America doesn’t have enough mental health professionals. So explains Melissa Dahl in New York Magazine.
We do not know why this should be so but we suspect that one reason is that therapists do not, by and large, do a very good job. Such is certainly true of psychoanalytic and insight-oriented therapies. One suspects that the field has become far too politically correct, more likely to try to indoctrinate than to treat people.
Or else, therapy does not do as good a job as medication. Since any physician can prescribe psychotropic medications, why bother with a therapist. While new forms of therapy, like cognitive and behavioral therapies, have been shown to be more effective than the old style psychoanalysis, nothing is quite as simple as taking a pill.
But, these are not the only reasons for the shortage. Another reason is that the world of therapy, especially psychology and social work has increasingly become a pink ghetto. Therapy has become women’s work. It’s not just that men have been marginalized. They no longer see it as a viable career option. Fewer and fewer men enter the field and those who do are more likely to be in closer touch with their feminine sides.
Today’s therapy is more like more mothering and nursing, and this is not what men are good at and it is not what they need or want.
Today’s therapists have a vocabulary that consists of two words: feeling and control. If these words suddenly disappeared from the language, most of today’s therapists would be struck dumb.
Therapists like to ask their patients: how did that make you feel, what do you really feel about that. Then they will tell you to express your feelings, openly and honestly and shamelessly. Obviously, they are not healing you. They are making you into a drama queen. If you don't agree they will say that you have control issues.
There is nothing mysterious about the fact that men are turned off by this. They believe that they are being taught a foreign language and that they are being disrespected by people who refuse to accept them for what they are, or who want them to feel guilty for being men.
Today’s feminized therapy tries to help men to get in touch with their feminine sides and devalues and disparages manly behavior… as sexist. Not only is the field becoming overrun with women, but the women who are involved are ideologically driven; often they are feminists. They offer indoctrination disguised as treatment.
Thus, fewer and fewer men are going into the field. When a man has a problem he will be facing the choice of talking to a woman (who is likely to condescend to him) or doing nothing. More often than not he will do nothing.
In the state of Colorado an ad agency concocted a new way to lure men into therapy. It created a fictional character called Dr. Rich Mahogany—thus named because he is wooden—and put him on a website that is designed to treat men like men. Lizzie Crocker reports the story for The Daily Beast.
I reproduce the picture of Dr. Rich Mahogany that Crocker took from Youtube to suggest, kindly, that if this is the ad agency’s idea of a manly man, it should get into a new line of work.
Or better, if this is what passes for manliness in America today, the country is in even bigger trouble than I thought.
Of course, Crocker advises, Dr. Rich is a caricature. Yet, the service he is offering is perfectly serious:
Dr. Rich Mahogany, a mustachioed man with a paunch and a penchant for cursing, orders visitors to his taxidermy-filled office to “take a knee.”
He promises they’re in a safe space where “men come to be men,” as evidenced by the leather furniture and sports equipment in the corner.
Mahogany doesn’t tolerate “complaining, whining, and moping about,” but insists even “real men” could benefit from a man-to-man chat about their mental health.
It’s called “Man Therapy,” and while Mahogany is both a fictional character and a caricature of masculine stereotypes, the services he runs out of his virtual office are not a joke. He is the Internet’s macho, middle-aged answer to Mrs. Doubtfire.
“We’ll be getting off our keisters and form-tackling feelings like anger, sadness, substance abuse, and even suicidal thoughts head on!” he tells visitors to the website, a 24/7 online service that encourages men to seek help for mental health issues who wouldn’t ordinarily do so.
But, if you want to offer therapy to men why would you present them with a caricature? Moreover, Dr. Rich tells men that he is going to help them to get in touch with their feelings. Isn’t that the problem? Isn’t that why men do not go to therapy?
They have had it with all the feeling-talk and are smart enough not to fall for it, even gussied up and spoken by an insulting caricature.
What do you think that men make of the notion that if they want to get involved in an especially manly activity, they should try bird watching. No kidding.
In my experience men prefer to have a coach who will help them to plan and organize their lives rather than a therapist who wants them to get in touch with their feelings.
It is easy to say that the pink ghetto of therapy is made to exclude men. And yet, how much help is it really offering women? It is not at all obvious that today’s women, with one or both feet in the business or professional world will be helped by learning how to introspect and to get in touch with their feelings. Is that the best that a woman can offer to the marketplace, her feelings?