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The Counseling Center

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Assumption in question: “Men are Loners”

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
-African Proverb”

Max Liles, Senior Director, The Counseling Center

We’ve talked a little bit in our previous blogs about the stigma attached to substance use disorder treatment, as well as some associated stereotypes that keep men from getting more involved in the day-to-day management of their overall wellbeing – particularly, their healthcare.

Today, I wanted to dig a little deeper on one stereotype and talk about what we at The Counseling Center are doing to break that barrier down.
Assumption in question: “Men are Loners.”

I already name dropped the great John Rambo and Hulk Hogan as some pretty tall-orders of man to stand up to, but the list can go on of the dudes that, against all odds, get the job done. AND – let’s be honest, there are plenty of additional names we can add to that list that are just as legendary, centers of attention, the C O O L E S T – and did it without much help:

-Willy Wonka; dude had a WHOLE Chocolate Factory.
-The Joker; Heath Ledger’s Joker, of course – Supervillain ALWAYS one up on everyone.
-Mad Max; maybe I am biased based on the name?
-Wolverine; sure, he’ll work in a team, but he is NOT happy about it.
-Fonzie; The “Cool” Loner.
-Chuck Norris; “Time waits for no man. Unless that man is Chuck Norris.”

Point is – this is part of the environment we are a part of; it is in our nurturing. In addition to the norms of what it is to be male; don’t cry; show emotions; appear weak; are not vulnerable; provide; make “more” money – the list could go on… We’re also taught that we should be able to do this on our own.

Sidebar: In looking at the microcosm of men who have substance use disorders, all these same things hold true times 1,000. Recovery literature across multiple groups and fellowships speaks to the way that people with substance use disorders are driven, dictated, by pride, ego, and fear. Sprinkle on-top that society-at-large can have a tendency to look at substance use disorders as a moral weakness – we have ourselves a recipe for disaster.

>“If you were strong enough you’d stop yourself.”

This sort of ideology is a breeding-ground for a mental disorder like substance use to multiply. Substance use disorders are a disease that thrives on cutting off individuals from other people; a disease that wants people to sacrifice protective factors; a disease that severs family relationships and friendships.


What TCC is doing to address this barrier:
I hate to be so simplistic – but it is usually the simplest things that are the most profound. If substance use disorders thrive in an environment of perceived individualism and actual isolation – the best thing you can do for a person with that condition is put them in a group.

Here at TCC, we have a few different ways we like to do that.

Group Counseling
It is effective in presenting information and educational opportunities to more people than can be reached on an individual only basis; your reach is farther – more people can hear information they need to hear.

It promotes an environment for peer feedback; while the clinician may be the “expert” in the room, to quote my guy Michael Parker, “This is your group.” Peer to peer feedback can be so important to people in early recovery so they can learn about each other, build rapport, and offer their own experiences to one another.

As a physical intervention, this group based fitness methodology plays HEAVY on the idea that we can do more individually, together. Dude, you ever tried to go do 100 Burpees on your own? You are MUCH more likely to get that done if you’ve got some folks cheering you on.

In addition to actually completing more work in the group setting, there is something to be said about brief, physical suffering that just brings people together. In the gym we call that camaraderie.

12 Step Fellowships
Maybe nothing else more promotes social connection more than 12 Step based fellowships. From individual sponsorship, to sponsorship families (shout out to the Ship of Fools), and an emphasis on meeting attendance – the message about groups from the anonymous people is to find your tribe; get around other people who are recovering.

There is also magic in surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals who are committed to working towards a common solution.

>“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
-African Proverb

I encourage you to follow us on Facebook and Instagram as we continue to share our thoughts and practices in the business of Mental Healthcare. If you or someone you love is in need of behavioral treatment of any kind–reach us at 740.354.6685.

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The Counseling Center is the region’s leader in behavioral healthcare. Our licensed behavioral and primary healthcare providers employ advanced treatments to help our patients achieve long-term mental and physical health goals. We are leading the way in shaping positive outcomes for mental health, substance use disorder, physical health, and recovery housing.

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