Oil Changes and Tune-Ups: A Man’s World in Counseling

28 Aug

It happens all the time. A couple will come to me for marriage counseling, and I can see the fear in the husband’s eyes as soon as he figures out that this “Britt” isn’t a man.It’s not that he’s necessarily sexist, but I can so much as hear the voice in his head that says, “Great, now these two women are going to gang up on me.”

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal tackled this issue, and it focused on some therapists who are catering therapeutic strategies to appeal to males. untitled

According to the article, “because women are so much more comfortable talking about their feelings, some men believe that therapy is female-oriented and that they will be at a disadvantage.” The article features a therapist named Dr. Gary Brooks who has “developed a male-friendly therapy practice called ‘Gender-Aware Couples Therapy’ that focuses more on practical advice and getting results than on talking through problems.” In fact, many therapists are becoming more “solution-focused” and even using analogies men can relate to, referring to couples therapy as an “oil change” or a “tune-up.”

In terms of conflict resolution, the article made me think about how men and women can view the same situation in totally different ways. If a woman ties the conflict to emotions–and the male ties the conflict to results, it could be tricky getting them to find common ground.

So, here’s to becoming more aware of how the men feel in my therapy room–and, learning how to walk the line between emotions and results.


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