Men Who Once Hated the Idea of Therapy

This title describes some of the people I treat.

I have been able to do successful work with men who have sworn they would never attend another therapy session. The key has been listening to these clients once they get in the door. I have also read a fair amount of the research on why men have historically “resisted” treatment.

What emerged from this study is that a solid portion of these men are not resistant or therapy-phobic as has been assumed. They are actually right.

Therapy has been for them, as they have stated it, an uncomfortable waste of time and money. Opening up to their stories, I have heard accounts of men feeling ganged up on by their female partners joining with the therapist in condemning some behavior patterns of theirs. The so-called treatment of their couples had quickly deteriorated into a crime-and-punishment drama with the men as the accused, the partner the aggrieved, and the therapist the prosecutor/judge.

Another complaint has been therapists’ not understanding the demands of these clients’ careers. These demands often make weekly sessions on the same day at the same time impossible to fit into their busy schedules.

Because I have listened to them and adjusted my work style to accommodate these legitimate concerns, many men in my practice have actually enjoyed therapy, whether as individuals or in couples. Being mindful that women, too, need to feel welcomed, heard, and safe has been another core value of my practice from the beginning.

Another feature is that I am not opposed to appropriate humor at times. Therapy need not be so dreadfully serious. Laughter, research has proven, is a key ingredient in physical and psychological healing.

I have learned that it is possible to grow and become liberated from stale habits while having some fun doing so in a shame-free environment.