The APA would basically like us to treat boys as if they were defective girls. It tells us that typically male behaviours, such as bonding through physical activity, or restraining their shows of affection to other men, are not healthy because they reinforce traditional masculinity. The good news is that these men can be helped. A good therapist can gently point out the errors in their beliefs, in order to liberate them from their destructive male habits.
The guidelines do get one thing right. Boys and men are in trouble. Apart from the highest stratum of society – where men still reign supreme – women are beating them everywhere. While men’s incomes have stagnated, women’s incomes have soared. Women outnumber and outperform men at every level of education and in almost every field – including psychology, the majority of which is made up of women. In much of the Western world, all too many boys grow up without fathers – and they’re worse off because of it. What they need is more male influence, not less.
The modern economy is no friend to men – especially men without the temperament and social skills to navigate their way forward. The real problem for those strong, stoic types who work with their backs more than their brains is not that they need therapy. It’s that they need a job that can support a family and give them a place in the world. This is shaping up to be one of the more urgent issues of our age.