- YOU SEE, DOC, IT'S LIKE THIS ... Stress, relationship problems, aging, loneliness,
depression, unwanted erotic fantasies and impotence are among the reasons
more men are seeking help, therapists say. Like the lion in The Wizard
Of Oz, more and more men are finding the courage to visit therapists.
- Driven to despair by sex, work pressures,
family and responsibilities, they're joining a growing male trend and baring
their souls to a stranger.
- Psychologist Dr. William Pollack, of
the Centre for Men at McLean Hospital, Belmont, Mass., is the co-author
of New Psychotherapy For Men (Wiley, $82.50).
- He says men going to therapy is benefitting
women because they now prefer men who can express their emotions rather
than unfeeling hulks.
- "Women have had their John Waynes
and it's not too wonderful," he adds.
- Pollack, an assistant professor at Harvard
Medical School, undergoes psychoanalysis himself four times a week.
- "It's part of my training,"
says the 48-year-old married father of one.
- Pollack never judges his clients and
encourages them to discuss feelings with family, friends and employers.
- "I turn therapy into an heroic act,"
- His case successess include the Boston
doll lover, who claimed he couldn't find a woman matching his idea of perfection.
- After shacking up with an inflatable
doll, the man conjured up enough guts to seek professional help.
- Though his fixation was somewhat severe,
after long talks with Pollack, the man subsequently went down the aisle
with a woman he once shunned because she had a mole on her face.
- Another of Pollack's cases was a man
dating four women at once. He'd had a bad childhood and liked a safety
- After therapy he married one of his four
- Toronto area psychotherapists also report
more men visiting them for treatment.
- And what's driving them into therapy?
- A myriad of things, say the therapists,
including stress, relationship problems, aging, loneliness, depression,
unwanted erotic fantasies and impotence.
- "It takes great courage for men
to seek help, especially when they fear being viewed as puny, wimpy and
unable to handle things," says Toronto psychotherapist Steve Schklar,
- "Men have tried to tough it out
but it doesn't work. It's a wonderful thing that they are venturing out
- Men make up 70% of Schklar's practice
and the president of the Ontario Society of Psychotherapists says colleagues
report similar numbers.
- A number of patients, he reveals, are
middle-aged and afraid of growing old. "They are wondering what they
have accomplished," he reports.
- "The world is changing too fast,
they don't know how to speak to their wives, how to be politically correct.
They are feeling out of step."
- Schklar offers individual and or group
sessions. Most clients spend three to six months in therapy through once-a-week,
- Men of all avenues enter his office:
Rich, poor, factory workers, doctors, businessmen, artists and librarians.
- He's seen victims of physical and sexual
abuse and seedy men who've now "cleaned up their act."
- Many are tongue-tied about their feelings,
notes Schklar, and he helps them open up.
- One treatment involves asking men to
note their emotions and those of people they deal with. They can then take
part in group sessions and practise expressing themselves.
- Doug McKee, 37, an Atlanta area psychologist
who has studied men's issues, says his male clientele has spiralled.
- The supposed stigma of only wimps going
for therapy is being overcome, he says.
- "It's okay for men to be lost and
seek directions," he says. McKee believes the readiness of famous
male celebrities to discuss their therapy has helped men bite the bullet.
- "There's a lot of soul searching
going on in a society that changes so fast," he says. "Men of
the '90s are different. They're more willing to go outside the box and
do less traditional things."
- But is male therapy another made-in-Hollywood
- Definitely not, says Toronto psychotherapist
Joyce Curry, 43.
- "Therapy is no easy matter,"
she says. "Stripping the layers and looking at oneself is hard work.
There's no danger of it becoming trendy."
- What types of guys are going
- What types of men are going into therapy?
Here are some of the categories:
- Walter Mitty Man: Quiet. Nice. Well-liked.
Internal pain and fury.
- Outdoor Man: Prefers his company to his
family's as he's less uptight alone. Miserable and depressed.
- Beer Man: Laughs it off. Nothing wrong
with me, he insists.
- Macho Man: To him, sex is love.
- Mid-Life Crisis Man: Been there, done
that. Afraid of aging. Depressed. Anxious.
- Indecisive Man: Can't commit. Won't express
true feelings. Stressed. Anxious. Likely depressed.
- Success Man: Married to job. Pathetic
social life. Breakdown in progress.