Psychotherapy for Men: 5 Truths from Jungian Analysis
Psychotherapy for men is intricate, because our culture is deeply unsure about men’s issues, or what males should do or be. While the women’s movement has brought much real change to the way women view themselves, males in our present culture are often profoundly disoriented.
Here are five important truths about a man’s search for his unique, individual self.
The Marlboro Man: a Second Rate Myth
You remember the Marlboro man, the iconic cowboy in cigarette ads. He conveyed a lot of values: independence, machismo, self-sufficiency, toughness. The Marlborough ad campaign was one of the most successful ever. Males wanted to identify with those stereotypical male values. But down deep, most guys today know that’s not who they are, and that it’s not what they want for their lives.
Many Men are Quite Lonely
However, our culture still expects men to be very self-sufficient and hide their feelings. Real intimacy between men is often discouraged, even feared. There may be genuine feelings of closeness to others, but it’s hard for many males to talk to other men about what they feel. Consequently, many experience real loneliness, and emotional isolation.
Stereotypes Hurt Men, Too
The women’s movement has struggled strenuously against sex role stereotyping, and the ways that it keeps women in limited roles. What is less realized are the ways in which sex role stereotyping hurts men. There are many aspects of themselves that male stereotyping keeps men from realizing.
Men Have Secrets
There are a lot of things that males do not, and would not, easily reveal. There are many kinds of vulnerability, and many solitary thoughts that a man possesses, about which he is highly reluctant to open up. Often, males need someone who can really listen to their story.
Someone Who’ll Listen Without Judging
It can be very hard for males to find someone who will accept and understand without condemning, or demeaning. Although we may not realize it, much of the way guys are socialized in earlier life is inherently shame based. It’s important for such men to find acceptance for themselves as who they are.
Depth case studies can be profoundly healing for men. For a man to be listened to and accepted in his own individuality, and to be able to put down the sterile mask of masculinity expected by our culture can bring a profound new inner sense.
A question to both males and females: how do you experience masculinity in our time ? I’d welcome your responses.