Clinical Illustration Craig came to therapy to discuss a number of problems he felt he was having both at work in his career and at home in his relationship with his partner, Jim. Men of African, Hispanic, and Asian descent face unique challenges because of racial stereotypes that hardly reflect the realities of most men. The names and identifying information in all the clinical illustrations in this course have been changed to protect the identities of clients. The crossfire of interpersonal and intrapersonal demands that require response flexibility may result in frustration and confusion in many men who have been shaped by traditional cultural expectations of how a man is supposed to act. The fact that few men even make it to a therapist reflects the avoidance of men in our culture of involving themselves in a potentially dependent relationship, even if it is for their own good. Seriously, this is your life Dave. The affective acceptance allows a man to be more internally driven and focused on finding meaning in the life he is living. I really love Georgia. Do I talk and you give me advice?
This is particularly problematic in light of the fact that both boys and girls experience disappointments, betrayals, and losses from birth onward. One important task for clinicians is to become educated on the ways in which the traditional male gender role both inhibits and complicates the expression of male distress, and how some aspects of the traditional male gender role may actually be called on in service of treatment. It also gave him a chance to work on changing the dynamics of his family relationships. I think she misunderstood my intentions. I think it is good for them to have two parents living at home. How about you, Jake? Underlying much of the male ideal has been an anti-feminine stance. The combination of psychological losses of relational discontinuity along with the failure to live up to masculine ideals of being in control and strong may lead men to experience an unidentifiable sadness and loss of interest in their lives. Interpersonal conflict and rejection, failure experiences, and frustrations with not meeting expectations of life all can be construed as wounding experiences for many men. Gender role socialization affects both males and females. In addition, his identity as a provider is challenged. Depression and Suicide in Men This section will address the issue of depression and suicide in men. What do you mean by intimate? Often, these outer definitions of masculinity conflict with inner needs, wishes, and values. It was as if the color just faded from everything. The names and identifying information in all the clinical illustrations in this course have been changed to protect the identities of clients. Dissociation, as a defensive psychological process, compromises natural mourning that occurs as a result of the making and breaking of intimate emotional attachments to others throughout the lifespan. Having empathy for the difficulty of sharing personal information in a strange environment is likely to go a long way toward helping Jake feel more like he is understood and less like he is being judged. One such study, sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health, examined samples from five population areas in the United States. Conflicting masculine self-structures are often one of the reasons a man may come to therapy. These include the expectations to be strong and in control but to also be sensitive and responsive the gender bind , to be physical and active but also savvy and in command of oneself the kinetic bind , and to take risks and challenge oneself but also care and nurture oneself the hero bind. If the therapist is a man, the client may feel a need to present himself in a strong light. Your instincts seem to have gotten you into some hot water at work. I'm beginning to wonder. Perhaps the most powerful evidence for the expression of male-specific depression is the high suicide rate for men when compared to women. Disapproval and shame become associated with the presence and enactment of dependency needs.
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