It’s official. The American Psychological Association (APA) has finally recognized “traditional” masculinity as a public health problem for boys and men. And, they just released a set of formalized guidelines for psychologists in addressing these issues. Although I’d prefer the APA use the term “toxic” instead of “traditional,” I think they’ve taken a step in the right direction.

At the Men’s Resource Center of West Michigan, we’ve focused on issues that affect men’s and boy’s personal growth and development since 2000. What I find most exciting about this announcement and these guidelines is that the work we’ve been doing on codifying toxic masculinity and specialized treatment is now essentially validated and supported by the APA. (You can read more about our work in “Mascupathy“, a book co-authored by Charlie Donaldson and myself.)

As stated in the Introduction to Guidelines for the Psychological Practice with Boys and Men:

Although boys and men, as a group, tend to hold privilege and power based on gender, they also demonstrate disproportionate rates of receiving harsh discipline (e.g., suspension and expulsion), academic challenges (e.g., dropping out of high school, particularly among African American and Latino boys), mental health issues (e.g., completed suicide), physical health problems (e.g., cardiovascular problems), public health concerns (e.g., violence, substance abuse, incarceration, and early mortality), and a wide variety of other quality-of-life issues (e.g., relational problems, family well-being; for comprehensive reviews, see Levant & Richmond, 2007; Moore & Stuart, 2005; O’Neil, 2015). Additionally, many men do not seek help when they need it, and many report distinctive barriers to receiving gender-sensitive psychological treatment (Mahalik, Good, Tager, Levant, & Mackowiak, 2012).

Counseling for Issues that Affect Men

Part of male socialization is that men and boys are taught to bury their feelings. This can make them less willing to seek help for psychological distress. Unfortunately, this means that many who need help, won’t seek it. If you (or someone you care about) fall into that category, we are here for you. We offer treatment in a non-threatening, supportive environment. And, we can tailor our wide range of counseling services to meet your needs. Don’t be afraid. Take the first step; contact the Men’s Resource Center for more information.