The Value of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Men Facing Challenges With Their Mental Health

A therapist taking notes for a male patient.

The Value of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Men Facing Challenges With Their Mental Health

Many men face challenges coping with their mental health. Research has found that men are often less proactive when it comes to nurturing their mental health needs. This can be due to societal pressures and unwanted triggers that often lead one to a highly vulnerable state of mind. It is common for some men to feel the need to be stoic versus getting the professional help they need. Surrendering to a trusted treatment facility may significantly improve one’s quality of life. Participating in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can teach individuals the strategies needed to cope with negative stigmas and stereotypes. 

Why Do Some Men Face Challenges in Caring for Their Mental Health?

Based on a study by the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, it was found that men’s mental health has gradually become a prevalent issue today. There have been increased cases of mental health conditions and substance use disorders (SUD) over the years. Men find purpose and meaning in life through supporting their families. Recent research has discovered that romantic breakups and divorce are strong triggers that may lead one down the road to mental illness and suicide. Men who are less likely to come forth about their mental illness are more apt to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. This can potentially make one’s situation worse.

The Link Between Societal Pressures and Mental Health

According to the American Journal of Men’s Health, many men feel hesitant to move forward with professional treatment due to societal pressures, unhealthy stigma, and masculine norms. Rejection can ultimately worsen an individual’s state of health making them feel alone and trapped. It is also very common for men to suppress their emotions in fear of presenting a weak character as it seems less masculine. For example, unwanted stigma can negatively interfere with an individual’s overall well-being. Different types of stigma might include: 

  • Social stigma – Disapproval towards an individual or group facing problems with a mental illness
  • Self-stigma – An individual begins to feel intense shame from internalizing social stigma
  • Professional stigma – Healthcare professionals present stigmatizing attitudes toward patients
  • Cultural stigma – Some individuals believe mental health treatment may bring dishonor to their family and avoid professional care. 

What Is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

According to the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), CBT is a popular treatment option that specifically focuses “on patterns of thinking and the beliefs, attitudes and values that underlie thinking”. A therapist teaches an individual effective strategies to better focus on their beliefs. By doing this, an individual learns how to change their negative thought patterns and behaviors. 

CBT is highly helpful in treating a variety of problems which include SUD, mood disorders, depression, marital problems, and intimacy issues. This therapy approach helps an individual focus on the present time rather than the past. Thus, CBT helps one maintain strong motivation to successfully move forward with a more positive attitude.

Value of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Mental Health

Although many men may feel nervous about moving forward with professional treatment, CBT can help them cope with their feelings to better respond to negative stigma. CBT is a highly beneficial therapeutic approach for individuals who are facing problems with their mental health. It may be common for some men to have a pessimistic perspective on their future. CBT can provide hope for those who feel alone in their journey to mental stability. Therapy can help individuals slow down to understand that their negative thoughts are not always accurate. When an individual thinks outside of the box, one opens more room for new opportunities for a more positive lifestyle. CBT may also provide: 

  • An increased self-esteem
  • Reduced stress levels
  • Ability to think clearly
  • The tools needed to recognize negative thinking
  • New coping skills
  • Help to manage deep emotions
  • Relapse prevention skills

Maintaining Mental Stability With Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

When an individual goes through a prolonged period without professional treatment, their symptoms can get much worse. Therefore, their life can get more complicated, leaving them feeling very overwhelmed. For instance, when an individual avoids professional help they may experience impaired relationships with their loved ones, present poor work performance, and may face challenges in an academic setting. 

It can be difficult for some men to manage the symptoms related to their mental health condition. Choosing to move forward with professional care can help one stay on track to a more frequent sense of well-being. Although accepting support from close family and friends can provide emotional support, professional support can give the right guidance needed to overcome the challenges associated with their mental and physical health.

An individual’s plan of care depends greatly on the severity of their condition. Not everyone’s treatment plan is the same. Some individuals may respond better to dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). This type of treatment can be a therapeutic approach to CBT. Making a point to participate in each session can significantly improve an individual’s recovery outcome.