Since 1984 Fredric E. Rabinowitz, Ph.D. has been a Professor of Psychology at the University of Redlands and in private practice specializing in psychotherapy with men in Redlands, CA. He has co-authored several articles, chapters, and books including Man Alive: A Primer of Men’s Issues, Men and Depression: Clinical and Empirical Perspectives, Deepening Psychotherapy with Men, and Breaking barriers in Counseling Men: Insights and Innovations. His latest book Deepening Group Psychotherapy with Men: Stories and Insights for the Journey will be coming out March 2019. Dr. Rabinowitz is the past president of the Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinities of the American Psychological Association. He was a co-author on the recently passed APA Guidelines for the Psychological Practice with Boys and Men.
The Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Boys and Men
For 13 years a group of psychologists from the American Psychological Association worked on aspirational guidelines to help fellow professionals understand the psychological obstacles and challenges facing boys and men in American culture.
Based on psychological research and clinical findings, the guidelines outline 10 areas where psychologists might apply this knowledge to make helpful interventions. While some may question why boys and men need this kind of assistance, those who study and work with this population have sobering statistics they are trying to address. For instance, for most leading causes of death, boys and men greatly outnumber girls and women. Boys greatly outnumber girls in terms of learning difficulties and behavior problems. Men are more likely than women to commit violent crimes and be the victims of violence. Men are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease, and suicide.
While there are some biological differences between men and women, it is the interaction with society’s expected masculine cultural norms that can keep men from seeking assistance for physical and psychological problems. Rigidly embracing a “do it alone” perspective can impair relationships that call for cooperation, and emotional and behavioral flexibility. When not living up to the masculine ideals of being strong, independent, and in control, many men feel privately inadequate and ashamed of vulnerability.
The guidelines encourage those who work with boys and men, to be more sensitive to their struggles, especially traumas that might not be so easily verbalized, and to help boys and men build flexibility into their coping, including more emotional awareness, increased communication skills, and finding alternatives to violence.