• Scott

Double down to Dr. Smith's invitation

About a year ago, Dr. Shawn T Smith posted this video to his Youtube channel:

And as far as I can tell, there have been no takers. In that year, much has happened but I am not sure if the relationship between therapy as a profession and men has improved. I would like to take a moment to reiterate to anyone at the APA that there are those of us out here who would love to discuss the workability of these guidelines in real life.

Like Dr Smith, I am concerned about the apparent lack of even the slightest bit of self-reflection on the clearly politically and ideologically driven "application" (read: ethics) portion of the document. Namely, the presupposition that "privilege" and "power" are ubiquitously present in every interaction between men, and (presumably) women. And the even more obnoxious assertion that male privilege "tends to be invisible to men" and that they need to be educated through a variety of means in order to reduce the overall effects of the "patriarchal" systems that, again are presumed to be in operation. The document makes psychologists into political activists with an agenda rather than allies in the struggles of any particular male client they may have. It turns the therapy room into an indoctrination center where men are programmed to undo every natural instinct they are born with.

Have the people at the APA even heard of the replication problem?

Are they aware that so many of their sacred cows, as constructs, cannot be replicated once the sample sizes are manipulated or the variables tweaked to make the outcomes more parsimonious with reality? Do they know that once you place a field of study like "gender" on a course starting from such dubious initial trials that you can almost forget about putting the runaway stampeding trajectory of literature back in the barn? "Male privilege" is one of many of these sacred cows that need a second look.

Other presuppositions that are present in this (and every other) publication by the mainstream of this profession are way beyond the idea of meeting the burden of proof of these things existence at all. The earliest literature on the "authoritarian" personality type which supposedly undergirds the entire political right's way of approaching and interacting with the world has collapsed under the weight of scrutiny, yet it is assumed to be an iron clad "truth" about the way political actors work. Are you on the right? You are assumed to have all these rigid, impossible to dislodge beliefs and an inability to see shades of grey or nuance. Is it true? Nope. But we are already way past asking these kinds of questions now.

These guidelines have been the official APA position on dealing with men and boys in therapy for over a year , and as such have been taught to at least two classes of first year graduate students as gospel truth. Some of us wonder, "why would men ever see a therapist?"

So, APA--contact Dr Smith, or me, or whomever. You have made assertions that need a critique in an open forum. Can you be bothered with this?

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