Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy

A Content Analysis of Gendered Research in the Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy/ Une Analyse De Contenu De la Recherche Sexospecifique Dans la Revue Canadienne De Counseling et Depsychotherapie

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy

A Content Analysis of Gendered Research in the Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy/ Une Analyse De Contenu De la Recherche Sexospecifique Dans la Revue Canadienne De Counseling et Depsychotherapie

Article excerpt

Whereas well-established guidelines exist for ethical and best practices with girls and women (American Psychological Association, 2007; Canadian Psychological Association, 2007), comparable documents for adapting counselling and psychotherapy to better serve the unique needs of boys and men are not available. Existing therapeutic approaches have only infrequently been modified to account for the conventional male gender role (Brooks, 2010), and studies show that men and women often have different expectations of the counsellor (Reznicek-Parrado, 2013; Schaub & Williams, 2007). In addition, men seek counselling less often than women, likely due to the limited masculine gender competence exhibited by clinicians (Deering & Gannon, 2005; Ogrodniczuk, 2006; Owen, Wong, & Rodolfa, 2009), which, in turn, may be partially due to the meagre amount of guiding empirical research available on boys/men participating in counselling or psychotherapy.

All of the above is occurring despite the widely cited study that showed boys and men make up 34.4% of individuals participating in counselling and psychotherapy (Vessey & Howard, 1993). More recent research indicated an increase in the number of men receiving counselling or psychotherapy, such that men now make up about 40% of those receiving such services in the United States (Karlin, Duffy, & Gleaves, 2008). However, with respect specifically to a suicidal clientele--individuals perhaps most in need of psychological intervention--examination of a representative sample of adult Canadians with suicidal ideation indicated that men make up only about 26.7% of those likely to consult a psychologist when thinking of suicide (Cox, 2014).

Mainstream counselling and psychotherapy research and practices have been slow to integrate the culture of Canadian masculinity (i.e., the shared beliefs, values, customs, roles, and ways of behaving commonly manifest in the majority of men in Canada; for further explication of masculinity as a culture, see Brooks, 2010). Based on slowly emerging recognition of this deficit (Westwood & Black, 2012), the Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy (CJCP) recently published a special issue partly focused on male issues (Vol. 46, No. 4, 2012). Excluding the introduction, which outlined the rationale for the special issue and briefly summarized its contents, this special issue contained four articles, three of which were empirical research articles. In total, these articles represented the experience of only 7 men (only 6 of whom were counselling clients).

Included in this special issue was a preliminary study, which served as the basis for the current study. Hoover, Bedi, and Beall (2012) found, through examining abstracts from 2000 to halfway through 2011, females or female issues were examined more frequently than males or male issues in CJCP, at a ratio of 12:1. Hoover et al. used a conservative definition of female or male issues, in terms of the authors of the articles explicitly identifying their article as focused on boys/men, girls/women, masculinity (male gender role), or femininity (female gender role).

As proposed by Westwood and Black (2012), there is a clear need for continued research on how best to provide mental health services to boys and men. The present study is a comprehensive empirical examination of variables related to gender in CJCP (formerly known as the Canadian Journal of Counselling) from 2000 to 2013. As in Hoover et al. (2012), the primary intention was to assess the gender focus--intentional (e.g., part of the objective of the study) and incidental (by chance, such as through convenience sampling)--of articles in CJCP and to quantify the frequency at which males, compared to females, are researched. The present study also updates the pilot-study research results to the start of 2014. Based on the preliminary results (Hoover et al., 2012), it was expected that articles targeting content related uniquely to females or utilizing an exclusively female sample would greatly outnumber content related uniquely to males or utilizing an exclusively male sample, and at a level that exceeds the representation of men in counselling. …

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