapists are compassionate and work entirely confidentially.

Valentines Day, Relationship Problems & Psychotherapy….

Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice Works With Relationship Problems…..

Today, Valentines day, the helpline The Samaritans, will have their busiest day since the 25th of December. It seems that today, the pressure to be in a happy, loving relationship is really felt and can push many to the brink.

Even in relatively solid relationships the cracks can show on a day like today, when expectations aren’t met, when one partner tries that bit harder than the other it can leave us feeling vulnerable, uncertain and insecure.

People who are in relationships that are lacking in love, kindness or intimacy often struggle with symptoms like stress, anger or depression as a result of feeling unloved and insecure within their relationship.

Getting out of an unhealthy relationship, that lacks love, can be very difficult. People become worn down by the misery, often believing that they don’t deserve any better and that they’ll never find a relationship where they will be loved and respected.  Self-esteem is eroded, making moving on very difficult.

Psychotherapy and counselling can really help provide the support and understanding needed when a relationship is going wrong. Therapy can help individuals re-build self-esteem and re-think what they want, need and deserve.

At The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice, on Harley Street, London, the therapists are fully qualified and highly experienced in dealing with relationship break down. The therapists work with individuals and couples, helping them process difficult feelings and understand their behaviour and enable the individual, or couple, to move on, to a more healthy way of relating.

Early Psychotherapeutic Intervention

The Government wants to nip mental health issues in the bud; to treat anxious and depressed children and young people before they develop long-term mental health problems.  What does a psychotherapist think?

This is a good concept. Early intervention in mental health problems is important and the right kind of intervention can prevent long-term difficulties. It’s not always easy to spot mental health issues in our children though. Symptoms can go un-noticed. A child who withdraws into their bedroom for days on end just wanting to play on the Xbox or Play Station could go ignored and their problems put down to teenage behaviour. It maybe though, that the child is depressed, struggling in relationships perhaps and is withdrawing as a symptom of his or her depression.

A child who over eats, or who under eats, could be thought of  as ‘enjoying their food’ or ‘fad dieting’. Prolonged over eating, or under eating, would suggest eating disorder. Badly behaved children, angry or destructive, could be acting out; externalizing painful feelings.

Children need to be listened to: to have a safe space where their feelings and fears and stresses can be expressed. It’s hard sometimes to find the time, in our busy working lives, to really listen to our children or to observe their behaviour. But it’s important that we try.

The Government is recommending CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which, while sometimes effective in the short term, does not actually tackle the underlying causes of the anxiety or depression. If the government are to really halt the increase in mental health problems, among the young,  it seems important that a range of psychological therapies are available, tailored to suit the needs of each individual.

At The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice, in Harley Street, the therapists practice a range of effective talking therapies; all designed to tackle the underlying cause of the problems patients present with. The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice is currently working with many young people suffering with eating disorders, depression and anxiety.