|Brain Science William Doherty Narcissistic Clients Men in Therapy Attachment Theory Attachment Future of Psychotherapy Trauma Etienne Wenger The Future of Psychotherapy Wendy Behary Challenging Cases Anxiety Couples Diets Symposium 2012 David Schnarch CE Comments Mind/Body Great Attachment Debate Clinical Excellence Couples Therapy Ethics Mary Jo Barrett Linda Bacon Mindfulness Gender Issues Alan Sroufe Community of Excellence Clinical Mastery|
|Case Studies Mar/Apr - Page 2|
I typically ignore this assertion because it isn't the real issue. Men don't dislike therapy because they might have to talk like women or adopt feminine sensibilities: what they hate is that therapy forces them to experience that most heinous emotional state to a man—feeling like a failure. Most men dread failure, particularly as providers, protectors, and lovers; their wives' unhappiness makes them feel like failures. Their seeming narcissism and compulsion to be "right" reflect their need to be seen as anything but failures. They sometimes agree that it's better to be a jerk than a loser. "Death before dishonor" isn't a phrase associated with women's groups.
The need to ward off feelings of failure is why many men seem annoyed when their wives are unhappy, rather than ready to sit down and have a long, revealing talk about "feelings." It helps explain why they're more inclined to blame their partners for being too sensitive, too demanding, too selfish, too critical. Such blame temporarily relieves their shame, protects them from emotional reflection, and gives them a sense of empowerment. They can blame people and still be tough and in control. Unfortunately, being in continual blame-mode renders them powerless to engage with their wives or their therapists, or to improve their relationships.
Men who come to the boot camp feel powerless because they can't regulate their dread of failure sufficiently to sustain intimate connection, which requires letting down defenses and keeping them down. As a consequence, they've developed habits of empowering themselves against the vulnerability of attachment with resentment and anger. The boot camp trains them to replace their shame-driven behavior with compassion, an attitude that makes them feel more protective and less vulnerable to feeling inadequate.
I've developed a manual of self-regulation and relationship skills, which they learn to use during the boot camp. Having these skills in hand empowers them to be the kind of partners they want to be. Men really do want to have a warm and close marriage as much as their wives do, but the way they go about connecting is different. The boot camp shows the couple how their innate styles differ and how they can reconcile their differences to achieve the connection they both want.