Not supposed to feel this: traditional masculinity in psychotherapy with male veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.Psychotherapy (Chic) 2010; 47(3):296-305P
Traditional masculine socialization presents challenges in psychotherapy, for example, by decreasing the likelihood of help-seeking and by making emotion-laden content more difficult to address. While this has been established in civilian populations, more intense forms of masculine socialization found in military settings may amplify such issues in male veteran populations. Male veterans returning from and Afghanistan (OEF) and Iraq (OIF) exhibit strong traditional masculine socialization and generally present in a unique manner. It is posited that OEF/OIF male veterans' unique presentation is in large part because of an interaction between high degrees of endorsement of traditional masculine gender role norms, relative youth, recency of distressing events, and recent experience in the social context of the military where traditional masculinity is reinforced. The impact of these variables on the psychotherapeutic process for male OEF/OIF veterans is significant and likely adds to ambivalence about change and increases dropout from psychotherapy. Modifications of traditional psychotherapeutic approaches designed to address traditional masculine gender role norms and their many interactions with other variables are discussed.