Why Men Don’t Stay in Therapy
Curt and Katie chat about men’s mental health. We look at why men typically go to therapy, their experiences while in therapy, what therapists get wrong when working with men, and how therapists better support the needs of men seeking mental health treatment.
Click here to scroll to the podcast transcript.
Click here to scroll to the podcast transcript.
In this podcast episode we talk about men seeking therapy
For Men’s Health Awareness month, we want to explore men seeking mental health services.
Why do men typically go to therapy?
- Others telling men to go to therapy
- Career or relationship issues
- Depression, which looks like irritability and hostility (externalized behaviors)
What is the experience of men in therapy?
“Some of this research [on men accessing mental healthcare] shows that while men are increasing in the numbers presenting for mental health treatment, they tend to drop out earlier than women and they tend to drop out at a lot faster rate than women. So that to me says that we as a field are doing something wrong, that we are not able to meet the needs of men. All of that great advice out of ‘hey, go and seek mental health treatment,’ is falling on people who are trying it out and finding bad experiences with it. “– Curt Widhalm, LMFT
- Therapy seems to try to get men to emote like women
- Invalidating masculine presentations and behaviors
- Equating masculinity with toxic masculinity
- Not feeling safe to express emotions beyond confidence, neutrality, or anger
How can therapists better serve men seeking therapy?
- Understanding and honoring a range of masculinities (even within the same client)
- Helping men to broaden their range of emotional expression
- Problem-solving, solution-focused can be helpful for men who want to have a clearly defined goal to work toward
- Collaboratively creating treatment goals
- Identity work that supports self-definition of masculinity
What can therapists get wrong when working with men in therapy?
“There is such a broad array of understandings at this point of what masculinity and what ‘real men do’ that I think we need to be aware that whether it’s traditional gender roles, or more current… there’s some need for an understanding of where your client sits.” – Katie Vernoy, LMFT
- Framing masculinity and toxic masculinity solely as “bad”
- Not digging more deeply into individual development around masculinity
- Taking offense at their client’s gender identity or ignoring their own bias around “traditional gender roles”
- How therapists characterize men’s presenting problems (assigning blame, like depression being seen as anger or hostility, men being described as violent rather than traumatized)
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Resources for Modern Therapists mentioned in this Podcast Episode:
We’ve pulled together resources mentioned in this episode and put together some handy-dandy links. Please note that some of the links below may be affiliate links, so if you purchase after clicking below, we may get a little bit of cash in our pockets. We thank you in advance!
Men’s mental health: Spaces and places that work for men
Why it’s time to focus on masculinity in mental health training and clinical practice
Men’s Dropout From Mental Health Services: Results From a Survey of Australian Men Across the Life Span
Improving Mental Health Service Utilization Among Men: A Systematic Review and Synthesis of Behavior Change Techniques Within Interventions Targeting Help-Seeking
Relevant Episodes of MTSG Podcast:
On the APA Guidelines for Boys and Men
Antiracist Practices in the Room: An interview with Dr. Allen Lipscomb
Therapy for Executives and Emerging Leaders
What to Know When Providing Therapy for Elite Athletes
Speaking up for Mental Health Awareness: An interview with Metta World Peace
Who we are:
Curt Widhalm, LMFT
Curt Widhalm is in private practice in the Los Angeles area. He is the cofounder of the Therapy Reimagined conference, an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University and CSUN, a former Subject Matter Expert for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, former CFO of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, and a loving husband and father. He is 1/2 great person, 1/2 provocateur, and 1/2 geek, in that order. He dabbles in the dark art of making “dad jokes” and usually has a half-empty cup of coffee somewhere nearby. Learn more at: http://www.curtwidhalm.com
Katie Vernoy, LMFT
Katie Vernoy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, coach, and consultant supporting leaders, visionaries, executives, and helping professionals to create sustainable careers. Katie, with Curt, has developed workshops and a conference, Therapy Reimagined, to support therapists navigating through the modern challenges of this profession. Katie is also a former President of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. In her spare time, Katie is secretly siphoning off Curt’s youthful energy, so that she can take over the world. Learn more at: http://www.katievernoy.com
A Quick Note:
Our opinions are our own. We are only speaking for ourselves – except when we speak for each other, or over each other. We’re working on it.
Our guests are also only speaking for themselves and have their own opinions. We aren’t trying to take their voice, and no one speaks for us either. Mostly because they don’t want to, but hey.
Stay in Touch with Curt, Katie, and the whole Therapy Reimagined #TherapyMovement:
Consultation services with Curt Widhalm or Katie Vernoy:
Connect with the Modern Therapist Community:
Our Facebook Group – The Modern Therapists Group
Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Creative Credits:
Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/
Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano https://groomsymusic.com/
Transcript for this episode of the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide podcast (Autogenerated):
Curt Widhalm 0:00
This episode of the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide is brought to you by Thrizer.
Katie Vernoy 0:03
Thrizer is a modern billing platform for private pay therapists. Their platform automatically gets clients reimbursed by their insurance after every session. Just by billing your clients through Thrizer. You can potentially save them hundreds every month with no extra work on your end. The best part is you don’t have to give up your rates. They charge a standard 3% processing fee.
Curt Widhalm 0:24
Listen at the end of the episode for more information on a special offer from Thrizer.
You’re listening to the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide where therapists live, breathe and practice as human beings. To support you as a whole person and a therapist, here are your hosts, Curt Widhalm, and Katie Vernoy.
Curt Widhalm 0:45
Welcome back modern therapists, this is the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide. I’m Curt Widhalm with Katie Vernoy. And this is the podcast for therapists about the things that we do with our clients, the issues that our clients face, and all kinds of things that can be beneficial for therapists. And this is November this is Men’s Health Awareness Month, and at least to us therapists Health Awareness also includes mental health awareness. And so we are visiting the issues that come up with men seeking out therapy, and what they get out of therapy and some of the challenges that we as a profession face here. So talking about men coming into therapy, I know just about every woman in my life has, at one point or another expressed my husband slash brother slash father slash boyfriend needs to go to therapy, and they just don’t. Katie, what are your thoughts on this?
Katie Vernoy 1:44
I think I’m actually one person that hasn’t said that about my husband. But regardless, I think I’ve said that you should go to therapy. So does that count?
Curt Widhalm 1:54
Yes. You, you fall into my overarching statement?
Katie Vernoy 1:59
All right. All right. I’ll take it. So my impression, and I realized, as time has continued, about half of my caseload are men at this point. And I noticed it because I kind of shifted my the way that I was marketing my specialty to be, I think, in some ways, more what men seem to go to therapy for, which is the work elemen. You know, whether it’s career therapy, executive therapy, that kind of stuff. And I stopped focusing my marketing on women’s survivors of kind of childhood trauma and abuse. And so what I’m finding, and we talked about this before we hit record, is that a lot of the men that come into my practice are either coming for work issues, or because I’m a quote, unquote, marriage and family therapist, are coming because they are having issues with the relationship, or both. And it seems like it’s a lot of folks kind of externally saying, hey, you need therapy, my partner, or its work saying, in order for you to really succeed, you need to get your stuff together. And so to me, it seems like there’s still some I’ve seen some self motivated men coming into my practice. But I think the stereotype is men are told to go to therapy, or they go to therapy because they want to do better at work.
Curt Widhalm 3:29
And the statistics that we’re looking at, we’ll post some of the articles that we’re looking at in our show notes over at mtsgpodcast.com. But a lot of the better research around approaches to men seeking mental health come from those countries with national health services that have a lot more of this demographic information available. So some of the stuff is largely coming out out of Australia, Canada, Britain, some of the American based stuff, I think, I still have some problems with and I’m going back to maybe revisit the APA guidelines on working with men and boys where I still have a lot of problems with the ways that some of these different groups are looking at why and how men approach therapy, and what we as therapists should do with it. Now, some of the research that we’re going to post in this episode’s show notes, talk about that men tend to seek more therapy than they did 10 years ago. So a lot of the men’s health campaigns, even things like Men’s Health Month have done a better job of promoting the kinds of things that men should reach out for, as far as health care providers. A lot of this month tends to focus on physical things like go to your doctor, get prostate screenings, those kinds of nice, tangible, like, Alright, I’m gonna go to the doctor once sort of things. But a lot of those campaigns also talk about things like suicide and the desperate range of numbers of men who commit suicide, the number of men who die by suicide as compared to women. And looking at the approaches to that, looking at the extension of that, including mental health treatments some of this research shows that while men are increasing in the numbers of presenting for mental health treatment, they tend to drop out earlier than women. And they tend to drop out at a lot faster rate than women. So that to me says that we as a field are doing something wrong. That we are not able to meet the needs of men. All of that great advice out of hey, go and seek mental health treatment is falling on people who are trying it out and finding bad experiences with it. And this, I think, where you have a practice, that’s about half and as you describe, my practice is largely men and boys, I get a lot of just referrals of like, Hey, you’re a guy therapist, you relate to guys better. And I think it’s worth diving into some of what we’re seeing and hearing in our practices to help us better as a fields to actually help, particularly first time mental health seeking men get more out of therapy.
Katie Vernoy 6:23
So before we jump into the conversation, I just want to comment that we do have an episode on the APAs report on therapy for men and boys. We also have a lot of other episodes that specifically talk about men with with certain other characteristics. I’m thinking specifically of the one we did with Dr. Lipscomb about black men. So we’ll add those links in the show notes. And I think there’s some kind of expanded conversations there that are that I think are pretty interesting and can augment the conversation we’re having here. But it seems to me, Curt, what you’re really wanting to dig into today is, although there is this stereotype that men are not coming to therapy, they are actually more more so than they were anyway. And when they arrive in therapy, they’re not getting what they need. And so then they’re dropping out. And so that leaves the onus not on men to come to therapy more but to therapist to do better work.
Curt Widhalm 7:20
Katie Vernoy 7:22
Curt Widhalm 7:23
So just in framing it that way, what do you think that men are getting when they first come into therapy that is not necessarily keeping them around?
Katie Vernoy 7:35
I think it’s hard, not having the lived experience of being male, I can only assume. But for the men that I’ve seen, that have chosen me, as a therapist, we talk about gender differences typically, some more than others. It just depends on the kind of individual. And there’s also this impression of kind of the women woowoo therapists that are very touchy feely, are very in this space of just being very present and aware and open. And I think the thing that I always get, and this could be this is the type of therapist that I am, we’re going to problem solve, we’re going to we’re going to talk about real solutions, we’re going to try to understand and come to some collaborative planning strategies, you know, stuff that’s practical, versus I think, digging into things in a really unstructured way. But I think that’s because I like that, and that’s how I operate. And so I think that’s a feedback I’m giving. Or I, the feedback that I’m given. And so to me, I’d be interested, what you’re hearing, because I know being male, there’s probably another additional element of what you’re told about what’s happening with folks coming into therapy potentially with non male therapist and not getting what they need.
Curt Widhalm 8:58
And I think you and I are starting in the same place on this. That I hear from a lot of first time male clients, particularly the adult so I’m being sent here by my wife, girlfriend, partner, whoever it is that wants me to get more in touch with my emotions. And usually in that kind of a conversation, something becomes very, very apparent, which is men are being sent to therapy by their partners in these cases.
Katie Vernoy 9:04
And/or their couples therapist.
Curt Widhalm 9:25
And/or their couples therapist.
Katie Vernoy 9:33
I get lots of referrals from couples therapists. Work with this guy.
Curt Widhalm 9:37
But they’re being sent to therapy, to emote like women, with the goal of getting in touch with their feelings in the way that women seek out treatment and in the way that women want to have their own goals for treatment. And that just goes against a lot of the ways that particularly in Western cultures that men are socialized. And this ends up putting into a kind of a very, you know, therapeutic sort of existential crisis from the very beginning, as far as what directions do we go? Because if we are successful in treating the men in the way that their partners or their couples therapists are sending them to therapy to be, we’re teaching them how to be something that is statistically likely going to be invalidated when they go back to their partner. Because, hey, you’re showing up and you’re not the man that you used to be. Or you’re you’re emoting in a way. And, and it becomes a frustrating thing for the clients. Because what they’re reporting, what they come back is like, hey, look, I went back to my partner, and I did the things and I brought up my feelings. And I said, you know, hey, I’m feeling really anxious about this thing or I need more support about this thing. And at best, some of them are told some sort of one sentence platitude of like, okay, thanks. What are you going to do about it? Which goes into the behavioral problem solving that you kind of go to. Sometimes it’s just kind of this open space of like, okay, you’re gonna keep emoting keep going, keep going, that ends up shying them off when these are guys who have had, you know, a month of therapy that are like, okay, but I did the thing I identified my emotion, I brought it up to you, we’re talking that is not in the way that they have been socialized for years, or, and this actually happens quite a bit with some of the guys who are seeking out therapy for the first time. Maybe those who come from the really more masculine type roles. I was completely invalidated. And I was told to man up and go do something.
Katie Vernoy 11:49
Curt Widhalm 11:51
Katie Vernoy 11:52
Curt Widhalm 11:53
…they’re being sent to therapy, and trying to work on other people’s goals. And what you’re talking about is where, you know, it’s building a good treatment plan, building a good therapeutic relationship of What are your goals? But I think that, especially from a field, our field, and we’ll talk about this more next week, but our field being so predominantly staffed by women, that we can miss this very important piece of working with male presenting clients in therapy, because we might just be operating from the ways that our own internal biases and our own socializations show up in therapy, to actually kind of invalidate our clients without even meaning to.
Katie Vernoy 12:45
All of those things, I think have shown up in my office. And another one that I think has shown up for some of the men in my practice is going back, having feelings, expressing them in the way that they can, which sometimes is eloquently and sometimes is a little ham handed, so to speak. And what I’m finding is that if it’s not perfectly eloquent, it can sometimes be perceived as defensive. And so then it becomes, quote, unquote, harmful in a different way. Or because you have feelings, man, you’re now invalidating me, because I have feelings. And so it becomes this piece where I think some of this some of these things were someone else’s sending them to therapy, if they don’t also have relationship counseling or couples counseling or whatever, I think it makes it very difficult because it becomes this like how do you keep arming this guy for going back into his relationship, family, coupledom, whatever it is? And, and navigating what’s there. I think when you actually have and I have great couples counselors that I work with, so I don’t want to say like, Oh, they’re just sending men to therapy for you know, to emote, like their their female spouses, but potentially that they’re wanting to the work help and other places to figure themselves out. But, but when we have those communication, that couples counseling, I think if the person there can honor the identities of both people present or all the people that are present, I think that’s helpful. But what you’re really describing is that if we’ve got the individual counselor for the man, invalidating or sending them back with tools that aren’t going to work, and then we also have a couples therapist that is also doing the same thing. It becomes greatly perpetuated and men, I feel like get to a place where they feel like they can’t win.
Curt Widhalm 14:46
Absolutely, and especially and this is bringing it back more to American demographics here, at a time when is the changing demographics, the changing roles of what men in our society are. Aur showing that men are, by and large, going to college less, they are more and more moving into blue collar jobs that don’t require an education. They’re required to help contribute to their family of origin, sort of household income at a much, much younger age. They’re pushed further and further away from some of the jobs that might have them interacting with more women in their day to day basis too. And so…
Katie Vernoy 15:34
Curt Widhalm 15:34
…what this does is it pushes them into these more masculine circles in the first place. And so even if we are successful in arming them with some of these feelings, we’re arming them with even kind of that next step of, okay, you’re gonna go back and you’re going to tell your partner, here’s how you feel, and she’s going to respond in this way that feels kind of invalidating. And here’s how you continue to hold your space, or you’re working with a couples therapist to work on that dynamic that you’re describing. We’re also ignoring the 40 plus hours a week that they’re not spending in kind of this emotional state. And so what this does is, it makes it to where men and I know a lot of our social discourse lately is around, you know, masculinity and masculinity as if it comes across to men, masculinity is bad. And so you end up with kind of this divergent, like, you know, talking a lot in our field of kind of toxic masculinity being a problem. But we have to create space for a range of masculinities to show up. And a range of masculinities to show up even from within a singular client. Because they are not going to just go and present as you know, one simple man in a number of different spaces in their environment. They might need the space to be able to unpack things that they’ve needed to kind of compartmentalize, because if they do show up in a way that is more emotional in a yet again, different invalidating environment, then once again, we’re not actually preparing them to be the men that can be successful in all of the areas of their life.
Katie Vernoy 17:18
The range of emotions that, you know, and this may be a stereotype, but the range of emotions that seem to be acceptable for men are kind of on the anger or rage side, or kind of happy or neutral. And maybe it’s confidence, I think you’ve called it confidence.
Curt Widhalm 17:39
I, when we talked about this off air, I said, most men, don’t send, don’t send your pitchforks after me. Probably most men are allowed to either be angry, neutral or confident. I don’t know that happy is allowed. It’s…
Katie Vernoy 17:59
Okay, okay. I, I think that will keep that simplification so I can get to the next point. Which is when men start feeling their emotions more deeply, if what they’ve been socialized or what’s acceptable to experience is anger. With that being the uncomfortable emotion that’s acceptable broadly, I think it becomes very challenging for men to to get into the nuance, and for some men and some of the black men that I’ve worked with, talk about being less threatening. And so then that is even cut off to them, they cannot be angry. And so there’s there’s really no place to even fully experience and, and process emotions because angry men are scary men. And angry men are toxic. And angry men are not really in touch with their feelings. And it’s something where there’s this, this element of of being able to parse through what is the emotion actually? If it’s anger, great, what what is it telling you? If it’s not, if it’s if it’s being kind of covered by anger because that’s what’s acceptable? How do you do, how do you deal with that? Where are the safe spaces to deal with that? I mean, it’s that the differing levels of masculinity in different settings. I mean, if there’s no safe place to really dig into uncertainty, or to dig into sadness or grief, I mean, it becomes very challenging for that, that man to be able to move towards emotional health. And if as therapists we’re not assessing our bias towards men, in this regard, whether it’s only allowing confidence, neutrality or anger, or something else. I think we don’t provide sufficient space to process what we might ourselves be bringing up in therapy.
Curt Widhalm 19:48
And I think the major point, you’ve got the right points. I just want to put them in the right order here.
Katie Vernoy 19:55
Curt Widhalm 19:57
What you said at the very beginning is how we get there. That men are not necessarily going to come in and sit down and be like, you know, here’s all of my uncertainties. And here’s, you know, the things that are, you know, making me anxious or depressed or any of these kinds of things. It’s getting to the goals first, and then being able to lay out the roadmap and then identify these things along the way as, here’s the things that are holding you back as our client here. I think that without that clear pathway, that clearly defined outcome for a lot of men, that is going to be one of the barriers to treatment that they end up feeling. Because if it’s okay, I’m going to come in, and I’m going to talk about my feelings. And I don’t know where we’re going with this. This doesn’t seem like efficient uses of my time, I have to go and be productive, earn money at my job, provide for my family, you know, I’m putting in the work, I’ve responded in all of these kinds of ways. If this doesn’t feel like it’s going someplace, then what’s the point of doing this? And I think that that’s something that does contribute to drop out is not having a clearly defined goal to work towards.
Katie Vernoy 21:11
Yeah. I mean, I think part of this goes to what is good therapy, right? And, and I think, when we talk about it broadly, so not based on gender, when we talk about what’s good therapy, part of it is really making sure that you’re meeting the client where they are, and that you’re collaboratively creating treatment goals. And I think the point that you brought up about if someone’s sending them in, even if that’s the stated goal of the client in front of you, if it’s truly from their partner, or from somewhere else, I think, getting to a collaborative goal requires, and what do you really want? Like what is what would be motivating to you? What would make your life better? What are your opinions on these things? I mean, to me, it seems like there’s this over reliance on men to be decisive and opinionated in professional settings, and sometimes an under reliance on men to have an opinion about their relationship.
Curt Widhalm 22:13
Katie Vernoy 22:14
They must comply with what their partner says the relationship should look like.
Curt Widhalm 22:19
Or they’re expected to have those same decisive opinions about their relationship, but then are blamed for being invalidating of the other part of the relationship. And, you know, this is where the messages can become very, very confusing. And to have the space to tease this out, needs to be done in a way that gives permission, that at the end of the conversation, there’s going to be something to be done about it. Because if our hypothetical client here is decisive at work, and decisive at home, he’s called invalidating at home. If he’s decisive at work, and not decisive at home, he’s left with anger, or he’s left with needing to just kind of fade into the background. And he’s blamed for not engaging into the family.
Katie Vernoy 23:16
That is what I was gonna say, yeah.
Curt Widhalm 23:18
And so there has to be, you know, kind of that relational work that goes along with it to help redefine and commit to the goals. Because men’s mental health is women’s mental health, when it comes to this kind of stuff. Because if the people who are sending a lot of men to therapy are their partners, are these other people very immediately in their lives, this then goes into all of the female oriented episodes that we’ve talked about as well. And if those roles are going to change, then there has to be a negotiated process for both sides of this. It’s not just go to therapy and fix men. I mean, I see in a lot of the Facebook groups, you know, of even therapists being like, Hey, I’m off the clock, I’m dating, I’m not your therapist. But if your therapist is telling you go and talk about your feelings with the person you’re dating, you’re kind of invalidating the things that you’re saying to do professionally.
Katie Vernoy 24:16
When we talk about masculinity, and the different types of masculinity. I think we talked a little bit about it in the APA, our episode on the APA thing, but I think, I think it’s relevant here because I think being able to, to meet this hypothetical male client where they are. To be able to support them and who they are. And then also for them to take a knowledgeable, conscious look at themselves and how they fit into their relationships, what they want for their lives, but also how they fit into society because a lot of these types of masculinity seem to be socially prescribed. And so do we want to talk a little bit about what that what different types of masculinity look like so that we can have a little bit more of a conversation about how we support masculinities.
Curt Widhalm 25:11
I, in the response to the APA article had a lot of problems, particularly with the way that it was framed as men being either prescribed or assigning to themselves, some of these masculinity sort of things. And a lot of things in our field get blamed on toxic masculinity, particularly in the American mental health system. And a lot of the discourse now tends to come across as masculinity is bad. As we make space within, you know, kind of a changing society a lot of the traditional masculine roles, sometimes identified as the incels or the toxic masculinity, sort of people are going to interpret that kind of messaging of, you know, toxic masculinity is bad. But if that’s where they have been socialized to, if that is the people that surround them, the content that they consume on the internet, we are not doing ourselves a favor as a profession in embracing that those are the same people that were saying need to go to therapy, and yet we’re making ourselves extremely unattractive for them to come into therapy.
Katie Vernoy 26:28
I’m actually talking about going further, more basic and saying like, what, what do we look at as, quote unquote, healthy masculinity? Like, what does that actually look like?
Curt Widhalm 26:40
What I look at healthy masculinity as being is summed up by the philosopher Ron Swanson, from the TV show Parks and Recreation.
Katie Vernoy 26:50
Curt Widhalm 26:52
Everything I do is manly, because I’m a man. I embrace this, because what it does is it puts the self identity above what the social prescription is.
Katie Vernoy 27:09
Curt Widhalm 27:10
And wherever anybody falls on whatever gender identity sort of thing goes, you know, twist that and make it work for you. Because this is where creating your own self definition of what it means to be masculine or manly, in our episode here comes with a sense of self confidence. It comes with a sense of being able to define with, I’m okay with this, and I don’t need to fall into other people’s peer pressures. I hear a lot of, you know, the younger college age students in my practice talking about, you know, who’s who’s the alpha, or who’s the sigma of their social groups. And at least a lot of my clients, you know, kind of laugh it off. And it’s like, well that’s, obviously just kind of what they’re focused on, the people around me are focused I’m okay not using that kind of language. But those people are out there. And those people are putting more of that social prescription on themselves, or social prescription of how men should act as opposed to really having that individual confidence of what their self identity is.
Katie Vernoy 28:23
What I’m hearing is a hesitance to put any specifics to it. But I think even in one of the articles that there was that you sent over to me was there was this idea of the confidence. I mean, that’s confidence is kind of an emotion, but it’s kind of a way of being. And it seems like to be masculine, potentially, is to be confident, to be confident. And then I think there’s this other element of having some sort of power or ability to care for the people around them. And so there’s, there’s a structure there that leads to an expectation. And then there’s also the societal, the current societal, pushing back on what real men do, so to speak. And so I’m getting a lot more male clients who are not the breadwinner, so to speak, that are navigating relationships that are not in the more traditional kind of gender roles. And yet there’s still masculinity there. And so I think I will I will heed what you’re saying and then if someone is a man all the things they do is manly. I think it’s that element of of trying to understand how do we support someone that is potentially more traditional in how they look at things. When you know as a woman, I don’t know that I agree. I mean, I think I’m I’m probably, I think that there are some therapists, female therapist typically, but sometimes folks from other genders who I feel very strongly that traditional masculine ideas and the foil of kind of the feminine ideal of being soft and caring and nurturing, sometimes those can feel offensive to folks. And so the reason I wanted to kind of talk a little bit about masculinity is because I think we have to be present for each person’s conception of their own gender identity, as well as how they relate to the other genders and what that means to them. I think if it becomes toxic, if it’s something where there’s that element of, it hurts the relationship, I think there’s other places to go with it. But there are such a broad array of understandings at this point of what masculinity and what quote unquote, real men do that I think we need to be aware that whether it’s traditional gender roles, or, or more current, you know, like, it is what it is. I think that there’s there’s some need for an understanding of where your client sits.
Curt Widhalm 31:03
And I think that the risk for therapists and again, in a predominantly female dominated field, is the role that we can take. What’s the opposite of misogyny misandry of coming across as misandrus? I don’t know what the conjugation on that. But of ignoring that some of the ways that men end up in therapy have different origins, or we assign as a field different origins to the kinds of problems that show up. Take depression, for example, where typically it’s going to show up in a lot of female presenting clients has extreme sadness, weariness, inability to kind of activate and move. Whereas for a lot of men, the initial signs are going to be around irritability, hostility, external focus type behaviors. Another place that this really shows up is in the roles of being on the receiving end of interpersonal violence. Where in a lot of relationships where the men or the perpetrator, men tend to get blamed as being hostile, aggressive, you know, kind of characteristic acts of that individual man. But in relationships where the female is the is the batterer or the aggressor. A lot of times that that gets explained away from the male victims, as well, she she had a lot of trauma, and that’s where she’s acting out of. And so there’s even a way that we approach problems with men in ways that assign blame to men in a way even when they’re the ones facing the relational or the objective problems that they’re coming to seek out here.
Katie Vernoy 33:02
Yeah, yeah, I feel like there’s a lot to talk about here. Because there’s there’s the overarching increase access. There’s the once we get them in our offices, making sure that we’re doing things in a way that actually is helpful. And then there’s really understanding that, you know, and this is, I guess, for our next episode, that there’s, there’s a vibe that we’re putting out as a profession that is potentially anti men.
Curt Widhalm 33:34
Katie Vernoy 33:35
And so we’re, we’re stuck with this issue of men not being allowed to express many emotions generally, I know that this is this is an overgeneralization. But generally, they can express confidence and anger. They’re oftentimes, they perceive therapy is not helpful. And potentially there’s times when it really isn’t. And then there’s relationships that get blamed on men if they are not improved. Because for whatever reason, men have the power, quote, unquote, and are responsible for all things. And so it becomes this really toxic swirl for men who are trying to create better lives for themselves, because there’s not really a place for them to go and get the support that they need. Because it’s just it seems like it doesn’t exist as frequently as I would like it to exist.
Curt Widhalm 34:33
Yeah, and when they do go there, it’s not what they’re told that it is. So we would love to hear your thoughts about this episode. You can let us know on our social media, follow our Facebook group, the Modern Therapist Group. And if you’d like our content and want to continue to support us, please consider becoming a patron or supporting us on Buy Me a Coffee. And until next time, I’m Curt Widhalm with Katie Vernoy.
Katie Vernoy 35:00
Thanks again to our sponsor Thrizer.
Curt Widhalm 35:02
Thrizer is a new billing platform for therapists that was built on the belief that therapy should be accessible and clinicians should earn what they are worth. Every time you bill a client through Thrizer an insurance claim is automatically generated and sent directly to the clients insurance. From there Thrizer provides concierge support to ensure clients get their reimbursement quickly and directly into their bank account. By eliminating reimbursement by cheque, confusion around benefits and obscurity with reimbursement status they allow your clients to focus on what actually matters rather than worrying about their money. It is very quick and easy to get set up and it works great with EHR systems.
Katie Vernoy 35:43
Their team is super helpful and responsive and the founder is actually a longtime therapy client who grew frustrated with his reimbursement times. Thrizer lets you become more accessible while remaining in complete control of your practice. Better experience for your clients during therapy means higher retention. Money won’t be the reason they quit on therapy. Sign up using bit.ly/moderntherapists and use the code ‘moderntherapists’ if you want to test Thrizer completely risk free. You will get one month of no payment processing fees meaning you earn 100% of your cash rate during that time.
Curt Widhalm 36:18
Once again, sign up at bit.ly/moderntherapists and use the code ‘moderntherapists’ if you want to test Thrizer completely risk free.
Thank you for listening to the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide. Learn more about who we are and what we do at mtsgpodcast.com. You can also join us on Facebook and Twitter. And please don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss any of our episodes.
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