Emotional Counsel for Men


God gives men and women specific emotional experiences that play into the ways we relate to one another. But when individuals struggle to understand their emotions and express them properly, it can create unintentional divisions and weaken personal relationships. Many men today feel ill-equipped to articulate their emotions to others. In this post created in cooperation with the Association of Biblical Counselors, Tim Watson, offers a practical perspective for how believers can counsel other men through a process of navigating their emotions.

Tim Watson is a Licensed Professional Counselor at Metroplex Counseling in Fort Worth and Bedford, Texas. He is a member of the Association of Biblical Counselors and the American Association of Christian Counselors. His counseling focus includes men's issues, marriage and family, adolescents, addictions, anxiety, stress, grief and trauma.

Tim joked that most men know two emotions—mad and not mad. While he acknowledged such a statement is an over-generalization, men typically face struggles with understanding and communicating their emotions to others. Biblical counsel can go a long way in helping them mature in their emotional expression.

How would you characterize your own ability to express your emotions? What has influence your comfort or lack thereof with emotional experiences? In what ways could you stand to grow?
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In what ways do struggles with communicating emotions inhibit deep relationships with God and others? How does a comfortability with emotions lead to stronger relationships?
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Do you agree with Tim's observation that many men struggle with feeling comfortable expressing their emotions? Why? What observations have you made about men and their ability to communicate emotions?
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Among those men you know who struggle with articulating emotions, how have you attempted to help them in this area? What have you found successful to deepening their emotional understanding? What could you do to improve your counsel?
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It's one thing to recognize a need in the church, like a more robust understanding among men for how to communicate emotions. But it's quite another to apply a solution. Tim explains his process for helping men to grow more comfortable with their emotions.

As Tim shared, his process is derived from the acronym R.A.I.N.
  • Recognize
  • Accept
  • Identify
  • Navigate
Put together, the process helps create a deeper understanding of emotional experience and increase personal comfort levels with embracing it.

How did you react to Tim's process? What would you consider its greatest strengths? Can you identify any potential weaknesses? If so, what are they?
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How would you differentiate acknowledging emotions from agreeing with them? Why do you think acknowledging emotions (good or bad) is an important piece in properly experiencing them?
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What is the importance of identifying emotions? How does an emotional vocabulary create a more mature ability to experience and communicate feelings?
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In light of this discussion, what changes need to be made in the way you counsel men towards emotional competence? What needs to improve? How will you take steps in that process of improvement in the days ahead?
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A healthy level comfort with emotions is an important piece for thriving relationships with God and others. Emotions should not be viewed as undesirable weaknesses, but expressions of our humanity. Many men, both inside and outside of the church need counsel in how to grow as emotional human beings. Take intentional steps to encourage those men around you who struggle to express themselves emotionally. Help them to see the good gift of emotional experience and how it benefits their benefits as a whole.

For more insights and teaching from Tim Watson, check out the full course, A Vigilant Heart.

To find out more about the Association of Biblical Counselors, click here.