Working with Men: Meeting the Challenges of Orthodox Masculinity A one-day workshop with Dr Michael Beattie London, 13 March 2020 (Friday) 10:00am - 4:00pm
Every part of our lives, whether we are aware of it or not, is touched by gender identity and the cultural and contextual meanings made of it. However, perhaps because of the very pervasive nature of gendered experience, reflexivity around one’s own gender identity is rarely covered in much depth in professional trainings. Instead, gender is often either taken for granted or otherwise felt to be the preserve of ‘experts’ who work with populations where questions of gender are understood to be the principal presenting problem. This workshop starts from the position that we all have a gender identity and that we can all struggle with it to a greater or lesser degree at times. In particular we will focus on the psychology of men and the ways in which boys and men are socialised into manhood in Western culture. Using this understanding as a foundation we will go on to explore specific domains of men’s experience and some common content and process issues that arise in therapy with men. The aim is to deepen our understanding of how orthodox masculinity expectations shape the male psyche and the implications this has for our therapeutic work with men. The workshop is scheduled as three modules: Module 1: Psychology of Men and Masculinities This is an introductory session that looks at current theory and research on how men come to understand their gender identity, the norms they have to follow to be considered ‘real men’ and how this can create masculine gender role stress. It introduces the idea of an orthodox masculine gender identity and considers the impact on presenting issues and the therapeutic relationship. Module 2: Unpacking the Lived Experience Having identified the norms that govern orthodox masculinity we unpack and explore the lived experience for men in key domains of their lives and how these norms can give rise to psychological distress and maladaptive coping mechanisms: Young Men: The experience of boys and adolescents, in particular the role of bullying and shaming in identity formation and how this can create chronic maladaptive manifestations Family Men: How men experience and are challenged by their role as husband and father, including issues to do with sexual intimacy and love, perceived failings of masculinity and being judged as primary breadwinners for the family Working Men: One of the core tenets of orthodox masculinity is the ‘primacy of work’ and many men’s principal experience self-worth comes through work – how can this create challenges in relationship – particularly at times of redundancy and retirement? Other Men: Orthodox masculinity involves the stratification of men against an ideal by which they can be measured to determine the extent of their manliness – what is life like for ‘othered’ men, including gay and trans men? Module 3: Key issues in Working with Men The final session explores some of the principal process issues that men are likely to present with in counselling as a result of struggling with orthodox masculine expectations and suggests ways in which practitioners can work effectively with them: Restricted emotionality and shame Anger and aggression Compartmentalisation and the challenge of integration Working with the masculine narrative
About the speaker Dr Michael Beattie is an HCPC Registered Chartered Counselling Psychologist with a research interest in the psychology of men and masculinities. In addition, he has worked in the field of sexuality, sexual identity and sexual health as well as with issues of gender identity and gender dysphoria. His book Counselling Skills for Working with Gender Identity & Gender Dysphoria was published with colleagues by Jessica Kingsley in 2018. He currently works as a Counselling Psychologist at the NHS Gender Identity Clinic in London. Prior to entering the field of counselling psychology Michael worked in marketing communications, facilitating strategic planning and training sessions for clients across the world.
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