A New Psychology of Men

By Meth, Richard L. | Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, October 1997 | Go to article overview

A New Psychology of Men


Meth, Richard L., Journal of Marital and Family Therapy


Levant, R., & Pollack, W. (Eds.). (1995). A new psychology of men. New York: Basic Books, 402 pp., no price.

In the past decade, there has been an enormous proliferation of self-help books designed to help men and women to understand each other. Resources for the professional community, however, have been relatively scarce. Except for a few notable contributions (Solomon and Levy, Meth and Pasick, Erickson), resources for the practitioner working with men have been particularly hard to find. Recently, a new generation of literature has emerged, which builds upon existing ideas and expands the ways we have been thinking about men by broadening our knowledge about men and masculinity. Levant and Pollack's text, A New Psychology of Men, is one of those new additions that mostly accomplished what it sets out to do-to provide to the reader a scholarly, sensitive, and comprehensive view of how to understand and work with men.

The book is divided into four sections. The first section addresses past and present psychological theories of men and masculinity, beginning with Pleck's update on the gender-role strain paradigm, which he originally developed in the early 1980s. Expanding this concept to incorporate trauma and gender-role dysfunction, Pleck extends his ideas to examine the links between masculine ideology and gender-role strain. Whether or not you find this kind of theoretical contribution relevant to your work, this is not a chapter to skip over. Pollack's chapter on a new psychoanalytic psychology of men and Bergman's chapter, which examines men through a relational perspective, also make strong contributions and have relevant practical applications. The last chapter in the theoretical section, on male development and the transformation of shame, incorporates shame theory with the genderrole strain paradigm and self-psychology. It offers a unique and creative analysis of current notions of masculinity, and it addresses the role of shame in the shaping of men's lives. …

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