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Therapy For Men:
mens counseling west hollywood

Mental health issues like depression don't discriminate.

Mental illness doesn't care about your macho image, how fast you can run a mile, or how many burpees you did at CrossFit. The fact is, if you've got a brain, you are just as likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and other sneaky feelings that might catch you off guard and cause some relationship issues or emotional pain.

Oliver Drakeford, is a British-born Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Group Psychotherapist, who offers nearly a decade of specialized experience in clinical psychotherapy in the West Hollywood / Beverly Hills area. Oliver's journey in therapy began with a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, Los Angeles, focusing on Psychoanalytic Therapy. His expertise is further enhanced with certifications from the Los Angeles Institute, the Association for Psychoanalytic Studies, and the Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis. Specializing in psychoanalytic and family therapy in his private practice, Oliver has developed a unique skill set for working with individuals, families, and groups, addressing a range of issues from family conflict and relationship issues to addiction.

 

Oliver's career spans diverse settings, from working with adolescents in residential settings and Beverly Hills High School to his role as Clinical Director at an adolescent treatment center in Malibu. His therapeutic approach, deeply rooted in psychodynamic theory, focuses on characterological change and understanding behavioral patterns in relationships. Oliver works with teens, adults, and families, employing techniques such as Family Systems Theory and psychoanalytic theory to facilitate deep-rooted change and self-understanding.His dedication to group psychotherapy was recognized with the Donald T. Brown Memorial Scholarship Award from The Group Foundation for Advancing Mental Health. Aside from his private practice, Oliver imparts his knowledge as a Group Process instructor at Antioch University in LA and provides training and in-service supervision to new therapists across Los Angeles.

EFFECTIVE THERAPY FOR MEN
IN LOS ANGELES

Understanding the Challenges Men Face in Seeking Therapy

Recognizing the Hurdle:

Taking the initial step to consult a mental health professional is a significant challenge, especially for men. This often stems from entrenched societal norms around masculinity, which can create a dilemma for men considering therapy. Typically, masculine ideals focus on attributes like strength, stoicism, and self-reliance. These traits can sharply contrast with the vulnerability and emotional openness that effective psychological treatment requires.

The Stark Reality of Men's Mental Health:

Consider the alarming statistics: men constitute 49% of the U.S. population yet account for nearly 80% of all suicides. Approximately every 14 minutes, a man's life is lost to suicide in the U.S. Notably, depression plays a critical role, being a factor in about half of these tragic incidents. Such societal expectations often conflict with the principles of effective psychological care, which is grounded in openness, emotional vulnerability, and a readiness to confront personal challenges. This paradox can delay or prevent men from seeking necessary mental health support and can diminish the effectiveness of treatment when they do reach out.

Insights from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP):

Recent data from the BACP highlights a concerning trend: over 50% of therapists have reported an increase in male depression cases in the past year. However, despite the growing need, a significant portion of men remain reluctant to pursue mental health support. Surveys indicate that about 56% of therapists find men less likely than women to seek mental health assistance. Moreover, nearly half of the therapists report that men often harbor skepticism regarding the benefits of therapy.

Research is showing us that men are much less likely to call a therapist for support, so...

Counseling for men west hollywod

"Strength isn't shown by avoiding life's battles; it's revealed in choosing to face them head-on."

THE IMPACT OF MASCULINITY ON MEN SEEKING THERAPY & MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

Research shows that one of the common issues that play a significant role in influencing men's attitudes towards psychological treatment is hegemonic masculinity - a concept of masculinity that is widely supported by society. It is the idea that to be a 'man', one must exhibit characteristic traits such as strength, courage, aggression, and the ability to provide and protect. This form of socialization reinforces the idea and messaging in young boys who are culturally and socially conditioned to adhere to these traditional masculine norms and expectations. Unfortunately, these norms of masculine gender roles often include traits like strength, stoicism, self-reliance, and emotional restraint. Such ideals can conflict with the perceived vulnerability, openness, and emotional expressiveness often required in therapy.

 

  • Masculine Gender Role Analysis: The review highlights the need to consider how a client's childhood, development, and experiences with masculine socialization link with current stressors, traits, or values. This understanding is crucial for clinicians to tailor their approach to each male client effectively.

  • Conformity to Masculine Norms: Studies suggest that assessing a male client's conformity (or non-conformity)to hegemonic masculinity can provide insights into their symptoms. The more someone subscribes to traditional masculine gender roles, the more likely they are to act out on feelings rather than communicate them through words. 

  • Internalized Gender Role Stereotypes: It's important for clinicians to understand and address the internal gender role stereotypes, assumptions, and biases that men may hold, which can affect their willingness to seek and engage in treatment.

  • Impact on Treatment Engagement: Traditional masculine norms can make men more ambivalent towards psychological treatment and lead to premature dropout from services. This is often due to a conflict between seeking help and maintaining the appearance of strength and independence.

Most often, gender and identity aren't at the forefront of my client's minds when they come to me for therapy, but providing individual therapy for men can have nuances that some therapists are not always aware of. I provide in-person therapy sessions in Los Angeles, my office is in West Hollywood on Santa Monica Boulevard. In addition, I provide online therapyf or virtual sessions if you live in the greater Los Angeles area.

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My APPROACH TO THERAPY WITH MEN

The Environment

My therapy sessions are designed to be spaces where traditional masculine norms are acknowledged but not enforced. This means creating an atmosphere where men feel comfortable to express vulnerability without the fear of judgment. I ensure that our conversations steer clear of the typical clinical feel and instead take on a more relaxed and conversational tone. By doing this, I help demystify the therapy process, making it more approachable and less intimidating.

Communication

Language is a powerful tool in therapy, and I ensure mine resonates with my male clients. This involves using straightforward, action-oriented language and metaphors that men can relate to. By adapting my communication style, I bridge the gap between the therapy environment and the world my clients navigate daily.

Normalizing

A key part of my therapy involves normalizing the feelings and experiences of my male clients. I make it a point to validate their emotions and experiences, helping them see that what they’re going through is not a sign of weakness but a part of the human experience. This validation is crucial in building trust and rapport.

Goal Oriented

Goal-Oriented and Action-Focused Therapy: Understanding that many men are goal-oriented, I structure my sessions with clear objectives and actionable steps. We work collaboratively to set achievable goals, ensuring that each session contributes to these aims. This approach not only provides a sense of direction but also empowers my clients, making them active participants in their journey to wellness.

Emotional Literacy

One of the biggest challenges in men’s mental health is the difficulty in articulating emotions due to societal conditioning. In my practice, I focus on developing emotional literacy, guiding men to understand and articulate their feelings better. This is done through various exercises and open discussions, which gradually ease them into being more in touch with their emotions.

Masculinity: Toxic Or Not

Masculine Socialization: I pay close attention to how masculine socialization impacts my clients. We explore how societal expectations about masculinity have shaped their experiences and coping mechanisms. This exploration is crucial in helping them break free from the confines of harmful stereotypes.

SUBSTANCE USE IN MEN

In the realm of mental health, men have long been the silent sufferers. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately six million American men grapple with depression each year. Yet, research shows that men are significantly less likely than women to seek help for their mental health issues, with depression being a prime example.

Traditional signs of depression, such as sadness and worthlessness, may not adequately represent the male experience of this condition, and it might look very different if you've got that Y chromosome.

Signs of DEPRESSION IN MEN

Male depression can wear many masks, making it hard to spot. However, it typically shows up with these telltale signs:

  • Irritability: Unexplained anger and frustration.

  • Physical Discomfort: Unexplained aches, pains, or changes in appetite.

  • Social Withdrawal: Pulling away from friends and loved ones.

  • Coping Behaviors: Turning to substances or risky behaviors for relief. These coping behaviors may provide temporary relief but worsen the underlying issue.

    • Substance use ​

    • Pornography Addiction

    • Gambling

    • Affairs

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SEEKING THERAPY FOR DEPRESSION IN MEN

In the realm of mental health, men have long been the silent sufferers. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately six million American men grapple with depression each year. Yet, research shows that men are significantly less likely than women to seek help for their mental health issues, with depression being a prime example.

Traditional signs of depression, such as sadness and worthlessness, may not adequately represent the male experience of this condition, and it might look very different if you've got that Y chromosome.

Signs of DEPRESSION IN MEN

Male depression can wear many masks, making it hard to spot. However, it typically shows up with these telltale signs:

  • Irritability: Unexplained anger and frustration.

  • Physical Discomfort: Unexplained aches, pains, or changes in appetite.

  • Social Withdrawal: Pulling away from friends and loved ones.

  • Coping Behaviors: Turning to substances or risky behaviors for relief. These coping behaviors may provide temporary relief but worsen the underlying issue.

    • Substance use ​

    • Pornography Addiction

    • Gambling

    • Affairs

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why is Mental Health Important for Men?

Unfortunately, everyone with a brain can be impacted with mental health issues, and due to the way we were raised, it seems that men have a really hard time understanding this. Men make up 49% of the population, and 80% of all deaths by suicideds - that means that men just aren't talking about what's going on for them.

Does Talking About Your Feelings and Therapy Even Help ?

Yeah. It does.

It's not just woo-woo feelings talk either, there's decades and decades of cold hard data and numbers behind studies that show therapy is really quite effective at treating certain mental health issues. 

But How Does Therapy Help?

This is harder to explain, but sometimes you just need someone else to help you understand what's going on, even if you think you know yourself really well, there's always blindspots. Therapy provides a supportive environment to discuss complex emotions, gain insight into personal challenges, and learn valuable tools for managing stress, anxiety, or depression. Additionally, therapy can improve communication skills, boost self-confidence, and foster healthier relationships.

What Type Of Therapy Do I Need?

Which ever one sounds like the right fit for you, call around, ask lots of questions and go with the therapist you vibe most with, rather than the one you think you 'should' have.

SOME PERSONAL THOUGHTS FROM MY BLOG:

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