Coaching, Counselling and Therapy, Online and in Chorley
At the outset I (David) would like to say that I have a long history of working successfully with both men and women – I do not only work with men. And of course both men and women present with similar issues and difficulties: feeling “worried, anxious, inadequate, stressed, fearful or depressed” as we said on our home page.
However, men and women are very different.
Of course, we are all unique, with unique life-experience. However men and women are different right down to the arrangement of proteins in our DNA, right down to the way we were treated as babies. It is my experience that nowadays these differences are less likely to be considered (by both men and women) as so very significant – and this is a mistake.
So I have come to realise that, being a man who has lived, worked, played and, yes, messed up for a long time, that I have something extra to offer men who are experiencing difficulties in knowing what it is to be a man in the modern world, how to find our way, how to relate to the world and of course how to relate to our partners and our children.
When women are suffering, they often choose to speak to their friends and family, and often only come to me when that doesn’t do it for them. To increase the misery, men in trouble have a tendency to isolate themselves, so that it becomes more difficult for men to find or to access counselling or life-skills coaching. Women are better than us at that – but we can decide that we want to live our lives in a more fulfilling way too.
Men can easily see the word “help” as an admission of failure. A request for counselling, or for life coaching, is no more a request for “help” than learning any new skill, like football, or nuclear physics. It is a part of being responsible and assertive in our lives, which is a big part of what being a man is about.
But I do understand that image is important in the workplace and elsewhere. While other men may – quite wrongly – judge us “unmanly” for seeking therapy it makes sense for us to do this work quietly in the background and be very careful who we tell.
In some mythical past time, both men and women knew their roles in the world, knew who they were, what was expected of them. It was very predictable and tidy. (Actually I doubt it was ever quite like that- but hey.) Certainly things seem less certain nowadays, and both men and women are finding it difficult to know what to expect from themselves and each other. Many men feel they have lost their sense of what it is to be a man in the modern world, and this causes real distress, real stress. Many men seek to compensate by squandering their male energy in harmful and self-harming behaviours like abusive relationships, violent behaviour, over-working and the various addictions. These are a poor substitute for a rich and satisfying life.
For many years men were able to dominate women and children at will, in both the family and the workplace. I have on occasion felt deeply ashamed to be of the same gender as some of these men. Quite rightly, and helped by the rise of feminism, this situation is more likely to be challenged by women and indeed by other, more enlightened men. Domineering, controlling and abusive men now have less chance of avoiding responsibility for their behaviours in the west.
When we are in the middle of a crisis, upset and off balance, it can seem impossible to find a place where the issues can be calmly looked at in a way which is helpful in re-discovering our centre, in moving forward, in regaining perspective, in keeping our head straight.
I offer such a place.
For instance, I am very aware of the issues men face in the workplace: being required to assert themselves as men with other male colleagues and yet relate to women in the workplace in a way that is seen as professional and respectful. However, I have seen occasions where simple misunderstandings – as well as well-meaning thoughtlessness – have resulted in disturbing and upsetting consequences, including disciplinary action. I have come to the conclusion that when a woman makes a complaint against a man in the workplace, the playing-field is not flat, the man always feels on the defensive, always feels that he starts at a considerable disadvantage.
As another example, you would think from the media that all attractive women need to be a certain size and shape – and age, come to that – and as men we can laugh at that as a stereotype and not get too wound up about it. However, we do have our own unrealistic stereotypes as what it takes to be a real man, and our own judgements as to how (badly) we measure up against whichever stereotype we have bought into. If we are bullied, for instance, and have no skills to cope with this abuse, it can make our lives a misery.
One last example, I have worked with men who have no idea what has happened in their relationships. They still love their partner, and their partner says that they love them. Yet (typically) the intimate sexual contact they crave just doesn’t seem to happen as often as they hope for. Again, they feel on the defensive but have no idea what, if anything, they can do to rectify the situation.
In these circumstances the opportunity to look at what is happening in an open and non-judgemental way helps men to regain their own centre and sense of perspective, and also to provide an opportunity to look at their own hidden assumptions about the way women differ from men, and how that may have contributed to the various situations that occur.
I offer such an opportunity.
My Qualifications include:
Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling (Liverpool JMU)
INLPTA Diploma and Practitioner Certificate in NLP (Excellence for All)
Master of Arts in Counselling (Liverpool JMU)
INLPTA Master Practitioner of NLP (Excellence for All)
Postgraduate Diploma in the Psychology of Human Potential (Liverpool JMU)
Certificate of Course Attendance in Group Process Facilitation and Theory (PCCS Manchester)
Certificate in Understanding Human Relationships (Emmaus House & St Brendan’s College, Bristol)
Accredited by BUPA(link) and several other therapy providers.
BACP Accredited Counsellor/Psychotherapist (click on the badge to verify)