If you're worried about someone in your life, these tips could really help...
If somebody you care about is going through a tough time, giving them an opportunity to talk about what's going on is one of the best things you can do.
But it can be difficult to approach conversations like these, which is why having access to the right resources can be so helpful.
To help make these conversations a little easier, the Irish Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP) have created Essential Conversations - a podcast series covering some essential topics with experts and inspirational guests, all with the aim of helping us to better understand mental health and wellness.
In the latest episode of the series, Counsellor/Psychotherapist and Vice-Chairman of the IACP, Séamus Sheedy, joins Keith Walsh to discuss parenting roles and the negative impact these stereotypes can have on fathers and men in the family. You can listen to that episode right here.
During the discussion, Séamus shared some advice for encouraging the men in our lives to open up, covering everything from creating a safe space to talk to the advantages of speaking with an accredited counsellor.
Here's what he had to say...
Choose the right time and space to talk
First and foremost, Séamus says it's important to find the right time and circumstances to talk.
"Don’t force the issue of opening up and give plenty space as men often find it difficult to open up and talk about a particular issue, because they don’t have an answer for you right away and pick your time and place to talk.
"As has often been said, men are wired to focus on one thing at a time. This means that if he’s focused on doing something else, asking him to change gears, and get into a conversation all about his feelings might not be possible for him in that moment," he says.
Understand the barriers men can face when talking
Séamus says that, in his psychotherapy practice, men have said that opening up often leaves them feeling rejected or humiliated.
"Men can often fear rejection and are afraid to open up in case they are laughed at and seen as less of a man.
"Be gentle with them and remember men bond much better through activities, often shoulder to shoulder, such as cycling, golfing or going for a walk. [He] will share more when he is relaxed and you create a safe environment for him to open up to you."
Encourage them to reach out to a therapist
When it's not possible to talk to friends or family, Séamus says reaching out to a qualified counsellor or psychotherapist could help.
"Although there are lots of different types of talking therapy, they all have a similar aim - to help you feel better. Some people say to me that counselling and psychotherapy do not make their problems go away, but help them find it easier to cope with them and feel happier.
"The accredited counsellor or psychotherapist listens to you and helps you find your own answers to problems, without judging you. The psychotherapist will give you time to talk, cry, shout or just think. It's an opportunity to look at your issue or problems in a different way with someone who'll respect you and your opinions."
Find an accredited Irish therapist today at iacp.ie