Men's Issues


600 × 450 -     Men are not from Mars but they are often alienated from their own inner world. They often do not have access to their feelings, needs and desires. Their estrangement from themselves makes it hard to connect in meaningful ways with their partners. The isolation of men is widespread and severe. Research shows that as men get older they often have only one male friend and their social networks, compared to those of women, are much weaker.                                                                            

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Whereas men still retain certain advantages in our society, the structures of traditional male identity and privilege have been under attack. Many boys and men have not yet found healthy ways to come to terms with these profound changes and are often confused about what it means to be a man. Traditional role models as well as macho images from movies and sports are no longer adequate. Many young men are actually seeking ways to forge an identity that allows them both to be strong and tough and to be in contact with deeper feelings and creativity.

As a whole our culture lacks meaningful rituals of initiation into manhood and masculinity. Instead of integrating the "little boy aspects", we often either deny or indulge them. The result is often an extended adolescence that can last into the thirties and beyond and inhibits the development of a solid self. This solidity is a prerequisite for the ability to commit and assume responsibilities in a a mature way. As a result many women have to deal with the inability and unwillingness of many men to form committed relationships. Therapists who are themselves "uninitiated" are handicapped in their capacity to help these men to overcome their commitment issues. It is also important for the couples therapist to be aware of the different styles women and men use to relate and express feelings and not inadvertently force the male partners into a "female" mode of relating.

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