The American Psychological Association is on the defensive over its newly released clinical guidance for treating boys and men, which links traditional masculinity ideology to a range of harms, including sexism, violence, mental health issues, suicide, and homophobia. Critics contend that the guidelines attack traditional values and innate characteristics of males.
The APA’s 10-point guidance, released [January 2019], intended to help practicing psychologists address the varied yet gendered experience of men and boys with whom they work. It fits into the APA’s set of other clinical guidelines for working with specific groups, including older adults, people with disabilities, and one for girls and women, which was released in 2007. The association began working on the guidance for boys and men in 2005.
In an Intelligencer blog post for New York Magazine, conservative commentator Andrew Sullivan wrote that “the decision by the APA to pathologize half of humanity is terrible news.”
As you read the guidelines, you realize that the APA believes that psychologists should be informing men that what they might think is their nature is actually just a set of social constructs that hurt them, murders thousands, and deeply wounds the society as a whole.
In its apparent rebuttal this week, the APA argued that violence and aggression aren’t “hardwired” into men and that it hopes to help men embrace their masculinity—the good bits, at least.
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