Why Don't Men Like Group Therapy?
One-on-One and Long-Term Therapy May Help Men Open Up
The Importance of Connections
Women are grounded by their connections with others, so group therapy works well for them, explains Joyce. For men, group therapy can stir up anxieties, threatening their sense of self. Men also feel alienated, vulnerable, and overwhelmed by the women's stories and their emotional sharing. The men quickly bail out before they get any benefit, he says.
Male-only groups could be more beneficial, Joyce suggests.
Indeed, men need a different approach, Kaslow tells WebMD. "For men, individual therapy often works better in the beginning, rather than going quickly to group therapy. Also, the therapist must take a different approach with men in individual therapy. Men need to feel empowered by therapy. They need an action plan, rather than just sitting and talking about feelings. They want to feel they are in control."
It's not a short-term process, she notes. "Over time, men may become interested in analyzing their feelings, reflecting on themselves, and feel less awkward opening up. Then they can move on to group therapy. There's plenty of evidence that men can benefit from all kinds of therapy."