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Psychotherapy with Men

Clinical Update
By Zur Institute

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Psychotherapy with Men

Most psychotherapists, counselors, MFTs and social workers are women, as are most of their clients. Although researchers find that there are more psychological similarities than differences between the genders, men do tend to bring different attitudes about therapy and emotional health into therapists' offices. Many of the assumptions therapists have about therapy, and even much of the language they use, can make some male clients uncertain and uncomfortable.

As ethics expert Melba Vasquez points out in this course, therapists have an ethical obligation to understand the male perspective and adapt their own assumptions about therapy to fit their clients' views. Of course, being effective with male clients can enhance our practices and the bottom line, too. No matter how well-intentioned or empathic they consider themselves, many therapists, both consciously and unconsciously, may often be out of tune with their male clients. While the process of mutual attunement can develop after several sessions, it seems reasonable to suspect that a considerable number of men, feeling like they're playing on someone else's field, feel so uncomfortable that they don't make the initial call to come to therapy or don't stick around long enough for therapy to actually take root and cohere.



Some of the topics covered in the course include:

  • Using paradoxical intention, exaggeration and storytelling in psychotherapy with men
  • The countertransference issues women and male therapists bring to therapy with male clients
  • The transference issues male clients bring to therapy with female and male therapists
  • Talking about depression from a masculine perspective
  • How women therapists should present themselves and talk with male clients in the first session
  • Awareness of our own internalized gender issues
  • Forming men's groups and exploration of the unique process of such a group
  • Using Motivational Interviewing to help men conceptualize their issues





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