Recommendations for Male-Friendly Individual Counseling With Men: A Qualitative Systematic Literature Review for the Period 1995–2016

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Abstract

Over the past few decades, there have been calls to customize therapy for men. Researchers have increasingly become aware of the impact of masculinity on men and their psychological health, their willingness to seek help, and their experience of therapy. Recommendations have been published for how to enhance engagement and therapeutic change for men in counseling. This article systematically collected and examined recommendations for individual male-friendly therapy from 44 sources written over a 21-year period to identify common themes using qualitative methodology. The resulting 4 themes included knowledge about men, masculinity, and socialization; therapist critical self-awareness and commitment; masculinity-informed treatment adaptations; and masculinity-informed tasks and goals. The themes were discussed in relation to relevant research and similar diversity-sensitive approaches, including different ways that masculinity knowledge was incorporated into treatment and the ethical implications of targeting traditional masculinity for change. Increased empirical research on male-friendly counseling is needed to validate existing recommendations.

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