The world needs more alternative treatment therapists: Where are all the men?
When attending the Annual Association of Systematic Kinesiology (ASK) Conference at the Arora Hotel Crawley earlier this year, I was fascinated by a fellow kinesiologist who spoke about new industry research. The main chord-striker was her observation that there were a distinct lack of male therapists in the audience (which was made up of ASK members like me) – interesting, no?
Spread the kinesiology wealth
I am sometimes asked “why do you teach kinesiology?” The general assumption is that I would want to keep such a wonderful specialism to myself. Well, no actually.
When training to become a professional kinesiologist, I was told there are more than enough clients to go round – the key is making clients realise that they need us… This is a wisdom that I pass on to the students who attend my kinesiology courses. Consider nail technicians, massage therapists and hairdressers – they are all busy and in high-demand. This is because everyone has heard of them and their “need for them” has been established. The more people practice kinesiology, the wider the awareness of its uses and benefits will spread, and the more people will come to know and require the service – simple!
Why are male therapists an endangered species?
This brings us to the issue concerning an absence of therapists worldwide, especially the male variety. In his article, Male Therapists in Decline – And Why This Matters, Manchester based psychotherapist Ian Tomlinson described male therapists as an endangered species, stating:
“Whenever I go to a therapy workshop or have any training I like to carry out a survey of male/female ratios (I’m funny that way!). It usually works out to be somewhere around 30% men. So for every one hundred therapists only 30 of them will be men (by my completely unscientific calculations).
“The article from the NY Times [Need Therapy, A Good Man Is Hard to Find”] has an even smaller amount of men in the therapy field in the USA than this. It states that only 20% of all of the Masters degrees awarded in Psychology in the states are awarded to men. In the states only 10% of the members of the American Counseling Association are men. These figures highlight the seriousness of the situation and wake us up to the feminisation of the mental health professions.”
Exactly my point! So, why is this important? The variety of benefits systematic kinesiology has is wide-ranging and it is suitable for people of all ages, genders and social background. Kinesiology – as a standalone alternative treatment or when combined with homeopathy, reflexology or reiki – can help to alleviate all manner of symptoms and conditions, from headaches and back pain to those most commonly associated with stress and emotional wellbeing.
Let us take mental health as an example here. On average, less men are diagnosed with common mental health problems than women – around one in five women and one in eight men are diagnosed with a common mental illness, such as anxiety and depression, at any one time (C. Deverill and M. King, 2009, ‘Common mental disorders’, in Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey). According to the Men's Health Forum:
- 73% of adults who 'go missing' are men
- 87% of those sleeping rough are men
- 95% of the prison population is made up of men
- 72% of male prisoners suffering from two or more mental disorders
- Men are three times more likely than women to become dependent on alcohol
- Men are three times more likely than women to report frequent drug
- 78% of all suicides are by men
Generally, mental illness is more difficult to diagnose in men because they tend to seek medical assistance for physical symptoms only. Is this because they do not feel comfortable seeking counselling or other complementary healthcare from female therapists with whom they do not identify?
The aforementioned NY Times article says: “The impact of this gender switch on the value of therapy is negligible, studies suggest. A good therapist is a good therapist, male or female, and a mediocre one is a mediocre one. Shared experience may even be an impediment, in some cases: therapists often caution students against assuming that they have special insight into person’s problems just because they have something in common.
“Still, perception is all important when it comes to seeking help for the very first time. In a recent study among 266 college men, Ronald F. Levant, a psychologist at the University of Akron, found that a man’s willingness to seek therapy was directly related to how strongly he agreed with traditionally male assumptions, like ‘I can usually handle whatever comes my way.’ Such a man on the fence about seeking treatment could be discouraged by the prospect of talking to a woman. ‘Many men like this believe that only another man can help them, and it doesn’t matter whether that’s true or not,’ Dr. Levant said. ‘What’s important is what the client believes.’
“Both male therapists and men who have been in treatment agree that there are certain topics that — at least initially, all things being equal — are best discussed within gender.”
Are accessible kinesiology courses the key?
It seems there is a fundamental need for more therapists of all genders, ages and social backgrounds so they can engage with their clients in the most positive ways. I know there is a need for more kinesiologists, especially male kinesiologists, and growth within this part of the industry could be the match-strike needed to ignite positive change industry-wide and worldwide.
I believe I can do my bit, at least, by offering kinesiology training. Kinesiology is fabulous because it is truly holistic and in each individual client – it covers emotional, physical, nutritional, chemical, energetic and structural issues. I can teach you to discover the priority of someone’s health issues and how to work with them to gently peel away the layers, allowing gentle change to take place.
Whether you are an alternative therapist who wants to branch out and study kinesiology, a student from a mainstream healthcare background looking to expand your remit; a man who would like to make his mark in the kinesiology world or a complete novice who would like more knowledge to benefit your friends and family – my introduction to kinesiology workshop is a wonderful starting point and is available in Brighton, Hove and the surrounding areas upon request.
Alternatively, booking is now open for my most popular kinesiology course, Kinesiology Training Foundation Course, which runs over six weekends starting on 16/17 September. For more information about my kinesiology training courses or to make a booking, please contact me today.