Saturday, January 19, 2019

He Will No Longer Recommend Talk Therapy

As co-founder of an organization that advocates for shared parenting after divorce, especially, for fathers’ rights, Terry Brennan has often had occasion to refer clients for therapy.

He has always been ambivalent about the value of therapy:

I’ve been cautious in recommending talk therapy. That’s because psychology is no different than any other profession with a small percentage of masters, a slightly larger group on their way to becoming masters, and then the rest. While a quality therapist can be extraordinarily useful in helping traumatized individuals navigate their predicament, there are many well-meaning but incapable therapists who are, at best, providing no help at all to financially strapped dads. That’s always been a risk I was willing to take.

Now, having studied the new American Psychological Association guidelines against masculinity, Brennan has now decided that he will never again refer any divorced father for talk therapy. As the old saying goes, welcome to the club.

He writes:

With the issuance of the APA’s new guidelines against masculinity, my major concern must now be that traumatized fathers will be treated in a sardonic fashion. That potential risk now outweighs the potential rewards.

As noted on this blog, the psycho profession has increasingly become a pink ghetto. Fewer and fewer men are entering the field. Worse yet, the women who now run the organization are more feminist ideologues than competent practitioners:

Just as telling as the APA’s anti-masculinity announcement was the lack of an uproar from the members they represent. Who are those members? The APA states:

The percent of psychologists who are women increased from 57 percent in 2007 to 65 percent in 2016. Within the psychology workforce, the mean age for women (47.6 years) was almost seven years younger than the mean age for men (54.4 years).

Their past president is Jessica Henderson Daniels, the current president is Rosie Phillips Bingham, and the president-elect is Sandra L. Shullman. Finally, both masters and PhD students are now 76.2% female.

Where is the persistent call for diversity within the APA?

Brennan concludes:

As the APA has shown it is more interested in ideology than in science, I can no longer, in good conscience, recommend their members to the fathers I encounter.

It now seems significantly more likely that more therapeutic benefit will be achieved by advising divorced dads to join a fathers’ group, and be among those who can relate to their issues. While there, they’ll likely encounter some of the “traditional masculinity” the APA has denounced.

So, the leaders of the APA have alienated half the population. It has told them that they will not be welcomed or respect in therapy. Way to kill your market, ladies.

As a footnote or a sidelight on the APA controversy, I offer the following testimony, from a woman named Emily Kittleson. She complained that her boyfriend’s war against his own toxic masculinity is turning him into an ersatz woman.

Fair enough, this story is not ripped from the headlines. It comes to us from The Onion, a notably satirical publication. But, surely, it offers a fair and accurate picture of the potential consequences of the war against masculinity. And it alerts us to the fact that, however much feminists enjoy beating down men, most women are not on board:

Expressing disbelief at her romantic partner’s dramatic behavioral shift, local woman Emily Kittleson, 30, told reporters Friday that she had not expected her boyfriend’s attempts to recognize and curtail toxic masculinity would eventually turn him into a “weepy little pansy.” “Christ, I know the dope is trying to be conscious of the effects of his words and actions and to be more open and honest with his emotions, but there’s got to be a limit,” said Kittleson of her boyfriend Shane Magnusen, 31, whose efforts to reject toxic masculinity have begun to irritate her as she claims he has evolved into “a fragile fucking flower about everything” in recent weeks. “Of course I’m happy for social progress and all, but this ineffectual shit is not what I signed up for. Instead of suppressing his emotions about major issues in his life, he cries at sad commercials. Our fights used to be him screaming at me for a few minutes and that was it, not great but not terrible. Then last night we get into an argument that somehow turns into me nodding and making comforting noises while he talks about his strained relationship with his dad until well after midnight. Like, come on, I don’t have time to indulge this self-centered crap.” Kittleson was also compelled to interrupt her statements twice, groaning and rolling her eyes while responding to text messages from Shane regarding their couples’ therapy appointments later that week.


Anonymous said...

About 25 years ago I, for some strange reason decided that maybe feminists had a point or two. So I tried to be more attentive to my wife. That only lasted about 5 days before I learned a valuable lesson. My wife and I suspect most women, just want the men in their lives to respect their contribution to the marriage, NOT to do or help unless specifically asked. As I have stated before it was the worst 5 days of my life. Never give any credence to anything a feminist has to say. Suffice it to say that my "toxic masculinity' has produced great joy in my life.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Taken correctly, this little incident provides perfect clarity. Now, all you have to do when meeting with a therapist for the first time is ask them what they think of the new APA guidelines on masculinity. If they blabber on in equivocation, walk, quickly to the exit. You have what you need. Keep looking. If they stridently reject it without endlessly qualifying it, then there is the chance that the therapist is a master. A needle in a haystack. It's the touchstone I have been seeking for years. Bravo, APA, bravo.

Ares Olympus said...

I appreciate Terry Brennan's willingness to recognize there is a wide variation of quality of therapists out there, and that surely is a large part of the predicament here. Even if the APA did offer the best understandings and opinions of the masters of the field, there's nothing simple about masculinity and lower skilled therapists will carry their own ideologies and biases into their practices and can distort meanings in ways that can be at best unhelpful and could make things worse.

When you bring your car in to be repaired, it is a mechanical problem, and the classes of failures are well known, solutions well known and can be taught. In contrast the problems of living don't look like that, and people don't have interchangeable parts that can be replaced.

It almost makes more sense to me that pastors and priests act as therapists because their livelihood are already provided by the congregation, and they are not expected to have all the answers or know what's wrong or fix people. I'm sure many pastors also feel they are not up to the task of helping people, but at least they're free to admit this. They don't have to be like the therapists who have to pretend to be experts because it justifies how much they're getting paid.