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Men and Intimacy: Overcoming “Commitment Phobia”

Welcome to Men and Intimacy: Overcoming “Commitment Phobia”. In this series, leading innovators in the field will delve into the latest research on gender differences and discuss practical ways to make therapy more inviting and helpful for male clients.

In this first session with couples and family specialist Pat Love, you’ll discover how to work with men in therapy by appealing to their logical side with fact-based, practical approaches. You’ll learn how applying brain science to gender differences can open up resistant male clients, and help opposite-sex partners better understand each other’s world.

Learn how to get through to resistant male clients by avoiding the potential pitfalls of therapeutic neutrality. Renowned family therapist Terry Real, the founder of the Relational Life Institute, explores how to deal with male clients by highlighting the negative consequences of their resistance, and challenging them to change their behavior by “joining through the truth.”

Discover why men avoid emotional confrontations because of their inherent fear of shame. David Wexler, who specializes in the treatment of relationships in conflict, describes how to develop a therapeutic relationship based on straightforward guidance and “guy talk,” rather than ambiguous “therapy-speak.”

Explore the poorly understood world of male sexuality by challenging some of the pervasive myths about men and their “nonrelational” attitude toward sex. Esther Perel, author of Mating in Captivity and specialist in sexuality and couples relationships, ascribes practical tools for helping men examine their own sexual blueprint.

Learn how to open men up to intimacy through a mind/body/heart approach. Psychologist and qigong teacher Patrick Dougherty teaches how to connect therapeutically with men and to challenge them to find the value of and capacity for intimate relationships.

Discover the different ways men and woman experience depression, with psychologist and co-director of the Cambridge Center for Gender Relations, Holly Sweet. Learn how to use a more task-oriented, coaching approach to work with men who are unwilling to ask for help with their depression, accept medications, or express vulnerable emotions.

After the session, please let us know what you think. If you ever have any technical questions or issues, please feel free to email

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7 Responses to Men and Intimacy: Overcoming “Commitment Phobia”

  1. says:

    When a man is having difficulties, like job being threatened, how should the wife help?

  2. says:

    Does offering options to solve the problem create shame in the man?

  3. miamantello says:

    Excellent. Many thanks.

  4. SharonR. says:

    I really appreciated the both/and of Dr. Love’s presentation. I understood that nature and nurture inform how we navigate intimate relationships and that those forces can be appealed to in the work, sometimes calling forth the underlying intention, sometimes questioning the usefulness of the behaviour, sometimes holding the moment and asking the client to risk being fully present in the face of the one they love.

  5. LCrespi says:

    I heard Terry Real speak a long time ago but after having some more years of couples work under my belt, listening to him now I really appreciated his approach even more. I think the importance of leverage is crucial – both for the “one-down” partner and for the therapist. With one couple I worked with the husband, a very grandiose hedge fund guy, said it right out. “I just want her to not be unhappy.” He recognized that he was content with life as it was but that he was hard to live with and a bully. He almost used the same words as Terry.
    Thank you Terry for your insights and sense of humor. I look forward to learning more of your approach. And thank you Rich for having such great webinars and being an excellent interviewer.

  6. miamantello says:

    I really enjoyed Patrick Dougherty’s session. His way of working is so heart-felt and yet respectful and forceful in its directness.

  7. didianne says:

    Thank you to Dr. Love for her education around the science of gender differences, as well as practical implications for therapy. I enjoyed this.

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