By: Calle Mendenhall
It’s no surprise that men are reluctant to go to therapy. Weakness, denial, stubbornness, cost, time, judgment from others (or of himself), and fear are the most common reasons for refusing to go. Yet men are also more likely to engage in risky activities in an attempt to make themselves physical stronger and seemingly tougher. So what gives? Unfortunately, I don’t have the exact answer for that but I do have some surprising benefits of therapy that will hopefully encourage more men to go.
1. Chronic Pain. Did you know that certain types of therapy can actually help your chronic back pain?
Lawyers are, for the most part, desk workers. The vast majority of us sit for hours upon end each week to read emails, court documents, and other necessary paperwork. As a result, it is not uncommon for us to have chronic back and/or neck pain. Treatment for these chronic pains can be expensive, long term, and extremely invasive. While medical doctors, chiropractors, and surgeons can treat the physical aspect of pain, psychologists can help you manage the mental side of dealing with pain without it affecting your work or interpersonal relationships.
In fact, physcological interventions for the treatment of chronic pain in older adults were found beneficial and strongest in group-based approaches in a 2018 systematic review of twenty-two studies and meta-analysis of over 2,500 patients published in JAMA.
2. Increase in Income. Aren’t we all looking for ways to increase our income?
At a minimum, therapy can save you the money that you’re spending to overcompensate for not feeling great, i.e.- when your “treat yourself” days become treat yourself weeks or when you’re buying your fifth overpriced journal because you’ve promised yourself you will actually use it this time. These purchases which we believe will make us feel better, rarely ever do.
But not only is saving money a benefit, one study found that men who saw a therapist for anxiety and depression saw an increase in their income by 13% the following year! Not only did income increase during this year period, but the study also noted that that the effects can be permanent. According to the authors and other psychologists, therapy can actually re-wire your brain in ways that helps building stronger relationships, better work ethic and greater work satisfaction.
3. Goal Setting. Did you know that therapists can help you set realistic steps and teach you skills and strategies to meet your life goals?
Therapy isn’t all about feelings. Therapy has a variety of uses including learning to communicate with others, sound-boarding different ideas, and even goal setting. While therapists aren’t going to tell you what to do or how to do it, therapists can help you take a deep dive into the what, why and how of your life goals.
Therapists have no affiliation or relationship with your coworkers, family or friends. This unbiased anonymity allows people the freedom to voice their secrets and ambitions without fear of judgment or expectations. Further, therapists are trained on different goal making strategies that they can use with you to help you create realistic steps to get you where you want to go in life. Some of these methods include the S.M.A.R.T. Method, G.R.O.W. method, and Locke and Latham’s 5 Principles of Goal Setting, among others. A therapist can work with you to determine which methods and strategies will work best for you, taking all the guess work and trial and error away on your end.
And P.S.- if Jon Hamm can do it, you can too: https://www.theguardian.com/global/2017/jun/18/jon-hamm-therapy-is-like-going-to-the-dentist
 Niknejad, et al. Association Between Physcological Interventions and Chronic Pain Outcomes in Older Adults, JAMA Intern Med. 2018; 178(6):830-839.