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Section 1
Track #1 - Effective Use of 'Taking the Opposite Track'

Question 1 | Answer Booklet | Table of Contents | Introduction | Couples
Social Worker CEU, Psychologist CE, Counselor CEU, MFT CEU

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On this track
, we will discuss how typical women view male intimacy.  We’ll examine how men suffer similarly and that men also long for intimacy.  We will also discuss the ‘Take the Opposite Track’ technique.

Share on Facebook Men Suffer Similarly
You already know that one of the difficulties for men in living out the male role is that men have trouble expressing their feelings.  Do you agree that, as a result, male-female relationships tend to be primarily functional in character, and that, as a consequence, most women in relationships feel as if they’re living in an emotional desert?  I find that it is not common knowledge, however, that men also feel emotionally deprived and also suffer because of the emotional aridity of their relationships.

Since men aren’t defined primarily through their personal relationships, we tend to overlook the complexity of feeling and hence the potential for tragedy inherent in a man’s relationship with the women and children in his life.  Would you agree that the result may be the potential for an endless array of emotionally wounding experiences for men?  I find that men may not comprehend women’s needs, and women, missing men’s rudimentary attempts to communicate, may very likely overlook the magnitude of the pain men are in.

In my practice, I find that if a woman views a man in truth instead of prejudice, women tend to find that men too are suffering.  Jay, age 29, was, in fact, struggling to keep from exposing the wounds that his struggle for love had inflicted.  In faithfully enacting what it is to be a man, Jay held back his emotions while his wife, Sarah, mistook Jay’s silence for contentment.  Think of your male client.  Could his silence actually be evidence of his suffering?

Share on Facebook Men Long For Intimacy
Jay stated, "I don’t know what I was looking for in a relationship when I married Sarah."  Would you agree that men like Jay tend to seek relationships that provide them with emotional sanctuary, peace, diversion, and consolation?  Like his wife Sarah, Jay had a desire to be nurtured and cherished, to feel secure so he could function in the world.  Jay also needed the emotional connection that alleviates the experience of human isolation.  Think of your Jay.  Does he need to be loved and to see himself as loving? 

I found that it was difficult for Sarah to believe that Jay longed for intimacy as much as she did.  Sarah stated, "In the love marketplace, men have unlimited choices.  Since there are so many single, available women and since women all seem to be so eager to be in relationships, it’s as though men don’t have a problem in finding the perfect relationship.  They can just turn around on a dime and find the mate of their dreams." 

How might you have responded to Sarah?  I stated, "There’s far more to a happy pairing than just the availability of a member of the opposite sex.  Just because there are more single women than men doesn’t mean that any of the available women would be the right woman for Jay.  You can’t generate the perfect relationship out of statistical probabilities.  Intimacy in relationships is as rare for men as it is for women."

Do your male clients complain that they can’t seem to find a woman who really touches and delights them? 

I find that men are generally as lonesome as single women—it’s just that they usually suffer in silence so the women in their lives don’t know what they’re going through.  But when men do open up and start talking, their problems are obvious.  Stan, age 50, stated, "I live continually with the longing of sharing my life with a woman.  I want a woman to want to know me as I truly am, but even now after years of looking I haven’t been able to find one.  The women I’ve met are desperate to get married. 

"They want security, you know, someone to pay the electric bill.  They don’t care about you as a person.  I never would have believed how hard it was going to be to find women to date after college.  The bar scene; the single’s life.  AIDS.  It’s a jungle out there. Women have no idea.  They think it’s a party for a man.  Sometimes I feel as if my chance to get married has already passed me by.  It’s devastating thinking that."  Stan clearly viewed his desire for intimacy as painful.  I shared the ‘Take the Opposite Track’ technique with him to help him develop obstinacy toward the pain of what he felt was a lack of intimacy.

Share on Facebook Technique:  Take the Opposite Track
I stated to Stan, "Take the opposite track.  If you find it too strange to love your painful experience, then do the opposite.  Develop obstinacy.  Actively hate the bad experience.  Refuse to accept your feelings.  Exaggerate your need to change your feelings.  Go way beyond your normal resistance.  Forbid yourself to accept the situation.  Say to yourself, "I’ll never accept this no matter what."  This strategy works because the mind is like a child and often does the opposite of what you tell it to do. 

Think of your Stan.  Could a similar application of reverse psychology work for your male intimacy client?

On this track we have discussed how typical women view male intimacy.  We found that men suffer similarly and that men also long for intimacy.  We also discussed the ‘Take the Opposite Track’ technique.

On the next track we will discuss Avoiding Taboo-Loaded Communication.  For the purposes of this track, Avoiding Taboo-Loaded Communication will consist of six steps.  The six steps are be specific, be straight, be direct, be clear, create a climate for honesty, and tell the truth.

QUESTION 1
What is a technique useful in helping men cope with emotional hardship regarding their desire for intimacy? To select and enter your answer go to Answer Booklet.

 
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