The male therapists’ experience of emotional intimacy in the male-male therapeutic dyad – an autoethnographic study

Hancocks, Matt (2020) The male therapists’ experience of emotional intimacy in the male-male therapeutic dyad – an autoethnographic study. DCPsych thesis, Middlesex University / Metanoia Institute. [Thesis]

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What are the male therapist’s experiences of emotional intimacy in the male-male dyad? And why does it matter? This study explores the male therapists’ experience of emotional intimacy in the male-male dyad. It identifies a number of themes at play that impact male therapists, but also at play in the male-male dyad, and how important and perhaps profound an impact this can have on the therapeutic relationship and the effectiveness of therapy.

The study uses an autoethnographic approach which is a research method that involves self-observation and reflexive investigation into the topic in question. It is a form of writing that connects the autobiographical and personal to the cultural, social, and political. (Ellis, 2004; Maréchal, 2009). At the heart of this research is the author’s perspective as a male therapist working with male clients, whilst in private practice. He explores his perspectives through dialogue with four other therapists. The resulting transcripts were analysed and interpreted by the author, generating a number of themes around his experience and that of the participating therapists. He then, using his own reflections and narrative extracts from the dialogues, seeks to illustrate his experiences of the male-male dyad.

A number of key themes were derived from this analysis. Firstly, “Deep Connection” which encompassed the sense of feeling deeply connected with another. Secondly, “Being Man” encompassed typical behaviours associated with men and male ways of being, doing, and thinking. Thirdly, “Protect and Provide” which encompassed the situational factors and experiences that allow men to disclose their inner private world and feel safe in doing so. Fourthly, a sense of “Camaraderie – encompassed by feelings of trust, brotherhood, and understanding. Fifthly, “A Therapist’s Identity” – who am I being – encompassed by what is created by the therapist in the relational dynamic in the room and the roles, thoughts and feelings experienced during this. Sixthly, “Physical beings” which encompassed physical contact (the handshake); physicality and the role this plays in men’s lives and how it influences who we are as men and how it ties into strength versus vulnerability, and health and vitality versus weakness, and how this has a presence in the therapy room. Finally, “What is found within” which encompassed the multiplicity of selves experienced in the roles men play in relationships, the workplace and society at large.

Item Type: Thesis (DCPsych)
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > Metanoia Institute
Item ID: 33540
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2021 09:36
Last Modified: 13 Jul 2021 16:50

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