Mental health is an issue that affects both men and women. However, men are more likely not to express their feelings of how they are, and this puts them at risk of developing mental health problems later down the road.
If left unchecked, feelings of stress may develop to traumatizing depression that can lead to a full-blown Mental breakdown. The barbershop has been a haven for most men for a considerable amount of time now.
Benefits Of The Barbershop.
It’s relaxing for men when they have a place that makes them feel confident and manly. The barbershop setting is a free environment for men to talk about their passions, sports, women, business, and even their manhood.
This opportunity of pure self-expression is not a common occurrence for men and should be taken advantage if you have the chance to help their mental health conditions as a barber.
Understanding The Client.
Both men and women experience the same array of mental disorders, but the difference is their ability to speak out their feelings. One of the main reasons is that men and women exhibit symptoms of stress differently. Men hide their depression and anxiety through aggression, while women express their feelings through sadness and crying.
Additionally, some men may turn to drugs and alcohol abuse to cope with substantial emotional distress. Signs of emotional stress can be expressed physically through symptoms such as; headaches, insomnia, high blood pressure, and digestive issues.
These symptoms are an indication of a festering mental illness that requires treatment before developing further.
Barbers & Therapist.
Psychotherapists are trained to offer psychological treatment, which is lending an ear out to a person who is overwhelmed by emotions. Barbers, in the same sense, do the same thing when it comes to listening to our clients.
Men have a big problem when it comes to handling “feelings” and letting out the anger or built up aggression. Strong emotions can overflow into physical actions that can be both harmful to themselves and the people around them.
The process of talking out emotions can have a substantial outcome to a person’s general psychological wellbeing. Barbers are privileged enough to be in one of the rare moments, a position where a man is vulnerable enough to talk about issues in his life.
When a barber follows through with the professional confidentiality and awareness of a therapist, they are likely to establish a communication channel that can help improve the mental wellbeing of the men in their local community.
Psychotherapy is usually a process that has several stages outlined. The initial step is commitment. This is where the therapist and patient devote their energy, time, and capacity to establish relations for therapeutical targets.
For the barbershop setting, this is just the everyday business where the man sits on the chair and receives his hair cut.
Even the most skilled therapist rarely gets in touch with a sadomasochist psyche which the barber can easily tap into.
Familiarization of the client and the barber should enable the barber to establish this first step.
This is an important step which requires full professional courtesy, and its progress relies on its success. Once the barber has a client who regularly shows up at his shop, and they have already established a connection, they are free to take this next step.
This step involves the search and analysis of behavioral patterns, which can relay emotional distress. These patterns can be observed in the physical behavior or the stories; the client will tell about their day to day endeavors.
This process is continuous, and any new information acquired is valuable to the process. This is the equivalent of discovering a new friend’s behavior to understand when they are not themselves.
The barber can now integrate the information on their clients and create basic profiles for each.
Inciting change to the behavior of another man is often not a simple process since men have boundaries that have been placed by societal concepts. Additionally, men are insecure and do not take kindly to personal criticism.
The barber should use their client’s profile when relinquishing lousy behavior. They should use words like “that’s not like you to do that” when pointing out potential destructive habits instead of “why would you do that.”
When using a calm, straight forward tone in the discussion, it is easy to initiate the client into a healthy train of thought that could yield many productive habits.
The last step of starting change is sustaining the positive train of thoughts for your client. This will be a collection of all the times that the client has sat in your chair.
Therapy is like peeling an onion; there are many layers to the human psyche; if done correctly, you will begin seeing the actual process take place throughout the time cutting the clients hair.
A client going from a sad and closed off person, to becoming more open and friendly to your advice after the years. Seeing a positive change in a person life is the “Fruits of your labor,” being a barber as well as a therapist.
This is the final step in the psychotherapy process. This is very much like the graduation of the client into the new mindset where they exhibit a change in their life. When the client is at this stage, they have a new profound connection with the barber, and they are not the same as client and customer, but they are close like a “family.”
This means that the client does not respond negatively to interventions that the barber might impose on them since they have the feeling that the barber understands them too well to be wrong about their behavior. In some cases, this connection will take a long time to establish.
However, most men are always keen on whom they can talk to, and this means they are easily loyal to a barber that they get along with.
The Role Of Being A Man.
For most men, issues concerning mental health are not so macho and are often shunned. However, this is an era for a new generation where societal expectations and the traditional gender roles are not as relevant as they were in many previous generations.
Men are created to be dominant, and society has changed the way men are looked at as providers. They are ultimately leaving the desire to “lead,” a craving that men once had is now set on the “back burner,” making them feel inadequate in their roles in society.
The barbershop has always been a place to restore those strong values. To bring forth a positive outlook on life, that makes a man feel like a man again!
Studies show that men try to conform to expectations of self-reliance and power over others, and this leads to increased distress and poorer mental health, especially when they are not able to reach out for support.
An observation of the prison population reveals that men with high rates of mental health issues make up most of the people — psychological problems that derive from society, homes, and cultural values. We as people have made it harder to “Feel” emotions and much rather hide them until the person becomes unwell.
Suicide studies have also shown that men are the majority of victims who commit suicide. Men who face complex factors such as hardships in socioeconomic status, unemployment, lack of social support, and toxic relationships are more likely to develop mental health
problems that could lead to suicide or drug abuse.
There is much responsibility being a barber; we not only cut and shape haircuts. However, more importantly, we can change peoples lives as a whole. Taking the time to listen and give good advice to a client might be the only words he’s willing to listen to.
You’re in a position of power, and the influence you have is great! Remember to always “Speak life” whenever you have the opportunity to do so; It could very well save somebody’s life.