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Men in therapy

Submitted by counsellor

 

Consultation rates are consistently lower for men than they are for women in seeking help for psychological difficulties, especially emotional difficulties and depressive symptoms (Moller-Leimkuhler, 2002).

Gender role conflict (O’Neil, 1981) has been identified as a barrier to help-seeking in men: e.g. a man may feel that his gender role is significantly strained already and he may experience a fear of reprisals for showing further weakness in seeking help.

Mahalik, Good and Englar-Carlson (2003) discuss a number of traditional masculinity scripts they believe contribute not only to men’s resistance to seeking help, but also to the development of mental and physical health difficulties. Masculinity scripts prescribe men a certain way to think, feel and behave, equivalent to an actor handed a script in a play ... any deviation could be considered ‘feminine’ and unacceptable (Meth, 1990).

It is important to be open to the possibility that these factors are present in the therapy room and to work with them openly.

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