A small glimpse into what can happen during a portion of my [therapy] sessions with men.
As you learned in my last post, I’m often asked about my work with men. Thus, this blog will be a forum to share aspects of my work that will help shed light on the importance (and my passion) for working with men, fathers, children and mental health professionals. This post gives you a small glimpse into what can happen during a portion of my [therapy] sessions with men. My hope is that these articles will start to normalize mental health practice.
At the beginning or end of my therapy sessions with clients, I often ask them to partake in simple exercises aimed at creating focus and space. These exercises can help develop an open minded awareness that they may not otherwise be accessible given the excessive noise of one’s constant thoughts. This article is not a step by step guide to grounding or meditation or mindfulness practice. Also, I won't go into the many benefits of meditation or even apps to keep you consistently practicing but know that there are many.
5 Reasons Focused Grounding (even focused breathing) is Helpful:
Let’s be honest. Therapy sessions can feel heavy. Problems don’t get solved in one single 45 minute session. Heavy personal information is disclosed in those sessions and it can feel like a weight lifted, but it can also feel like a weighted pressure causing tension and even temporary despair. The aim of therapy can be to build up reserves for addressing that despair and it can also assist with recognizing triggers that allow us to use coping skills and practice being gentle or forgiving of ourselves (or others). Most men haven’t ever practiced this.
Grounding techniques or meditative techniques at the end of a heavy session can help men transition back into the reality of their day to day lives.
A collective breathing exercise in a therapy group setting can create a sense of shared experience. Another thing men don’t always have outside of extracurricular activities.
Ending a session with a transitional activity honors the seriousness of men’s work and for some, allows them to leave those [painful] experiences in the physical room in which they were revealed.
Grounding can increase awareness of one's bodily sensations and attune to any areas of tension that may need caring for. This helps men recognize how they can give to themselves in a loving way following their sessions. Getting a massage, doing gentle stretching or even increase sleep hours can be helpful.
Lastly, and perhaps my favorite: practicing such skills (grounding, deep focused breathing, mindful attunement to one’s awareness) in a session (group or individual) allows the client to learn that these activities can be accessed at anytime, anywhere. Think- when Glenda the Good Witch tells Dorothy- “See, you’ve had it in you all along.”
These are skills that no one needs to know you’re practicing, that you can do in silence. They can quickly reduce tension, stress or irritable mood.
I hope all men can incorporate forms of self care into their daily stress relieving practices. I've seen it work!