"This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever," Freud once said of the Irish, or so I learned from The Departed or somewhere. Italian-American patriarchs don't make the best patients either, at least according to my increasingly hazy memory of The Sopranos. But apparently these types of issues are examined outside of crime dramas, like universities and journals and Volvo dealerships and other places therapist hotspots. And the Times, perhaps the country's most therapist-y newspaper, reveals that at least one pop-culture trope isn't far from the truth: American men really aren't fans of lady therapists, opting instead to talk things out with another man (should they feel the need to talk things out at all).
The paper illustrates this not with references to What About Bob?, sadly, but with personal anecdotes,
“I was getting the same rhetoric [from a lady therapist] about changing my behavior without any challenge to see the bigger picture of what was behind these very male coping reactions, like putting your hand through a wall.” — Man Patient.
"Both male therapists and men who have been in treatment agree that there are certain topics that — at least initially, all things being equal — are best discussed within gender. Sex is one… and some men are far less ashamed about affairs when speaking to another man." — Man Journalist.
“Many men believe that only another man can help them, and it doesn’t matter whether that’s true or not. What’s important is what the client believes." — University Man, after observing 266 Man Students.
and occupational consensus.
“There’s a way in which a guy grows up that he knows some things that women don’t know, and vice versa. 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.” — Man Therapist 1.
“And some men, I think, prefer to talk about [fatherhood] — the joy of being a father, the stress, how it’s impacting them — with a therapist who’s had the same experience.” — Man Therapist 2.
This guy-on-guy action won't last forever, though; due to the the profession's widespread feminization, we're running out of guys to put on guys.
“I remember when I started training, I looked around and realized that for the first time in my life, I was an endangered minority. Now I tell my male students, if you’re interested in clinical care, you can write your own ticket. You’ll be hired immediately.” — Endangered Man.