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The Truth Behind Genders’ Roles in Psychological Therapy

Jamisha Collins

Professor Robert Cole



Most psychological therapies have been tested on different genders and age limits to help distinguish these different types of therapies. The paper will focus on how these different type of therapies specifically effects men versus how it effects women. This is because women’s odds are higher to be more emotionally effected as a result from therapy than men’s.
The four main therapies are counseling therapy, relationship therapy, psychotherapy, and cognitive-behavior therapy. Counseling therapy is a confidential talking therapy which allows people to talk to a therapist about their problems. Relationship therapy is essentially talking therapy but between family, couples, and sometimes co-workers. Psychotherapy is a one-on-one or group session to help problems and unhealthy habits. What differentiates psychotherapy from counseling and relationship therapy is psychotherapy discusses methods to cope or change the problem or habit. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy. It is a talking therapy that attempts to changes the way one may think or behave about your problems. Cognitive-behavioral therapy gets to the sole purpose of thoughts and the minds role in people’s behaviors. For the most part each therapy treats the same type of mental conditions or problem. The type of therapy is chosen based off of how your therapist chooses to treat such issue(s).
Since the beginning of time the amount of men that utilize therapy has increased, however, men still underuse counseling services. Which leads society to question what can actually be done to change men’s view of therapy. Psychologists have also been questioning why men have these views and have come up with a theory. According to Good, et al. “traditional male gender role and help-seeking attitudes and behaviors are related,” as well as “the psychological and sociological reasons for women’s use of counseling services” (295). The biggest reasoning behind gender roles part in men not going to counseling that is being questioned is men do not often talk about their feelings. Therefore, men are “restrictive emotionally” (Good, 295). Restrictive emotionally is a man’s way of limiting the amount of emotions they share not necessarily that they have a limited amount of emotions.
Being as though relationship therapy is not that different from counseling therapy one can guess that men do not want to be emotionally involved in relationship therapy either. It is true in life as shown in movies when women suggest going to counseling when their marriage is on the verge of divorce. Men are usually hesitant of the idea of marriage counseling and they either agree or disagree with their partner.
Psychotherapists are therapists who specialize in helping those with long term issues and mental health issues. Some are able to help physically and medically, which is where clinical psychologists come in. Others help through active listening and trying to help those people find solutions for the problems or find out what might be causing the problem, which are regular psychotherapists. Much research has been done, such as Maracek & Johnson in 1980, leading to the idea that men are less affected in therapy than women. Within psychotherapy the biggest crutch that always surfaces as a problem is confidentiality. These patients have to trust them with personal and embarrassing behavior which installs fear of disclosure in men. The fear can be invoked in men or the men are unaware of their feelings when they participate in psychotherapy, studied by Carlson in 1987. Another con that discourages men from going to psychotherapy is a theory discovered by Sheridan in 1982. The theory states that during these therapy sessions men have high odds in receiving little to no sympathy and acceptance in therapy. These negative assumptions shadow the idea of men’s need for control and power. Putting all the cons together into a process basically states that men will not be able to control the situation once their feelings are put out on the table. Thus foreshadowing the mean becoming fearful in therapy. Men will become fearful of not being accepting for their feelings in therapy.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is mostly used for anxiety and depression. It is also proven to be most effective compared to the other psychotherapies that treat both anxiety and depression. To most the mind has the most effect on people’s behavior and they believe there is a correlation between that theory and anxiety and depression. Another mental illness that cognitive-behavioral therapy helps cure is (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) PTSD, technically includes anxiety and depression. Women usually suffer from PTSD after they have a child and men usually suffer from PTSD when they get out of the military. Commonly both genders have issues admitting they need help when they began suffering from PTSD. Many receive the symptoms and remain in a state of denial about having the symptoms and needing treatment. However, like many other therapies once they began receiving treatment for the issues the difference in genders come into play. Like the other therapies women once in cognitive-behavioral therapy they see it as affective. Although, they are still at risk of having PTSD, depression, or anxiety. Women usually suffer from these three mental issues again after treatment is over. However, for men this is the one therapy that men usually end up going to and actually find affective. Long after therapy men might have a relapse but there is usually a slim chance of a relapse actually happening.
Men are raised from years past evolution to be self-reliant. In today’s society men still see it as weak to seek help. With multiple psychologists’ efforts being done to change the way therapies are presented maybe men will begin to utilize the help being offered. As for now men are still not taking advantage of the resources being offered to them when they are in need. At least men are found to seek treatment for PTSD with cognitive-behavioral therapy and it is proven to be affective. Cognitive-based therapy in all has shown to be most effective in men than any other therapy so psychologists should change their other therapies to be similar in structure to the cognitive-behavioral therapy structure.


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