Do You Feel Like You’re Breaking Under Pressure?

  • Are you dealing with chronic stress due to intense career expectations?
  • Have you been struggling to find gratifying friendships or romantic relationships?
  • Do you feel like you have no one to turn to for support?

silhouette of man standing by waterMaybe you’re trying to find a fulfilling job, but work leaves you feeling drained and exhausted, while the rising cost of living makes it hard to justify pursuing your passion. Perhaps you’re worried about the future of your marriage and the never-ending demands of parenthood. Or maybe you’re having trouble making friends or dating, and you’re not sure how to pull yourself out of this rut. 

You might be dealing with symptoms of depression or anxiety, and you’re finding it hard to move forward in life because you no longer have a defining purpose. Your self-confidence has taken a hit, and you know that you want to make a change. But you just don’t know where to begin.

You May Not Know Where To Go For Help 

For many men, the pressures of modern life can become overwhelming – yet you might feel like society expects you to shoulder these burdens entirely on your own. You’re trying to cope in silence and put on a brave face for the world, but part of you feels like you’re about to break.

You do not have to hold yourself back from seeking help. In counseling, you can get comfortable sharing what’s on your mind and develop the skills you need to manage your mental health and gain lasting self-esteem.

A Wide Range Of Men Struggle With Their Mental Health Everyday

If you’ve been struggling with work, parenting, relationship problems, or a lack of purpose, you’re not alone. Today, lots of men are suffering from anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions—but they often feel as if they cannot properly express their feelings without being judged. They worry that they’re failing because they can’t tackle these challenges independently, and feel as though others might mock them for being emotionally vulnerable.

Society Discourages Men From Opening Up

Despite the fact that countless men are grappling with mental health issues and other obstacles, the idea that men should always be stoic in the face of their problems persists. This societal pressure often starts early in life. For example, you might have been discouraged from crying when you were young or told to “toughen up” when you tried to tell someone that you were hurt. 

But spending years or even decades bottling up your feelings can only make things worse. Men who do not learn how to handle their emotions in a healthy way may close themselves off from close relationships or feel like they can only express themselves through anger. 

Even if you have a social support network, the thought of telling a friend or relative what’s been going on in your life might be nerve-wracking. Through counseling for men, you can learn practical strategies for building healthier relationships, making smart career decisions, processing complex emotions, and setting life goals that give you a sense of direction.

Therapy For Men Can Help You Overcome A Wide Range Of Problems

black and white photo of a man of color intensely looking at cameraPerhaps you’re not used to sharing your problems with your close friends or family, and you’re not sure that you’re ready to open up to a therapist. But for men, sharing in therapy first can actually be easier—your sessions will always be confidential, and your counselor will create a comfortable, welcoming environment where you can say whatever is on your mind.

At Affinity Psychological Services, we have several male therapists on staff who specialize in working with men. We will make every effort to match you with a therapist for men at your nearest location who has experience working with the problems that you want to address. 

What To Expect In Therapy For Men

During your first session, you’ll have the opportunity to share what you’ve been struggling with and why you decided to seek therapy. This will help your therapist gain a better understanding of the issues you want to address. You’ll also talk about what you hope to gain from therapy. Your therapist will work with you to set realistic goals.

You’ll spend some time in therapy on self-reflection, which can help you identify the roots of issues like anxiety, depression, trauma, and other mental health conditions. Furthermore, you and your therapist will focus primarily on coming up with workable, realistic solutions to the problems you’re dealing with right now.

Treatment Approaches In Therapy For Men

Your therapist will develop a customized treatment plan based on your specific needs and goals. Our therapists apply techniques drawn from a variety of treatment approaches. For example, your therapist might emphasize Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help you identify and rewrite negative thought patterns. They may also utilize Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which enables you to focus on the present, accept where you are, and start making sustainable lifestyle changes.

Your therapist will also help you develop concrete emotional regulation skills that you can apply in your daily life outside of sessions. You’ll also hone in on the specific issues that you’re facing in your professional and personal life to help you determine which direction you want to move in next. Overall, your therapist will apply a solution-focused approach to your treatment plan. They may also recommend medication if appropriate.

You may be hesitant to seek therapy or wonder if your therapist will truly understand what you’re going through. But taking the first step to getting help is worth it. By working closely with your therapist, you’ll be able to address problems related to your career, relationships, and mental health with confidence.

You May Still Have Questions About Therapy for Men…

I’ve always been taught that I should be able to overcome challenges on my own.

Men often feel that when they’re dealing with a problem, they have to solve it all alone. But this couldn’t be further from the truth—everyone needs to lean on their support system sometimes. If you haven’t felt ready to share your problems with your friends or relatives, therapy can help you get used to asking for help.

What if therapy is too expensive?

Affinity Psychological Services is a pro-insurance practice. We aim to make therapy accessible for everyone who needs it by accepting a wide range of local insurance plans. Therapy is an investment into your future happiness, and we can work with you to figure out what your insurance plan covers.

I’m nervous about opening up to a stranger about my problems.

While you might feel a bit hesitant to share personal details about your life during your first session, you’ll likely find it easier to open up as you get to know your therapist. We will match you with a male therapist who will understand your perspective firsthand. You do not have to divulge sensitive information the moment you meet your therapist – instead, you’ll be able to work through problems at your own pace.

asian man smiling and laughing at cameraYou Can Take Control Of Your Mental Health

If you’re a man who is interested in seeking therapy, you can learn more about our practice and our services for men by getting in touch through our contact page. When you’re ready to schedule your first appointment, you can book a session on our scheduling page at one of our offices in Edina, St. Cloud, Plymouth, or Richfield.

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silhouette of woman standing against dark pink sunset sky

How Is Depression Connected To Low-Self Esteem?

This is a tricky question to answer. It is believed that someone with low self-esteem is more vulnerable to depression. Meanwhile, having depression can dramatically decrease one’s self-esteem. So, which one comes first? There is no definitive answer but the most recent research suggests that, more often than not, self-esteem can bring on depression.

Unfortunately, low self-esteem is increasingly common. This not only puts more people at risk of depression. It also allows low self-esteem to be overlooked as a root cause of depression. More than merely a co-existing characteristic, low self-esteem can exponentially increase the likelihood that you struggle with a major depressive disorder.

Feeding Off Each Other

Depression is a mood disorder. Self-esteem relates to our beliefs about ourselves and our self-worth. In other words, you’re probably not feeling great about your life if you feel worthless. Meanwhile, feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness are documented signs that depression is developing. Depression and low self-esteem feed off each other but, again, recent research points to low self-esteem as more of the cause in a cause-and-effect situation.

Some Factors to Consider

  • A study of adolescents found that those with low self-esteem were four times more likely to display depressive symptoms than students with healthy self-esteem.
  • Low self-esteem frequently increases feelings of guilt — another precursor of depression. If this leads to depressed feelings, it almost always results in even more guilt.
  • When struggling with low self-esteem, you may expect the worst and default to a worst-case-scenario mindset. This shifts how you see yourself and a negative self-perception can lay the groundwork for depression.

What is possibly happening here is called cognitive distortion. Something doesn’t go your way. This can result in generalized perceptions like “I always mess up. What do I even try?” Such distorted thinking kicks off a cycle of similar thoughts. If left unchecked, it can leave one deeply depressed.

silhouette of woman standing against dark pink sunset skyImproving Self-Esteem When You Have Depression

Even if you have been diagnosed with depression, there are steps you can take to improve your self-esteem. This may include:

Start Each Day on a Positive Foot

Set up your personal environment so you are greeted with positive images upon waking. Prepare food that makes you feel energized. Avoid grabbing your phone until you feel ready to deal with all the potential drama you’ll find.

Practice Self-Care

Taking care of yourself on a daily basis has multiple benefits. Besides improving your overall well-being, it is a powerful reminder that you deserve such self-loving attention and treatment. Safeguard your sleeping, eating, physical activity, and stress management choices.

Fact-Check Your Inner Critic

Your inner voice may say something mean about you. But who says it’s true? When this happens, stop and investigate. Is there evidence the negative thought is true? If not, where did it come from? Get into the habit of identifying thoughts as sensations that may how no connection to reality.

Avoid Seeking the Approval of Others

Catch yourself when you do something solely for the positive feedback of others. Sure, we care about the opinions of loved ones but social media can leave us chasing likes from total strangers (or even bots).

Keep a Gratitude Journal

Remind yourself — all day long — what you’re grateful for and what you like about yourself. This journal will be invaluable during depressive episodes. It’s a reminder that you are much more than any disorder or mood. Also, a journal like this can be very useful during therapy sessions.

Help is Available

You are not alone. When struggling with low self-esteem, depression, or both, therapy is always a healing option. I urge you to reach out to learn more. Let’s connect for a free and confidential consultation soon for therapy for low-self esteem.

man resting hands against head who looks stressed

How Can Medication Help Treat Depression?

If you are hesitant to take a medication, that makes sense. No one should agree to a prescription drug until they fully understand why they need it and what it does. This is a vital form of self-care. So, if you’re struggling with depression, it’s logical for you to ask lots of questions if and when an antidepressant is suggested.

Therefore, it can be helpful here to introduce a discussion in the name of answering the question in the title. How can medication help treat depression? Let’s explore the details behind this option and help you get informed and make the best possible decisions.

What Are Antidepressants and How Do They Work?

Antidepressant medicines are designed to treat more than depression. They may be prescribed for anxiety disorders like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and disordered eating. For the purposes of this post, of course, we’ll focus on depression.

An antidepressant is meant to affect brain chemicals like norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. Generally speaking, if you keep these neurotransmitters present at high enough levels, it should be enough to decrease the odds of a mood disorder like depression. Needless to say, effectiveness varies from person to person.

Are There Different Types of Antidepressants?

Short answer: yes. Each group of medications works differently in the body and may stay in the body for different amounts of time. Here are some grouping examples:

  • SNRIs (serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors)
  • SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors)
  • Serotonin modulator
  • Tetracyclic antidepressants and analogs
  • Tetracyclic of mianserin
  • Noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors
  • TCAs (Tricyclic antidepressants)
  • RIMAs (Reversible inhibitors of monoamine oxidase A)
  • MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors)
  • Melatonergic antidepressants

man resting hands against head who looks stressedA few details to keep in mind on how a drug is selected and suggested:

  • It’s not about which one is “best.” Medication is prescribed based on your specific case. This may involve cost, co-existing conditions, other medications you are taking, your symptoms, and potential side effects.
  • Choosing the correct medication often means trying more than one and modulating dosage.
  • Family history matters. If someone in your family has been treated for depression, the doctor will consider any drugs that were effective for them.
  • The standard approach involves beginning with a low dose. This can and usually is increased until you’ve either reached the therapeutic dose, or you show improvement.
  • Antidepressants are not addictive.

What About Side Effects?

Each different medication has its own warning. Each individual person responds differently. Hence, this is one of the most important conversations you’ll have before agreeing to try an antidepressant. To follow is a list of side effects that may arise regardless of which drug you use:

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Dissociation
  • Exhaustion, fatigue, low energy, drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight gain
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Tremors
  • Heavy sweating
  • Blurry vision
  • Bladder problems
  • Increased heart rate
  • Changes in blood pressure

What About Suicidal Thoughts?

Speaking of important conversations, you will want to talk to your doctor and therapist about anything extreme like this. Talk about block box labels and the research that shows SSRIs may induce suicidal thoughts in about 4 percent of people. The risk is low — usually lower than suicidal ideation caused by depression — but, again, knowledge is power.

What’s the Next Step?

I trust this post laid a strong foundation for you on this crucial topic. Even so, there’s still a lot more to talk about. To get this important discussion, I invite you to reach out. Let’s connect for a free and confidential consultation to get your questions answered.

Depression is a challenge but about 8 in 10 people recover from it. Your path to healing almost certainly runs through a therapy office. Let’s get you started on that journey with medication management.

couple surrounding by candles looking out at dark night sky

How Does Online Couples Therapy Work?

Before we can answer the question posed in the title above, it’d help to ask: How does couples therapy help? It’s a version of psychotherapy designed for people in a romantic relationship. They may have a specific issue they wish to address. In other cases, they want to improve their relationship in a more general sense.

Each couples therapist, of course, will have their own approach but the general concept is universal. You’re not there for individual counseling. Rather, you and the therapist are working together to treat the relationship. A recent survey found that 97 percent of couples who tried this kind of therapy reported getting the help they needed.

Why Online Couples Therapy?

As with so many aspects of life today, online couples therapy is akin to a video meeting. You can choose the telephone but the vast majority of couples opt for the video option. Some of the many reasons why people may choose teletherapy include:

  • They’re partners but they do not live together
  • Busy, incompatible schedules
  • Lacking access to an in-person therapist in their geographical area
  • Privacy (not wanting to risk running into someone at the therapy office)
  • One or both partners have an illness, injury, or disability

How Does Online Couples Therapy Work?

In most cases, it’s a virtual version of in-person couples therapy. Problems and their underlying roots are identified. Negative patterns are exposed. Together with their therapist, the couples set collective goals. The therapist uses standardized tools to assess progress and direct focus and attention.

The fact that this takes place online doesn’t change the traditional model. Using video allows the therapist to perceive important cues in gestures, tone, body language, and more. Once everyone has settled into the digital format, the sessions have a rhythm and tone of their own.

A Few Reasons to Not Choose Online Couples Therapy

  • When one partner feels uncomfortable in the home
  • If domestic violence is present in the household
  • When one partner feels strongly about being in an in-person therapy setting
  • If circumstances in the home (noise, lack of privacy, etc.) can sabotage your efforts
  • The couple is not knowledgeable enough to handle the technological aspects (or if their equipment is not reliable)
  • If the process of doing this online causes distrust or distress to either partner

couple surrounding by candles looking out at dark night skyAdvantages of Online Couples Therapy

  • Convenience: There’s no commute and no need to pick out an outfit or put on makeup. This dramatically shortens the time commitment without compromising the quality of care.
  • Scheduling: Since you’re not limited by strict office hours, you may be able to meet on a day and time that is atypical of any type of medical appointment.
  • Privacy: As touched on above, there’s no concern about running into someone on your way or even in the waiting room.
  • Comfort: Your therapist gets to see you on your home field. No matter what, people can assume a certain presentation when meeting in a therapy office. At home, however, you can show your therapist more of who you are.
  • Application: Part of couples therapy is learning new skills. Doing this in a setting where those skills will be more often applied can be empowering. This can streamline the process from skill acquisition to skill application.
  • Normalcy: For nearly three years, video meetings have quickly become the norm. Transferring this reality into the realm of therapy has never been easier or felt more normal.

Will Online Couples Therapy Be the Game-Changer For Your Relationship?

There’s only one way to find out. Couples therapy has never been more available and accessible. You know the basics now. What not follow up by giving us a call so we can talk.