Men, Depression, Psychotherapy the Focus of National Conference

June 3, 2010

AUSTIN, Texas — Venus and Mars in Therapy, Anger Busting 101 and Ethical Issues in Working with Men are a few of the topics to be addressed by national men's health experts at the second annual National Psychotherapy with Men Conference, hosted this weekend by The University of Texas at Austin's College of Education.

The conference is from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, June 5, at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center. It's aimed at psychology professionals, practitioners and graduate students, as well as professionals in social work, psychiatry, marriage, and family therapy and general counseling.

"Researchers only recently discovered just how differently men exhibit and handle different mental health problems, as compared to women," says Dr. Aaron Rochlen, conference organizer and associate professor in the College of Education's Department of Educational Psychology. "Men tend to display different symptoms of depression, for example, than women and resist confronting the illness and seeking help.

"The stigma men face in regard to depression is particularly troublesome, considering the fact that men commit suicide at four to six times the rate of women. They also tend to 'act out' their depression in problematic ways. We know how difficult it is for many men to be vulnerable and access and express their emotions, which is obviously a key feature of the therapeutic process. This conference addresses both the barriers to help-seeking that men often face and how to make therapy more appealing to greater numbers of men."

Rochlen is known nationally for his research on the marketing of mental health, barriers to help-seeking and men in non-traditional work and family roles, including stay-at-home dads. He was a keynote speaker at the inaugural Psychotherapy with Men Conference last year.

The keynote speakers at this year's conference are Dr. Gary R. Brooks, an expert on designing "male-friendly" therapy, and Dr. Mark Kiselica, an expert on counseling for boys and adolescents. Dr. Melba Vasquez, the president-elect of the American Psychological Association, also will be a presenter.

Acknowledging the stigma some cultures attach to mental illness, especially in males, the conference will include sessions that address the needs of multicultural patients.

The conference has more than 22 sponsors, including several agencies and centers on campus.

For more information on conference presenters and session topics, visit http://ows.edb.utexas.edu/site/2nd-national-psychotherapy-men-conference/programschedule or contact Rochlen at aaron.rochlen@mail.utexas.edu.

For more information, contact: Kay Randall, College of Education, 512 471 6033.