NP0020 Men in Therapy: What Clinicians Need to Know

This blog focuses on discussion regarding the course NP0020 Men in Therapy: What Clinicians Need to Know.

Men and Intimacy: A Relational Approach with Patrick Dougherty


Men in Therapy: NP0020 - Session 5

Learn how to open men up to intimacy through a mind/body/heart approach. Psychologist and qigong teacher Patrick Dougherty teaches how to connect therapeutically with men and to challenge them to find the value of and capacity for intimate relationships.

After you hear this presentation, please take a few minutes to comment about what you found most interesting or relevant, to ask any questions you have of the presenter or your colleagues, or to share any experiences. As always, if you ever have any technical questions, please feel free to email support@psychotherapynetworker.org and our Support Team will help you.

07.03.2012   Posted In: NP0020 Men in Therapy: What Clinicians Need to Know   By Psychotherapy Networker
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  • 0 avatar Debra Anderson 07.03.2012 13:03
    Thank you Dr Dougherty for your perspective. I believe that I too have had much success in working with men through developing a deeper relationship. However, as a woman I would like to have heard more about how this works best with a woman as the psychologist.
    Debra Anderson
    • Not available avatar Patrick 07.03.2012 15:03
      Debra, While some of the issues that come up for a woman therapist doing this deep, radical relationship approach are certainly different, what she draws upon is basically the same as a male therapist - a deep knowing and trusting of themselves, their strength and vulnerability, and the courage and willingness to drop into that space again and again. Sounds like you are probably already doing that.

  • -0.1 avatar toni herbine-blank 07.03.2012 13:12
    Thank you so much! Thank you for being willing to be influenced by a strong woman, for talking about a body centered approach with men, for naming the importance of authentic relationship and coherence. I appreciate so much that you hold that men should not be treated with kid gloves and believe that they are capable of deep relational work.

    One word of caution. As a woman in relationship with a man and a female therapist, beware the woman who believes she is "ahead" of her partner in emotional work. I have been seduced by this "apparent" imbalance to the detriment of the couples work. Thank you again!
    • Not available avatar Patrick 07.10.2012 14:15
      Toni, After nearly 35 years as a therapist and over 60 years as a man what interests me more then anything these days is the power of deep and intimate relationships to transform us into fully alive and authentic people. Women, in general, have much more experience in this realm and know this terrain better then men. They should be a major influence for all of us in this relational approach.

      We now know exactly how the body and its nervous system hold onto our small and large traumas and that they get in the way of that deep intimacy, so we had better be working in the body. And it is our ability to be authentic and coherent that makes possible this deep way of relating to others as a way of life, as opposed to a moment of connection, so we had better be learning how to do that.

      And I believe that men are not only capable of deeper intimacy, but that it is imperative to our partnerships, families and our communities that we help them find the way into those deep intimate relationships.

  • Not available avatar Julie Sullivan-Redmond 07.08.2012 13:48
    Dr. Dougherty,

    Thank you for clarifying the six steps involved in your approach: beginning by dropping into the body, moving to heart center, attuning to the person, noticing the inner-subjective attunement, looking for coherence, and holding. I appreciate your honest recall of successful and challenging applications. The interview was inspiring and helpful for me.

  • Not available avatar Clive Worley 07.09.2012 04:57
    I was interested to hear this approach described as mentoring as I would not regard it as psychotherapy per se. I wonder if there is something in it`s directiveness though which appeals to men and to male therapists in particular, which some men will find useful.
    • Not available avatar patrick 07.10.2012 14:17
      Clive, I am not sure what mentoring would be either as it probably would not be psychotherapy, although might be helpful to some men..


  • Not available avatar NorikoSawaki 07.09.2012 17:29
    Dr. Dougherty,

    Thank you for teaching very strong empowering way to relate with clients. It is quite interesting because I had learned similar way of preparation of spiritual/mental state from my mentor here in Japan, dropping into the body and attuning to good side of humanity of the client by praying for a few minutes just before every session. By practicing this I have experienced going into deep and good relationship with clients and could feel pretty close to client. However I have two problems, one is as you mentioned I take risky choice of behavior in the session usually confronting client challenges and the other is crying.... I am women and when I notice the surprising inner-subjective attunement, my body reacts and tears comes out. It is my daily therapy problems, how should I manage this ?
    • Not available avatar Patrick 07.10.2012 14:31
      Noriko, I think when we are in our body and heart, and in deep attunement with our clients, our risks with them may not be as big as they seem because in that attunement our intuitive sense will generally help us to know that they can respond to our taking that risk with them.

      And with the crying, again, I think the deep attunement would help us to know if it is going to be beneficial for them for us to be that authentic, and if not will cue us to regulate our tears and be with them in a way that is both authentic and beneficial to them. If we cannot hold back our tears, then of course it probably suggests we have a need to have our own tears heard and seen by another.

      • Not available avatar NorikoSawaki 07.12.2012 03:54
        Thank you Patrick, what an encouraging reply! I can truly understand that the intuitive sense worked in very helpful way when attuned, actually most of my decision of confrontation to clients turned out to be positive interestingly. However my supervisor often surprised by seeing me making decisions to confront clients without thinking, it seems to be risky action for normal cases. However I feel meaningless to logically sort out the options of the interventions when I want to confront because as you told in the interview, there seems to be inevitable compatibility between my decision and client needs. Regarding tearing, what a relief! Usually soon after noticing tears come out from my eyes I can realize the need not to be drown with the sensation.
        As you mentioned hope it is beneficial for both.

        I thank to you for your clear explanation for the phenomenon happened in well attuned therapy. I will study further to understand your theory more by reading your book!
  • 0 avatar Wanda Sheber 07.10.2012 09:49
    Patrick! You have touched me deeply once more---I have been practicing relationally for the last few years by my own instincts. Your words today give me affirmation, challenge and a few more steps on the road to explore for myself and for the benefit of clients--male and female. You gave me access to greater courage. I look forward to visiting your site and blog.

    Wanda Sheber
  • 0 avatar Jane Fox 07.21.2012 21:07
    Patrick, I loved your words and this profound relational approach. A question: I have severe chronic pain during many of my sessions these days due to back problems. Despite practicing mindfulness for 30 years and teaching it for 15, I am now noticing that I sometimes run from my body as a way to detach from the pain. I will work with my therapist on this; he goes quite deep himself with me. But I'd love your input on dealing with what seems like an obstacle. Jane Fox
  • 0 avatar Shirley Hanson 08.04.2012 00:25
    Thank you Patrick. I loved your comments about raising the bar for expectations of male clients. As a female and a female therapist(feminist), I have sometimes discounted men for what they are capable of. I liked your discussion about going deeper into relationships with male clients, rather than be intimidated by men. The role of mentor vs psychotherapist, helped to shift my thinking process. I think being a mentor is easier for a male therapist than a female therapist - our gender driven relationships are so different! But sharing experiences and wisdom with clients makes sense to me(even though it fights with me about boundary issues). Most of all, this presentation used a case approach which is always very helpful in bringing theory to practice.
    For the future, I would have appreciated knowing a little about the "qigong philosophy" theme which came up numerous times. I knew nothing about how that influenced Patrick's thinking.
    Rich, if you could find a way to put a visual copy of putting book titles, web pages, etc. in written form on the screen for students to have. I always look into further reference materials, but it is hard to sort out with so little information provided.
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