Understanding the Role of Inflexibly Enacted Masculinity Norms in Therapy: A Commentary on the Case of "Tommy"

James R. Mahalik


The case of "Tommy" highlights both an underutilized methodology for increasing the field’s understanding of the therapeutic process in working with men, and the importance of addressing inflexibly enacted masculinity norms. My commentary focuses on detailing how the methodology helps those of us interested in understanding how masculine norms contribute to men’s presenting concerns, help-seeking, and experiences in treatment focusing on the multi-directionality of relational experiences, masculine identity development, and presenting issues. Then I discuss how the concepts of inflexibility has its roots within an Interpersonal Therapy framework (e.g., Kiesler, 1983) and how this inflexibility develops consistently with explanations contained in Precarious Manhood Theory (i.e., Vandello & Bosson, 2013).


psychology of men and masculinity; adolescents; masculine identity development; inflexibly-enacted traditional masculine norms (IE-TMNs); interpersonal therapy; precarious manhood theory; case study; hybrid case study

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14713/pcsp.v16i3.2078

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