Mel Magazine: Why Millennial Men Don’t Go to Therapy

Excerpted from a Mel Magazine article by Eddie Kim:

A major social debate among millennials about gender, including the idea that it isn’t a binary decided solely by our sex birth, is changing the way we define what a man is, and what, if any, traits are “masculine.” But “manhood” remains an elusive goal that men feel pressure to achieve, however they define it, with research suggesting that the inability to capture it leads to aggressive and stress-ridden responses.

Satya Doyle Byock, a Portland, Ore.-based psychotherapist who exclusively treats millennials at her practice Quarter-Life Counseling, has seen a heavy current of disillusionment in her patients, including men who feel lost in their careers and personal lives. Some may seek help after feeling suicidal thoughts or a panic attack, but many more choose to co-exist with a simmering unease they can’t ignore.

“The mid-life crisis, what used to happen in the late 30s or 40s, is happening earlier for young people today,” she explains. “The breakdown often has to do with the question of one’s ‘unlived life,’ and young people are coming to the conclusion that something about society doesn’t work. The problems might be in dating, binge drinking, anxiety or depression, but those things usually have a larger question underneath them.”

One of Byock’s theories is that while older generations often used religious services or intimate community gatherings to reflect on their lives, many of those meditative spaces have been removed from modern life. “Even churches are more like mega-churches now, not for quiet thought,” she says. “It’s created a gaping hole where young people need something to find nourishment.”

They’re not finding it at the office either. Specifically, work-life balance has become harder for a cohort of millennials who matured into the workforce during the dregs of the Great Recession, with shiny college degrees in hand but few employers to court them. More than 50 percent of college students graduated with a job offer in hand in 2007. That number fell to less than 20 percent two years later. And those who did get jobs saw lower starting salaries, with a 2010 study showing that a 1 percent increase in unemployment in a given year meant a 6 to 8 percent drop in starting salary for a college graduate, impacting lifetime savings and benefits. “This cohort of millennials that graduated amid the recession, in the worst of the job market, we’ve got this idea to work so much harder to make up all that was lost,” says Muellerleile.

Read the full article here...