Men may generally be more prone to feeling shamed by vulnerability or certain types of emotional experience. These experiences can be perceived as weakness, loss of control or even failure. This makes it crucial for me to validate, normalize, and support the expression of emotion or vulnerability in male clients. When I confront men I do it with compassion.
I use male friendly language that affirms values such as courage, strength, success and achievement. I pay attention to values such as protection and providing for family, as they are important aspects of expressing male attachment along with emotional responsiveness. I can help men find reasons why it is important and useful to feel and express emotion and to recognize how "weird" or at times "uncomfortable" the experience of exploring feelings in therapy can be. In couples work I am often able to help a male partner say, "I am in just as much pain as you are when I shut myself off and withdraw." I also understand that it may take men longer and they may need more time to process experiential work so they are not overwhelmed.