Men Don't Want to Talk to No Lady TherapistsS

If your efforts to convince your dad/boyfriend/brother/manservant to "see someone" about his "issues" have failed, it might be because the man in question has issues with women. Maybe he should see someone about that! Oh, if only he could.

As the New York Times reports, psychologist Ronald F. Levant recently conducted a study of 266 college men and discovered that many of the participants were only interested in talking to a therapist if they could do it mano a mano-style:

Levant ... found that a man's willingness to seek therapy was directly related to how strongly he agreed with traditionally male assumptions, like "I can usually handle whatever comes my way." Such a man on the fence about seeking treatment could be discouraged by the prospect of talking to a woman.

"Many men like this believe that only another man can help them, and it doesn't matter whether that's true or not," Dr. Levant said.

Wow, that's so irrational! Unfortunately, almost all of America's therapists are women now, so the menfolk can't even begin working out their illogical beliefs with a trained professional:

Men earn only one in five of all master's degrees awarded in psychology, down from half in the 1970s. They account for less than 10 percent of social workers under the age of 34, according to a recent survey. And their numbers have dwindled among professional counselors - to 10 percent of the American Counseling Association's membership today from 30 percent in 1982 - and appear to be declining among marriage and family therapists.

Why does the modern male lack interest in the feeling professions? Perhaps the influence of macho video games is to blame. Or maybe it's because women and empowered little girls have stolen therapy?

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."

Psychology used to be a "man's profession," according to the American Psychological Association; in 1975, men earned 70 percent of America's psychology PhDs. In 2008, that number dwindled down to 30 percent. Of course, psychology isn't the only profession to undergo a feminization process—the law and education are others—but apparently the imbalance in psychology has become a bit extreme. The rare man who does follow through with brain school is at risk of ending up outnumbered, alienated, and even ignored:

Kelvin O, PsyD, was one of 12 men in a class of 70 in the clinical psychology graduate program at Alliant International University in Los Angeles. "Sometimes I felt like my voice wasn't really heard," he says. Being one of the few men in his program also made him feel socially isolated. "There were girls' nights and girls' outings," he says. Naturally, he wasn't invited. "I kind of felt left out at times," he says, adding that he probably missed out on some networking opportunities.

What a depressing-sounding situation! He probably can't even find anybody to help him develop some effective coping strategies. Well, maybe Kelvin and other outnumbered male psych students can find some relief in the fact that if they survive the estrogen onslaught of graduate school, they'll still rule the "upper echalon" of the profession: In 2009, 61 percent of tenured psych professor positions were held by men, while women held many of the stagnant-salary jobs. For male psychologists, it's lonely at the bottom, not at the top. Wow, crazy!

[NY Times, American Psychological Association]