EP 36: MEN’S MENTAL HEALTH WITH KYLE SOMMERS, LPC

Good mental health is crucial. We all need it to survive, but there are a number of reasons why men are less likely to speak up about mental health issues like depression. For many men, struggling with their mental health means suffering in silence. Stigmas around acknowledging mental health struggles and old-fashioned ideas of masculinity often play heavily into mens reluctance to seek help. Today, we hear from The Bro Therapist, Kyle Sommers, about his experiences of working with men and some of the red flags, coping methods, and responses he has seen in his clients. Find out how exercise is sometimes used to escape painful feelings, why sport is often so important to young men, and how anger can mask depression, and hear Kyle’s advice for helping men buy into the idea of therapy. He also has some suggestions for starting conversations about mental health, helping men better understand themselves, and fostering emotional awareness in their sons, as well as breaking the dangerous stigma that exists around masculinity and mental health. Tune in today to hear Kyle’s advice, success stories, and a whole lot more!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Sherry shares some statistics about men’s mental health issues in the US.
  • Kyle – also known as The Bro Therapist – talks about burn out and his private practice.
  • How Kyle dealt with his emotions growing up and some of the coping methods that men use.
  • Physical and mental health are both important, but exercise can also be used as an escape!
  • Seeking worth or fulfillment in achievement and how Kyle sees it in the men he works with.
  • Find out why sport can become such a big part of a young man’s identity.
  • Learn about some of the early warning signs that a man is struggling with their mental health.
  • Depression and anger: Kyle shares how men oftentimes act out when depressed.
  • Persistent physical ailments are also a common symptom of mental health struggles for men.
  • Help men buy into the idea of therapy by highlighting how it can positively affect their children.
  • Hear Kyle’s advice for starting a conversation about mental health with a man in your life.
  • The different methodologies that Kyle uses with men in his practice, like cognitive behavioral therapy and brainspotting.
  • Why identifying your values is key to better understanding yourself.
  • What are the benefits of counseling? Kyle says the biggest one is being honest with yourself.
  • The importance of slowing down and being mindful, according to Kyle.
  • For counselors that want to work with men, Kyle suggests having a straightforward approach.
  • How men can foster emotional awareness in their sons, starting with modeling it for them.
  • Creating a sense of safety around difficult conversations can create openness – try talking with your children on a car ride.
  • Breaking down the stigma around mental health by starting at home with your family.
  • Do away with toxic masculinity! Men can be “in control” while still being vulnerable.
  • Ending the show with some stories of success: With even the most stoic alpha males, Kyle has seen positive growth and vulnerability.
  • Kyles’a last tip for men struggling with depression is to get your testosterone checked.

Tweetables:

“From a very early age, many men are taught to remain in control for a lot of different reasons. We embrace this idea of being in control by substituting those emotions that are uncomfortable, that make us feel out of control, those very vulnerable emotions, and we substitute it with emotion that is powerful, in control, and [we] feel like [we] can do something with it.” — Kyle Sommers [0:07:25]

“Irritability is a common symptom of depression. With men, they oftentimes will find themselves taking their anger out on others. It doesn’t have to be rage – criticism even, where they are criticizing others, or overly negative and pointing out someone’s flaws.” — Kyle Sommers [0:19:21]

“Men – especially men who are not comfortable with their emotions – they like to use catchall phrases like stress.” — Kyle Sommers [0:24:24]

“For therapists that want to work with men, you need to be straightforward in your description. I think a lot of guys are looking for that instruction manual. They want something that is a little bit more concrete and something a little bit more structured.” — Kyle Sommers [0:39:49]

“Any messages that perpetuate toxic masculinity narrative need to go away, that men are supposed to be this way. Men are supposed to be strong and in control. It does no good [for] their mental health. A man can be ‘in control’ but still have a sense of self and better understand themself and be okay with being vulnerable.” — Kyle Sommers [0:47:45]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Kyle Sommers on LinkedIn

Kyle Sommers on Instagram

Kyle Sommers on Facebook

Sommers Counseling

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