MBP 25. Men, Social Norms & Suicide – with Dr Susannah-Joy Schuilenberg PsyD


In this episode, Paul shares the mic with Dr. Susannah-Joy Schuilenberg PsyD, RPC, MPCC-S, DAAETS, ACS, the founding partner, and director of clinical services at William & Associates Consultant Services. Her expertise is in psychology and counseling. She has an extensive and unusual experience with men and men’s issues including academic failure, ADHD, PTSD, complex trauma, intimate partner violence, depression, anxiety and life transitions. 

Today, Dr. Susannah-Joy talks us through how her work with men started, how working with male patients are different from working with female ones, and the considerations and adjustments she does as a therapist to meet her patients’ needs.

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Podcast Show Notes:

  • Introduction to The Man Bits Podcast
  • Join our Facebook Community
  • Paul welcomes Dr. Susannah-Joy to the show
  • Susannah-Joy’s journey started when she tutored a fellow student at 12 years old
    • She talks about how helping that student led her to career now
    • “I am absolutely committed to what’s practical”
    • What stuck with her is that people are being traumatized in the process of trying to get an education
  • “The primary vehicle for change in the counselling process is the relationship between the client and the therapist”
    • If Dr. Susannah-Joy can’t build a good rapport with a client, she refers them to other doctors who might be a better fit
    • Most men are willing to explore what’s causing the problem, but some aren’t willing to be vulnerable
    • Not liking a therapist will discourage a patient to not come back
    • If the next therapist doesn’t fit, keep trying to find one that will
  • At 23 years old, Dr. Susannah-Joy was married and had foster juvenile kids at home
    • She personally grew up with foster kids
    • At 23, she had a 14-year old alcoholic
  • In Kuwait, She worked with soldiers and former soldiers
    • She also worked with a translator for helping patients with different nationalities
  • Susannah-Joy finds that the dominant social discourse across all cultures she’s worked with create a stigma about asking for help
    • Some men would rather get lost than ask for direction in some cultures
    • However masculinity is defined in a culture, it always includes a form of strength
    • The suicide ratio from men to women is 3:1
    • Susannah-Joy shares that partners of men who attempted suicide and didn’t die, had no clue what was happening with their partner
  • Breaking the stigma will not come from one place
    • “You can’t define an individual by a group’s characteristics”
    • Society has to start talking about these issues
    • A society has to define what equality means
  • Women being victims of men doesn’t mean men are not getting victimized by women
    • There are men who are victims of violence by female partners but don’t want anybody to know about the ordeal
    • Therapy with women is not exactly the same with men
  • The Middle Bits
    • What is your #1 tip in achieving kickass mind health? – “Self-care”
    • What fundamental piece of advice would you tell your 15-year old self? – “The journey matters at least as much as the destination”
    • What useful or inspiring book or resource that you could recommend to our
      – Calm App and The Mask You Live In
    • If there’s one word to set your intention for 2018, what is that word? – “Being Present”
  • Susannah-Joy talks about how to reach out for help
    • “You have to have the vocabulary to be able to be articulate”
    • Emotional Intelligence is a book that Dr. Susannah-Joy and her husband assigns to their clients
    • Recognize first your own internal landscape and be able to articulate that
    • Men have been taught that expressing their feelings is not masculine
    • Susannah Joy shares the things she does in therapy
    • “It takes a very strong man to be divorced with public opinion”
  • Susannah-Joy talks about what she’s excited for this year
  • Connect with Dr. Susannah-Joy on her blogTwitter and Instagram
  • Join our Facebook Community
  • Send us your comments, suggestions, or feedback at info@themanbits.com
  • If you feel vulnerable, please go to com/support

Episode Takeaways:

  • Finding the right therapist is not always easy, but you have to find one that you will have a good relationship with and one that you personally can trust.
  • The stigma on masculinity is one of the reasons why men cannot seek help and/or refuse to be vulnerable.
  • Men should learn to detach themselves from public opinion and go for what they know what’s right for them.

Mentioned Resources:

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Disclosure: This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don’t let that corrupt my perspective and I don’t recommend only affiliates.

Disclaimer: Some of the content of this podcast may contain topics of a sensitive nature such as depression, anxiety and suicide. Whilst I have experience in coaching, training and remedial therapy I’m not to provide mental health advice or counselling. Therefore, engaging with the content of this podcast should not be considered a substitute to professional therapy.


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