Why therapy doesn’t work for most boys

ryan-wexelblatt-therapy-boys

A conversation I had this week with an 11-year old who I was meeting for the first time. We’ll call him “Jeff”.
 
Me: Here’s the deal, when you come here I’m not going to ask you how you’re feeling every week or ask you to talk about feelings. If you want to talk about them that’s cool we can do that. My whole job is helping guys whose brain works like yours getting better at the stuff their brain makes harder for them
 
Jeff: Phew, that’s a relief because that’s all (former therapist’s name) talked to me about and it was really annoying.
 
Here’s how much training most therapists (including myself) get in gender based brain differences: 0
 
Here’s the number of trainings I’ve seen offered by mental health continuing education programs, etc. that are about working effectively with boys in therapy: 0
 
Here’s how many therapists I know of across the U.S.A. who specialize in working with boys including myself: Less than 5 (that I know of).
 
Want to know the number of trainings and books out there about working specifically with girls: Too many to list
 
It never occurred to me to specialize in working with boys. I chose to go this path because of my own negative experiences in therapy as a kid, because I knew that I was in a female dominated field that paid very little attention to how boy’s brains work and because I saw so many boys who had adverse experiences in therapy.
 
There are thousands and thousands of boys like Jeff out there. Some of these boys will become adverse to participating in therapy when they’re men because of their childhood experiences in therapy.
 
That doesn’t sit well with me and I hope it doesn’t sit well with those of you who have sons either. That’s why I do what I do and please know I appreciate you being here and reading this far.
 
With gratitude,
Ryan