Beyond the Crisis of Masculinity: A Transtheoretical Model for Male-Friendly Therapy
In Beyond the Crisis of Masculinity, Gary Brooks explores the "psychopathology of men's everyday lives"—the maladaptive strategies that men use to maintain a traditional male role that has increasingly come under assault. He then delves into the related question of why men overwhelmingly reject psychotherapy at a time when they need it the most.
The key to engaging men in therapy, Brooks argues, is devising a "male-friendly" therapy, involving flexibility, consciousness-raising in men's groups and other "out-of-office" settings, and the therapist's emphasis on an authentic empathetic bond with the troubled male client to discover meaning in the client's relational pressures and problems at work, with loved ones, and, most of all, with himself.
Standard therapeutic models don't work for men, Brooks argues, so therapists must be eclectic—transtheoretical—in negotiating therapeutic goals and tasks with their troubled male clients. The central tenets of multicultural counseling and therapy figure prominently in the transtheoretical model, as they allow the therapist to separate out and tackle peculiarly male problems that span different cultural and socioeconomic contexts.
Inclusive cultural empathy and the transtheoretical model's stages-of-change framework can sustain men's initial interest in the therapeutic option and, beyond that, in a transformative relationship. In such a way, Brooks concludes, the transtheoretical model advances a hesitant male client from the level of consciousness-raising and awareness of gender role strain to the level of action and change, as the locus of therapeutic agency shifts from the therapist to the client himself.