Transtheoretical recommendations for counselling men: scholar and therapist perspectives

Beel, Nathan ORCID: (2019) Transtheoretical recommendations for counselling men: scholar and therapist perspectives. [Thesis (PhD/Research)]

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Male-friendly counselling thesis - Nathan Beel 2019.pdf
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The focus of this thesis was to identify international and Australian recommendations for adapting individual counselling and psychotherapy treatment for clients who are men. The psychology and counselling professions have emphasised the need to ensure practice is culturally-sensitive and informed, captured in both ethical codes and practice guidelines. Currently gender is predominantly viewed as a socially constructed and shared identity specifically included in culturally and diversity sensitive practice. The term male-friendly counselling will be used to describe therapy practices and attitudes that are masculinity-informed and respectful of what are believed to be male preferences and experiences.

The thesis comprises of three papers drawing on qualitative methodologies and thematic analysis. The first paper systematically reviewed the scholarly literature over a 21-year period to determine transtheoretical themes of recommendations for adapting individual counselling for men. These themes includes recommendations that therapists develop knowledge about men, masculinity, and male socialisation; develop critical self-awareness and commitment; apply masculinity-informed treatment adaptations; and incorporate masculinity-informed tasks and goals into treatment. This was the first published qualitative systematic literature review that identified and consolidated the existing academic literature on male-friendly counselling.

The second and third papers shifted focus from the scholarly literature to practitioners who advertised themselves as having a key interest in working with men. This is particularly important given that the teaching of male-friendly counselling and its related psychological theories is relatively rare in professional training programs. Fifteen Australian therapists who provide specialist counselling for men were recruited for individual semi-structured interviews to discuss their perceptions, beliefs, and recommendations in relation to men and counselling. The second paper focussed on clarifying how male-friendly therapists understand men and the factors contributing to men’s problems. The two themes identified include requirements for men to perform manhood well, and perceptions that men were damaged and devalued. The latter theme includes more diverse understandings for contributory factors than is currently represented in the scholarly literature. The third paper described the counsellors’ recommendations for counselling men. The themes include that counsellors provide male clients with a safe space, enact masculinity-informed respect, and enhance client awareness and motivation. Therapists varied
among themselves in how much they promoted direct masculine-consistent interactions and sensitive-feminine consistent interactions with clients.

The thesis concludes by presenting a harmonised model of transtheoretical male-friendly counselling that includes three spheres of focalisation of masculinity in designing treatment, and four themes of recommendations for how therapists can develop and practice greater cultural sensitivity for males in their counselling. It highlights that practice recommendations between scholars and Australian male-friendly therapists were similar. Australian men’s therapists understandings of men’s norms and factors contributing to their distress generally aligned with scholarship that emphasises gender role strain, however some practitioners also linked men’s distress to perceptions of social prejudices against men. This variation from the scholarly discourse may indicate a need for increased training in gender paradigms, or conversely, that the paradigms informing male-friendly counselling need extending to consider the perceptions of working within naturalistic settings. A third option to progress the provision of counselling to men would entail both a training focus and a broader conceptualisation of existing paradigms. This thesis brought forward the voices of scholars and therapists to enable consolidation of male-friendly transtheoretical recommendations and enable broad discussions of similarities and differences between the two groups.

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Item Type: Thesis (PhD/Research)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology and Counselling (1 Jan 2015 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology and Counselling (1 Jan 2015 -)
Supervisors: du Preez, Jan; Brownlow, Charlotte; Jeffries, Carla
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2020 23:41
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2021 05:11
Uncontrolled Keywords: men, therapy, counselling, masculinity
Fields of Research (2008): 16 Studies in Human Society > 1607 Social Work > 160702 Counselling, Welfare and Community Services
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Fields of Research (2020): 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4409 Social work > 440902 Counselling, wellbeing and community services
52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5203 Clinical and health psychology > 520399 Clinical and health psychology not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: doi:10.26192/KRTD-PK13

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