Need therapy? A good man is hard to find

Laura Donovan Contributor

“They were all female, and they did give me some comfort,” said Mr. Puckett, 30, who works for a domestic-abuse program in Wisconsin. “But I was getting the same rhetoric about changing my behavior without any challenge to see the bigger picture of what was behind these very male coping reactions, like putting your hand through a wall.”

He decided to seek out a male therapist instead, and found that there were few of them. “I’m just glad I ended up with the person I did,” said Mr. Puckett, who is no longer in therapy, “because for me it made all the difference.”

Researchers began tracking the “feminization” of mental health care more than a generation ago, when women started to outnumber men in fields like psychology and counseling. Today the takeover is almost complete.

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Still, perception is all important when it comes to seeking help for the very first time. In a recent study among 266 college men, Ronald F. Levant, a psychologist at the University of Akron, found that a man’s willingness to seek therapy was directly related to how strongly he agreed with traditionally male assumptions, like “I can usually handle whatever comes my way.” Such a man on the fence about seeking treatment could be discouraged by the prospect of talking to a woman.

Full story: Need therapy? A good man is hard to find