The New York Times published an article “Need Therapy? A Good Man Is Hard to Find” which describes the impact of there being so few men in the field of psychotherapy. Less than ten percent of social workers under 34 are men and less than ten percent of the members of the American Counseling Association are men.
My work with clients is divided between counselor and life coach, so the statistics might be more skewed as there is still less stigma in working with a coach than with a psychotherapist. At the same time, when I was in graduate school twenty-five years ago, my classes were about fifty percent men and fifty percent women. When I taught graduate classes in psychotherapy, fifteen years later, I saw one or two men per class at the most! We can go into the reasons that there are so few men in the field now (the biggest reason is financial), but I’m more interested in dealing with the IMPACT of this.
Men need the benefits of counseling and coaching just as much as women do and yet over eighty percent of psychotherapy clients are female! As men, we do have the tendency to suffer from our male egos and part of that is that we believe that men can understand us better than women can.
Yes, many men believe that a male counselor can relate more to them. Yes, many men are less embarrassed talking to a male counselor about embarrassing (to the male ego) issues, such as sexual difficulties. And yes, female therapists are just as competent as male therapists, yet if the men don’t come in for treatment, they can’t be helped!
My psychotherapy and coaching practice has ALWAYS consisted primarily of couples and a balanced number of male and female clients. Is that because I’m a man? I really can’t say, I just know it to be the truth. While I believe that I’m just as effective at working with women as with men, I ALSO believe that men can relate more easily with me than with a female therapist or coach on many of their issues. And as psychotherapy becomes increasingly more “feminized” a great deal of potential male clients are put off and reluctant to seek support.
And I also believe that more heterosexual couples come to work with me, not only because I’m really good at working with couples, but also because I’m a man! Men are notoriously challenged by coming into couples counseling and are concerned about a female therapist ganging up with their partner against them. While all couples therapists attempt to perform balanced work, that perception/misperception can work against a couple entering treatment. I have an advantage in this area, at least initially, because these couples are more willing to begin treatment with me.
So whatever the perception, men need support and we need more men in the field of counseling and coaching to support them. So please, encourage those you care about to seek out support from someone. I offer a complimentary telephone consultation for those who are serious about working on themselves. Schedule this by Clicking Here.
Thank you so much,
Dr. Adam Sheck
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