Men's experience of counselling - themes and subthemes

This is a summary of themes and subthemes identified in my Master's research project. The excerpt below is from Table 3 on page 41.

Men prize agency. They are affected by social norm even when they are not aware of it. Self-reliance is an important yet ignored male strength. They are guarded with self-disclosure. Men have the strength to overcome much hardship.

Men value efficacy. They want the know-how to navigate mental healthcare systems and choose the right counsellor. Timely warrant (contextual information and referrals) can spur them to commit to seek help. Once on the path, men tend to see the process through despite process obstacles.

Men can be psychologically growth-minded. They are aware of their need for help and growth even as they struggle to seek help. In the right context and with sufficient psychoeducation, they can be reflective about their inner processes and take interest in different counselling modalities.

Counsellor fit (with masculinity) is critical for therapeutic success. They prefer a collaborative engagement while also expecting the counsellor to be an expert. Validation from a male counsellor can be a profound experience.

Men are reciprocity motivated. They take helping other men seriously, are interested in leaving a positive psychological legacy, and challenging social norms. Some men are inspired to take up training to become counsellors.

Liew, Z. (2012). Agency, psychological growth, and reciprocity: The middle-aged white-collar male experience of counselling in Australia [Unpublished master’s thesis]. Murdoch University.