Do Men Need Counseling?


Do Men Need Counseling?

By Michael Misja, Ph.D.


“I can handle it on my own.”  

I know what I need to do, what’s he going to tell me that I don’t already know?”

Counseling men is different than counseling women. When I see a man for a first appointment, I know I’m being sized up.  Some guys are wondering who is going to be the Alpha Male in the office, me or him.  Others wonder if they are going to be lectured or humiliated by another authority figure, me.  I’ve seen many men who check me out to see if I’m manly enough for them, or too manly for them.  Guys fear being judged by someone who thinks they are better than them.


For many men shame is a critical issue. It feels defeating to have to talk to someone about personal issues because weakness has to be admitted.  Why is it so hard for us to admit weakness? Why do we fear exposing areas of our lives where we have confusion or pain?  Let me offer a couple of thoughts:


1.  Blame

I think most men coming into counseling fear they are going to be blamed.  They have been taught that if there is a problem in their marriage, it’s because they don’t love their wives the way they should.  If they are depressed, they just aren’t “manning up” to life’s challenges.  If they have an anger problem or an addiction, they should just “stop it.”

Some counselors (and church leaders) do come down hard on men.  The truth is sometimes we men need to be hit by a two by four before we realize we have issues. But good counseling starts off with the assumption that many men know where they are messing up, but don’t fully understand what is driving them to do what they do.  Guys can feel lost because they have tried to change and just don’t know how.

And the reality is many men have never been told “it’s not all your fault”.

Good counselors don’t judge and blame. They help men understand their struggles in a way that helps them embrace grace and take responsibility for their own “stuff.”  But it also helps clarify and teach how to relate strongly as a man.


2. Blind Spots

Recently I was driving my son to a school event.  We drove down a two lane country road as evening fell.  I was startled by the face of a deer about six inches from my driver’s side mirror.  It had streaked across the road straight toward my car.  We heard a double “thump” and drew the obvious conclusions. Throughout the years several deer have blindsided me.  Not only have they damaged my cars and trucks, but they have died by the side of the road.  I really hate getting my car banged up and killing a helpless dear.

We drove a few hundred feet to a lit intersection where I got out of my car to survey the damage.  I was looking for dents when the car behind me also stopped.  A man got out of his car and said, “Did you see that deer jump?”  I asked him what he meant, and he told me that the deer I thought I had killed jumped over my car, about eight feet in the air. The thumping we hear was actually the hooves of the deer making contact with my roof as it sprang over us.

I had a blind spot.  I didn’t even know that I didn’t know what I didn’t know. But another man was able to see what I couldn’t see because of my situation.  I was freed from the pain of my interpretation of the situation because of the light he was able to bring to me.

That’s what good counseling does for men.  An experienced counselor brings years of experience and knowledge to a situation and reveals blind spots.  Men with good hearts learn to welcome and not fear such revelations.  Only a fool is arrogant enough to believe he doesn’t have blind spots.  A wise, teachable man is able to gain insight and make changes when he can say, “I never saw it that way before.”


3.  Mentoring

When men get honest, they are aware of a desire to have a wise man they can trust helping them figure out how to live in this crazy world.  If you are a man and are hung up on the word “counseling,” then think of “mentoring.”

A good counselor has studied life, Scripture, emotional problems, as well as relational problems, and has thought deeply about how to make changes and cope with ongoing stressors.  Rather than just being a “good buddy,” he offers targeted wisdom to specific issues and gives tools to help live a more satisfying life.  Most counselors have wrestled with issues in their own lives and are able to understand the real issues men face.

Men, think of going to counseling as a courageous choice.  Strong men are willing to face their “stuff” and ask for help.  They love their family and friends by taking care of their issues.

And think of your counselor as a mentor  who desires to see you grow into the fullness of God’s design for your life.


“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” Proverbs 27:17


  1. Good Blog! I loved your story of the dear. What a great way to help others understand the concept of “blind spot.” The idea of having a blind spot sometimes seems like a defect when in fact it isn’t, it’s jut a fact! Everyone has a blind spot.

  2. Mark Yoder says:

    I like this article, especially the last point. I have found mentoring very helpful in my life. I could almost say indispensable! Mentors have taught me courage, what is important in my life, the need to address issues and HOW to address issues, as well as many other good things. I would not be where I am today without my mentors. I also love the opportunity to mentor and give back to those men who come in and ask for help or in my friendships. Life is rewarding when mentoring can work both ways!

  3. Lisa Leinweber says:

    Thank You for this blog. It will be helpful to me having this new insight.

  4. Chuck Misja says:

    In the minds of some thinkers, the difference between a wise man and a fool is how that person responds to feedback about themselves, especially painful feedback that is at variance with one’e self perception or personal convictions. In Proverbs we read that a single rebuke is more impactful to a wise person than a 100 lashes to a fool. The scriptures go even further and say that if you want to become wise, find someone to rebuke you! Wow, is that straight talk or what?!

    One of the reasons some men never engage in counseling is that they simply will not be challenged. For whatever reason, they arrange their lives so that they remain in a kind of comfort zone free from challenge and the kind of feedback that makes them uncomfortable. These men, no matter how accomplished, are not on the path towards wisdom. However, men who seek wisdom, and personal and spiritual growth, realize that they have blind spots in their lives and are convinced that feedback from others is helpful and necessary. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Wise men aren’t interested in surrounding themselves with “yes men,” they want to know the truth about themselves. Some of them men enter counseling, or mentorships, or discipleships, or all three. These are the men who will grow.

  5. Men and counseling sometimes seem to go together like water and oil! Because of how men think and process, counseling can seem to be for the weak. And men like to be strong! This article makes a lot of good points men may want to consider. I have been finding more strong men, leaders in many areas, coming to counseling than ever before. Many times counseling is a form of mentoring and I have found mentoring to be very valuable.

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