Letters

Letters 10-27-2014

Paging Doctor Dan: The doctor’s promise to repeal Obamacare reminds me of the frantic restaurant owner hurrying to install an exhaust fan after the kitchen burns down. He voted 51 times to replace the ACA law; a colossal waste of money and time. It’s here to stay and he has nothing to replace it.

Evolution Is Real Science: Breathtaking inanity. That was the term used by Judge John Jones III in his elegant evisceration of creationist arguments attempting to equate it to evolutionary theory in his landmark Kitzmiller vs. Dover Board of Education decision in 2005.

U.S. No Global Police: Steven Tuttle in the October 13 issue is correct: our military, under the leadership of the President (not the Congress) is charged with protecting the country, its citizens, and its borders. It is not charged with  performing military missions in other places in the world just because they have something we want (oil), or we don’t like their form of government, or we want to force them to live by the UN or our rules.

Graffiti: Art Or Vandalism?: I walk the [Grand Traverse] Commons frequently and sometimes I include the loop up to the cistern just to go and see how the art on the cistern has evolved. Granted there is the occasional gross image or word but generally there is a flurry of color.

NMEAC Snubbed: Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) is the Grand Traverse region’s oldest grassroots environmental advocacy organization. Preserving the environment through citizen action and education is our mission.

Vote, Everyone: Election Day on November 4 is fast approaching, and now is the time to make a commitment to vote. You may be getting sick of the political ads on TV, but instead, be grateful that you live in a free country with open elections. Take the time to learn about the candidates by contacting your county parties and doing research.

Do Fluoride Research: Hydrofluorosilicic acid, H2SiF6, is a byproduct from the production of fertilizer. This liquid, not environmentally safe, is scrubbed from the chimney of the fertilizer plant, put into containers, and shipped. Now it is a ‘product’ added to the public drinking water.

Meet The Homeless: As someone who volunteers for a Traverse City organization that works with homeless people, I am appalled at what is happening at the meetings regarding the homeless shelter. The people fighting this shelter need to get to know some homeless families. They have the wrong idea about who the homeless are.

Home · Articles · News · Features · State of Man: Our therapist...
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State of Man: Our therapist will see us now

Jodee Taylor - August 18th, 2014  

Is today’s man more sensitive than his 20th century counterpart? More independent? More invested in marriage and relationships or less? We asked an expert.

Greg Holmes is a clinical psychologist, practicing for more than thirty years in Traverse City. He has a bachelor’s degree and doctorate from Michigan State University, and a master’s from Central Michigan University. He’s seen many changes in the “state of man,” from gender roles to economic roles to parenting roles. And, he’s seen some things that will never change.

EXPRESS: What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in 30 years of practice?

HOLMES: There are so many socioeconomic changes now that really challenge us in our thinking: What is a man? A man’s identity, traditionally, has been so wrapped up in what he does as a provider, that with these cultural shifts - more women in the workplace, equality in the workplace - that is difficult for some men to adjust to. (Or) because of education, the woman is able to go outside the home and make more money than the man. They’ve had to adjust to that, they both have to adjust to that.

EXPRESS: How many men do you see in your practice?

HOLMES: Many more women percentage-wise seek counseling than men. National average is 2 to 1, but it’s actually higher than that. About two-thirds of people who seek psychotherapy are women. In my practice it’s 60 to 70 percent women. The men who come in, half of them are “encouraged” by a woman to get help for a problem. Most of what brings them in, from what I see, is relationship issues.

EXPRESS: What are the issues?

HOLMES: In general, women tend to ... internalize too much, whereas men can, or tend to, externalize too much. So you can imagine a relationship between someone who internalizes and blames themselves, right?

And someone who externalizes and tends to blame other people or situations. You can imagine how that would play out.

EXPRESS: Is that nature or nurture?

HOLMES: First of all, we come out of the box different, genetically. And then gender wise, there are differences. And then there are cultural differences. And men are, in general, more hesitant to admit to any problem.

We’re encouraged to do that. Men, as boys, are encouraged … to be “a man,” you know, “Step up and be a man.” Do we ever hear, “Be a woman”?

EXPRESS: What are men’s biggest fears today? HOLMES: I go along with John Steinbeck on this. He said our greatest fear isn’t death. Our greatest fear is rejection. For men and women, our greatest fear is that we’ll be rejected.

EXPRESS: How about their greatest joys?

HOLMES: You know, it’s different for every person but there is, available to men — and women — a lot of joys, a lot of simple pleasures. We’re told in our culture that the road to happiness is you have to make a lot of money and buy a lot of things and that doesn’t create happiness at all. So we spend a lot of our time engaged in activities that don’t really bring us joy. If we can slow down, be simple, take a look at what we really need, what really brings us joy and happiness, that would be a great thing.

EXPRESS: How do we have successful relationships?

HOLMES: The key to a successful relationship is to understand that it is impossible to argue a need or a feeling. I watch people do that, I hear about people doing that, I’ve heard about people doing that for 30 years. An easy way for people to understand, for people to get it is, if you say you’re cold, who’s to say you’re not cold, who’s to say you’re hot? If you say you need something, who’s to say you don’t need that? It goes nowhere.

This goes back to differences. The key to a successful relationship is to acknowledge, understand and respect differences, whether it’s between two people, two countries, two religions or whatever.

The other key…is honesty. Who’s the biggest enemy men have? Themselves. Until they square up with themselves, they will never have what they could have in other relationships. They can blame other people all day long, they can blame the driver ahead of them that’s too slow, the person who didn’t get their order right in a restaurant or their boss or their wife or their kids, but until they square up with themselves, things just aren’t going to change.

EXPRESS: Any tips for fathers raising their kids?

HOLMES: The big one is time, spending time with your children. And I don’t mean quality time. That’s a phrase we’ve invented to assuage our guilt. I mean quantity. And spend it with them in a way that they would like to spend it with you and being curious about your child.

EXPRESS: How can you find a soulmate?

HOLMES: For men and women, during our 20s, we’re really still developing our own identity. That’s why they call the 20s the “tryout 20s.” Another thing is, there are a lot of assumptions people make about what marriage is going to be like. There are things that are rarely talked about, the specifics: Money, religion, in-laws, how they’re going to raise their kids. The devil is in the details. It’s a difficult gig, even when you talk about it. It’s an impossible gig when you don’t.

EXPRESS: Final words?

HOLMES: I went to a retreat a few years ago and the Zen master said, “Imagine you’re in a spaceship, just floating through space. Now imagine something goes terribly wrong. You try and try but you realize you can’t fix it. You won’t be able to go home. At that point, you might pray for a miracle and what would that miracle be? That you’d be on Earth again, that you could touch your wife, your daughter, your son. That miracle exists now, but we don’t realize that it’s a miracle

 
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