Men sometimes carry their problems around, being strong on the outside, like a suit of armour. They leave the talking to others, often women. Your friends might be doing the same, but if you’re the one to admit it, you fear losing your credibility as a real man. There are ways to hide the pressure that builds up inside, through more personal fitness, gambling, alcohol, drugs or porn. There may also be an inner voice telling you to man up and not show vulnerability, but this can be part of the problem.

You may be looking for counselling now because you’re fed up with suffering in silence or someone close to you thinks it would be a good idea. Your partner might be better at spotting the problems because they’re on the receiving end.

There is pressure for men to conform to norms, but masculinity is complicated. We don’t all fit into those norms, just as we don’t all have the same sexuality, body shape or feel comfortable with peer pressure that encourages us to act oppressively to others.

I think counselling can help men become better friends, partners, fathers and lovers. Learning to talk about yourself without fear of judgement can help your state of mind and relationships. When I work with men, they often find it’s a relief to finally let it all out. They feel lighter and open up to change, rather than closing down or manning up just to fit in.