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What do men want? May 26, 2011

Posted by occhristiancounseling in development.
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Men are notoriously bad at asking for their needs to be met, which greatly colors our perception of what they need and want. We mostly assume that they want their own way. We assume they want sex. A lot of sex. And they want to watch sports. And to eat junk food. And they don’t want to talk. Especially about your relationship.

As you can see, that paints a pretty shallow picture of men. (Ummm … can pictures be shallow?)

In reality, men are much more complicated than that. A large part of what a man wants depends on where he is in his life. Is he a boy? teenager? young adult? building his career? starting his family? at midlife? recently retired?

We get ourselves into a lot of trouble by assuming all men are always the same, and by that we mean that they must fit the stereotype created for us by a significant male figure in our lives. That doesn’t leave much room for developmental or individual differences.

Want to find out what he wants?

Ask him what he wants from you … or from life. Then listen. Without comment. For as long as he talks. Don’t fill in the silent spots for him. If he pauses, ask him if there’s anything else. When he says “no,” simple say “thanks.”

For more information on this topic, check out Understanding the Men in Your Life: What Every Woman Needs to Know About the Psychology of Men.

The Crises of Boyhood May 26, 2011

Posted by occhristiancounseling in development, emotions.
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The process of male development is a complicated one in which boys are often left with little emotional support to negotiate. A number of researchers (e.g., Levant, 2001; Pollack, 1998) have identified several normative crisis points in a boy’s life. Levant has noted at least two: (a) at the beginning of school (usually kindergarten) and (b) during adolescence. The first crisis sets the stage for the second and both are relevant to the focus of the current discussion of mother-son relationships. Levant wrote,

The first crisis is actually several years in the making and is fundamentally the result of how we socialize our sons’ emotions. Because of widespread beliefs in U.S. society about how boys and men ought to behave (what I call the “code of masculinity”), we tend to get swept up in a process of shaping and channeling boys’ expression of emotions so that, although boys start out life more emotional than girls, they wind up much less so. By the time a boy enters school he has learned to hide and feel ashamed of two important sets of emotions: those that express vulnerability in one way or another (fear, sadness, loneliness, hurt, shame, and disappointment) and those that express neediness, caring or connection to others. (p. 355)


Levant, R. F. (2001). The crises of boyhood. In G. R. Brooks & G. E. Good (Eds.), The new handbook of psychotherapy and counseling with men (Vol. 1, pp. 355-368). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Pollack, W. S. (1998). Real boys: Rescuing our sons form the myths of boyhood. New York: Henry Holt and Company.

The Boy Code May 25, 2011

Posted by occhristiancounseling in recommended reading, stonewalling.
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Real BoysAccording to William Pollack (1998), a boy first learns that he should be a “Sturdy Oak.” Whimpering, crying, complaining, or any sign of weakness is strictly forbidden.

Second, he is encouraged to “Give ‘Em Hell,” which encourages risk-taking behavior characteristic of a macho, invincible, sometimes violent, high-energy superman.

Third, a boy should strive to be the “Big Wheel” by dominating others and refusing to let anyone know that he actually feels like a failure or like life is out of control.

Finally, “No Sissy Stuff” is allowed. This last commandment is what Pollack considers to be “the literal gender straitjacket that prohibits boys from expressing feelings or urges seen (mistakenly) as ‘feminine’—dependence, warmth, empathy” (p. 24).

Mothers and Sons May 25, 2011

Posted by occhristiancounseling in attachment, Dr. Debi Smith.
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Mothers & Sons
How the Maternal Attachment Experience Affects Boys’ Emotional and Social Development
by Dr. Debi Smith

As you read this book, you will no doubt notice its academic style. This material was first included as part of my doctoral dissertation at Rosemead School of Psychology—Biola University, then used as a text for the Psychology of Men course I developed and taught at Azusa Pacific University.

I decided to share it with you because this work means so much to me.

When I was raising my three boys, I was unaware of most of this information. My study of the psychology of men has profoundly impacted not only the way I interact with my sons now, but also the way I view my male colleagues and the men who come to my office for help with their relationships.

Whether you are married, engaged, dating, or single, I sincerely hope you will find this book both meaningful and helpful in your own relationships with men. Click here to read Mothers & Sons online now.

Men are . . . May 19, 2011

Posted by occhristiancounseling in sports.
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. . . puzzling. Women don’t understand how a man thinks, what he feels, and why he behaves the way he does.

Men seem complicated to women because there is no explanation for them … at least not one that he can offer. If he tries to explain, she tells him he’s wrong, he doesn’t make sense, or he’s just being defensive.

What if he’s just telling you the truth about what he thinks and who he is?

Women are simple. May 18, 2011

Posted by occhristiancounseling in understanding women.
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Really? So why did Sigmund Freud continue to wonder at the mystery of “what women want?”

He never broke the code.

Once you know the code, you can easily figure out what will make her happy.

Kissing the Frog May 13, 2011

Posted by occhristiancounseling in dating.
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You have to kiss a lot of frogs
before your find your Handsome Prince.

The idea here is that, once you kiss the frog, he’ll turn into a Handsome Prince. If he doesn’t, do you move on to the next frog? Or do you keep kissing the same old frog?

What if there’s a way to tell whether he’s really a prince or just a frog before you kiss him? Stay tuned …

What if … May 12, 2011

Posted by occhristiancounseling in Dr. Debi Smith, stonewalling.
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Here’s a thought: What if there’s a very good reason why men so frequently stonewall?

Stonewalling is perhaps the biggest complaint I hear from women. What’s hard for them to understand is why a man shuts down or withdraws from conversation. They take it personally. They believe he doesn’t care. But, in fact, he shuts down BECAUSE he cares!

What if a man withdraws because he’s protecting his wife and their relationship?

Women make gentle suggestions. Give good advice. Nag. Criticize. Blame. It all sounds the same to him: “There’s something wrong with you!” It’s an attack on his manhood. It emasculates him. And it makes him angry.

So he has two choices: get angry or withdraw. He prefers not to get angry. He loves you. So he shuts down, retreats into his castle, and waits for the storm to pass.

What if women learned better ways to ask for and get what they need from their husbands?

Men are people, too. May 7, 2011

Posted by occhristiancounseling in Dr. Debi Smith, Q & A.
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The Psychology of Men ProjectBecause men express their feelings differently than women do, women often get the impression that men don’t feel.

That’s simply not true. Most men are emotionally healthy human beings; and they experience the very same emotions (e.g., anger, hurt, fear, sadness, joy, shame, guilt) that women do. In fact, when it comes to the woman he loves, a man feels everything more intensely than she does.

From birth, guys are more socially and emotionally sensitive than are gals. The problem lies in the lack of freedom they have to respond to their emotions. Vulnerability has two options for them: withdraw or attack. The usual pattern is to withdraw, which makes women pursue even more assertively. The men usually confess that they “take it as long as they can” because they love these women. But eventually, they crack and lash out in anger.

Does your guy withdraw from conversation with you on a regular basis?

May 21 Conference Call May 4, 2011

Posted by occhristiancounseling in Events.
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Dr. Debi Smith

Dr. Debi Smith

You’re invited to participate in a FREE* Conference Call
with Dr. Debi Smith, Couples Therapist & Expert in the
Psychology of Men
Saturday, May 21, 2011
10:00 – 11:00 am (PDT)

Click here to reserve your place and ask your questions.
BONUS! FREE instant download of the e-book:
Why Won’t He Talk to Me?

* Your phone service provider may apply normal long distance charges for the call.