I am a professional psychotherapist. My Ph.D. is in psychology and my Master’s is in clinical social work. I have been practicing in the field since 1988. I wrote a book on therapy entitled, “Bad Therapy Good Therapy: And How to Tell the Difference”.
Do you want my take on the new American Psychological Association guidelines claiming traditional masculinity is unhealthy, and directing psychologists and therapists to steer people away from it?
It’s not about masculinity at all. Nor is it about mental health. It’s about control.
The American Psychological Association has, in its words, issued “its first-ever guidelines for practice with men and boys.” These guidelines “draw on more than 40 years of research showing that traditional masculinity is psychologically harmful and that socializing boys to suppress their emotions causes damage.”
It’s a sneaky package deal.
The APA is smuggling in a false assertion and pairing it with a true one.
The true assertion is that it’s unhealthy to suppress your feelings. Obviously, it is. At least: To suppress your feelings on principle. The whole point of therapy is to make yourself aware of your feelings so you can do whatever the therapist thinks you should do to cope with them better. Men and women both need guidance in this area, at times.
The false assertion is that masculinity means suppressing feelings. Who says so? Extreme traditionalists say so. “Be a man. And men don’t feel.” I don’t know of any extreme traditionalists in existence any more. In fact, I’m in my fifties and I can’t think of any I have encountered in my adult life. The only other people to assert that masculinity means ignoring emotions are bitter, angry left-wing feminist therapists. Not surprisingly, leftist organizations like the American Psychological Association have a vested interest in claiming — falsely — that men repress feelings. This, according to feminists who wish women’s feelings always to carry the day (both in the therapy room and the world at large), is a claim they must preserve in order to denigrate men.
The APA is basically doing the equivalent of what leftists do in other contexts when they call you a racist. “What? You don’t want a 70 percent tax rate? You don’t want socialized medicine? You want a strong defense or a border wall? Why, you’re a racist!” They shift the argument to racism rather than to the facts at hand.
That’s what the APA is doing now. Only instead of saying you’re a racist if you don’t adhere to their politically-generated guidelines, they’ll say you’re against emotions. “What kind of therapist is against emotions?” they’ll say. But what if you wish to defend masculinity? Or what if you beg to differ with the APA’s definition of masculinity as anything in opposition to emotion? You won’t get a hearing. You’ve already been dismissed as lacking credibility and compassion unless you accept their smuggled-in premise that masculinity means anti-emotion, period.
It’s not about masculinity. It’s about control. Sexists on the right historically believed women always to be wrong and irrational, and men always to be right and rational. Those sexists are long gone. Today’s sexists — on the left, in leftist organizations like the APA — believe that women are always right and rational, while men are always wrong. Because of their thinly disguised sexism, they seek to advance their prejudiced and oversimplified view of masculinity so as to make sure women (superior, in their view) rule the therapy room — and the culture.
It’s also political. In today’s world, all psychology is political, just like all sports, entertainment, fashion and what you eat and drink (and whether you even use a straw!) have all become political. The fashionable view on the left is that there’s no such thing as gender. How can we have “masculine” or “feminine” — by any definition — if we no longer even acknowledge there’s such a thing as gender? The world has gone crazy. And it’s this Orwellian craziness the APA has taken upon itself to enforce. Or at least to be SEEN as enforcing. It’s as far from science, objectivity and intellectual honesty as you could ever get.
To paraphrase the late, great comedian-philosopher George Carlin: It’s all BS. And it’s bad for you.
This therapist isn’t buying it. Neither should you.
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