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The positive movement of men seeking counseling and psychotherapy

In the 21st century global economy, there is, unfortunately, still a stigma related to mental and behavioral health, in general, and specifically, the mental health and counseling of men. Due to gender role stereotyping, culture, socialization, politicization, and economic influences, among others, men have traditionally not participated in behavioral or mental health counseling and psychotherapeutic services.

Although the pandemic emphasized the efficacy and significance of behavioral and mental health services for everyone, three years later, the stigma continues.

According to John Elflein, Statista’s Research Expert on health care, from 2002 to 2021, in a study of approximately 70,000 men over the age of 18, men increasingly received mental health treatment or counseling services during this time frame, with minor decreases over the years. In 2002, 8.7 percent of U.S. men received some type of mental health treatment or counseling services; in 2021, 12.1 percent of U.S. men received treatment or counseling services. While the numbers are encouraging, they also illustrate that men are basically not participating in the therapeutic process (Elflein, Statista, January 16, 2023).

In my private practice and management consulting firm, an interesting phenomenon is that most of my clients and patients are men. I am uncertain as to why this occurs; however, men seeking counseling and psychotherapy is a very positive movement toward change.

An Introduction and Proposal

My theoretical framework and orientation suggest that self-concept and self-esteem are the fundamental tenets for knowing who we are and moving toward the goal of total health and wellness.

What I believe is most important for men is to know themselves with respect to values, core beliefs, world view, personality traits and characteristics, abilities, skills, and interests, to name a few. This means initially conducting an in-depth self-assessment and evaluation, focusing on self-concept and self-esteem. Self-concept is our perception of ourselves; self-esteem is how we “feel” about ourselves (Super, et al, 1964).

As self-concept and self-esteem are not single constructs, I subscribe to, and modified, the 6 Areas of Self-Concept developed by Fitts & Warren (1964, 1996), and illustrated in their classic, seminal global inventory, the Tennessee Self-Concept Scale (TSCS).

I have modified the Self-Concept and Self-Esteem Model proposed by Fitts & Warren (TSCS, 1996) to include the following in an effort to facilitate the identification of who we are and issues, concerns, and challenges:

·         Personal Self-Concept and Self-Esteem

·         Physical Self-Concept and Self-Esteem

·         Family Self-Concept and Self-Esteem

·         Social/Community Self-Concept and Self-Esteem

·         Academic/Work/Professional/Financial Self-Concept and Self-Esteem

·         Moral/Ethical/Spiritual Self-Concept and Self-Esteem

In each of the above, understanding self is the initial step in the self-exploration process. Men must identify the issues, concerns, and challenges related to each of the 6 Areas of Self-Concept, including “How can I better navigate the global village of the 21st century?” And ask yourself, “Who am I, and what are the implications and repercussions that I have encountered throughout my life? More importantly, what resources exist to help me understand and overcome said issues, concerns, and challenges?”


Elflein, J. (2023). Mental health treatment or counseling among U.S. men 2002-2021.

Statista, Online.

Fitts, W. & Warren, W.L. (1996). Tennessee Self-Concept Scale 2nd Edition (TSCS-2). Los

            CA: Western Psychological Services.

Super, D.E., Starishevsky, R., Matlin, N., & Jordaan, J.P. (1963). Career development: Self-

            Concept theory. Essays in vocational development. New York, New York: College

            Entrance Examination Board.


Dr. Vicki D. Coleman is a Fully Licensed Clinician in five States and holds more than 20 psychology-related certifications. Specializing in Self-Concept & Self-Esteem, she has an earned Doctorate in Psychology from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. A former Tenured Professor at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, Dr. Vicki also has worked in mental health, criminal justice, food & beverage, and transportation. She currently serves as a Clinical Director for behavioral health agencies and supervises medical, psychology, counseling, social work, and human services students.

My theoretical framework and orientation suggest that self-concept and self-esteem are the fundamental tenets for knowing who we are and moving toward the goal of total health and wellness.