A phenomenological inquiry into heterosexual men’s experience of gender identity in couples therapy as client

Paget, Mark St. John (2019) A phenomenological inquiry into heterosexual men’s experience of gender identity in couples therapy as client. DProf thesis, Middlesex University. [Thesis]

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Forty-two per cent of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce (ONS, 2016) and the heterosexual couple continues to be the largest relationship type in 2017 (Relate, 2017). This research presents an in-depth, phenomenological exploration illuminating the experiences of being a heterosexual male in relationship therapy. The literature review describes the dearth of research into this demographic, with no prior research being found based on the experience of such men in therapy.

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with twelve men and the resulting transcripts subjected to Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA).

Six major themes are presented that widely challenge societal and therapeutic perspectives on men in couples therapy. The findings present a picture of men who feel unloved, uncherished, misunderstood and lonely, who deeply care about their relationship, partner and loved ones. Aware of societal changes in terms of gender roles, the participants describe key influencers on them in terms of being a man and as a man in relationship with a woman. The active consideration of the effect of the gender of the couples therapist on therapy is also revealed by participants who allude to differences in communication style between them and women.

The discussion compares the experiences of the participants with five published articles written from the perspective of expert as well as with the general therapeutic literature, which is explored in the background literature section.

The thesis concludes with a recommendation that all genders are actively considered in therapy and therapeutic research rather than the current trend to focus only on gender in relation to minorities or disadvantaged groups, and to acknowledge the embeddedness of gender and gender constructs for clients irrespective of the therapeutic approach or philosophical beliefs of the therapist.

Item Type: Thesis (DProf)
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology
B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling (NSPC)
Item ID: 26335
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2019 09:48
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 19:17
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/26335

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