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APA Psychotherapy Training Videos are intended solely for educational purposes for mental health professionals. Viewers are expected to treat confidential material found herein according to strict professional guidelines. Unauthorized viewing is prohibited.
In Psychotherapy With Men, Dr. Mark A. Stevens demonstrates his interpersonal–relational integrative approach to therapy with male clients. Men are often reluctant participants in the therapy process, so this approach emphasizes creating a safe, welcoming environment for men and building a solid therapeutic relationship.
In this two-part video, Dr. Stevens works with two brothers, both of whom fear losing their relationships with their children. The brothers' fears manifest in different ways, and Dr. Stevens focuses on distinct paths to healing in each session.
This therapy takes an interpersonal–relational integrative approach. Through the process of psychotherapy, the client will better understand and have access to internal and external resources needed to make desired changes. The major goal is to build a safe enough environment that the client will be as open as possible in exploring and evaluating his reactions and behaviors inside and outside the therapy office. Increasing cognitive flexibility and improving interpersonal relationship satisfaction is a core goal of this approach.
Many male clients work well in this type of therapy, such as men who
can acknowledge their pain and are willing to take some responsibility for their current situation
want to enjoy life more but are uncertain as to how that can be accomplished
are reluctant and fearful about the process of therapy
have symptoms of depression and anxiety
This approach emphasizes the use of being in-session—here-and-now reactions and observations about the client. It supports the philosophy that clients respond best to therapy when they are acknowledged for their efforts and strengths. A key part of the therapeutic process is making clients feeling respected and understood, as it will allow for deeper and perhaps more delicate interventions.
A key assumption that Dr. Stevens makes about male clients coming into therapy is they are in pain and fear being criticized or humiliated. The safety and respect of the therapeutic bond allows the male client to feel and explore more fully and to bring to the surface an entire host of questions about how he reacts and behaves. Solutions are seen as more than solving problems: They are a way of life that focuses on the process. The process of increasing interpersonal intimacy and connection as a way to increase mental health is at the foundation of this approach.
In This Video
This video is a two-part set, with each video including individual therapy sessions with two brothers. Both men are in quite a lot of emotional pain. They are also remarkable, having a significant history of being emotionally abandoned yet having a core of resilience and hope. Their relationship and bond with one another is very special.
Both brothers want their own children to have a more secure and happy type of childhood than they experienced. They fear losing their children and not being able to give them enough. These fears play out in their lives in different ways.
The sessions focus on interpersonal connections using conversations that the brothers wanted to have with significant people past and present. Both men are "starving" to be understood in terms of their pain and the "goodness" of their intentions to be good fathers. In the sessions, it is clear that their father did not offer them empathy and understanding, and both brothers were left with intense feelings of anger and disappointment.
The older brother is now experiencing a deep disconnect from his teenage son, perhaps parallel to the disconnect he had with his father when he was growing up. One of the interventions used with the older brother helps him identify his own anger toward his father and what he had missed out on as a way to create space and empathy for his own son to have disappointments and anger toward him.
In the other session, the younger brother is having trouble communicating his needs to his girlfriend. He is given an opportunity in the session to "unfreeze" a type of dialogue that had settled in his heart and causes pain. Dr. Stevens hopes this "unfreezing" would create an inner shift which would help initiate a more intimate discussion with his girlfriend.
Both of these men need a great deal of interpersonal nurturing and encouragement of voicing their "unsaid" conversations. Inherent in this therapeutic process is a type of male-to-male mentoring. Both men could also benefit and contribute greatly from a men's therapy group.
About the Therapist
Mark A. Stevens, PhD, is a psychologist, coordinator of training, and assistant director of Student Counseling Services at the University of Southern California (USC). He received his PhD in 1982 from the California School of Professional Psychology in San Diego. Dr. Stevens is an adjunct professor at the USC counseling psychology program and teaches courses in fieldwork, gender and counseling, and psychopathology. In addition, he conducts workshops and lectures to interns and professionals about training for the counseling of men, prevention of rape for male students, and group psychotherapy with men. He is coeditor of In the Room With Men: A Casebook of Therapeutic Change (with Matt Englar-Carlson; American Psychological Association, 2006).
Books and Journal Articles
Addis, M., & Mahalik, J. (2003). Men, masculinity and the contexts of help seeking. American Psychologist, 58, 5–14.
Brooks, G. (1998). A new psychotherapy for traditional men. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Brooks, G., & Good, G. E. (Eds). (2001). The new handbook of psychotherapy and counseling with men. New York: Wiley.
Cochran, S. V., & Rabinowitz, F. E. (2000). Men and depression: Clinical and empirical perspectives. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Cochran, S. V., & Rabinowitz, F. E. (2003). Gender-sensitive recommendations for assessment and treatment of depression in men. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 34, 132–140.
Englar-Carlson, M., & Stevens, M. (Eds.). (2006). In the room with men: A casebook of therapeutic change. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Levant , R. F. (1995). Masculinity reconstructed: Changing the rules of manhood—At work, in relationships, and in family life. New York: Dutton.
Levant, R. F., & Pollack, W. S. (Eds). (1995). The new psychology of men. New York: Basic Books.
Mahalik, J. R., Good, G. E., & Englar-Carlson, M. (2003). Masculinity scripts, presenting concerns, and help seeking: Implications for practice and training. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 34, 123–131.
Pollack, W. S., & Levant, R. F. (Eds.). (1998). New psychotherapy for men. New York: Wiley.
O'Neil, J. M., Good, G. E., & Holmes, S. E. (1995). Fifteen years of theory and research on men's gender role conflict: New paradigms for empirical research. In R. Levant & W. Pollack (Eds), A new psychology of men. New York: Basic Books.
Rabinowitz, F. E., & Cochran, S. V. (2001). Deepening psychotherapy with men. Washington DC: American Psychological Association.
APA Division 51 (Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity)
Division 51 of the American Psychological Association, the Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity, advances knowledge in the new psychology of men through research, education, training, public policy, and improved clinical services for men.