Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Features · State of Man: Our therapist...
. . . .

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

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5