A recent article discusses the reasons why male mental health professionals are few and far between. The feminization of the mental health field has been examined for decades. Currently, men represent only twenty percent of psychology degrees earned today, down by 50 percent from only four decades ago. Young male social workers are barely visible, and they account for only 10 percent of all professional counselors practicing. Membership rolls from the American Counseling Association suggest that even the marriage and family counseling landscape is lacking male professionals. The mental health field believes that this trend could cause many men to avoid seeking help when they need it.
“There’s a way in which a guy grows up that he knows some things that women don’t know, and vice versa,” said David Moultrup, a psychotherapist in Belmont, Mass. “But that male viewpoint has been so devalued in the course of empowering little girls for the past 40 or 50 years that it is now all but lost in talk therapy. Society needs to have the choice, and the choice is being taken away.”
The shift is due to cultural and economic influences. Over the past two decades, managed care has decreased incomes drastically. And even psychiatry, which is still male dominated, has resorted to pharmacological treatments. “Usually women get blamed when a profession loses status, but in this case the trend started first, and men just evacuated,” said Dorothy Cantor, a former president of American Psychological Association who conducted a landmark study of gender and psychology in 1995. “Women moved up into the field and took their place.”
© Copyright 2011 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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