Reconstructing and/or Deconstructing Masculinity: A Commentary on the Case of "Tommy"

Ethan Hoffman, Michael E. Addis


Men’s psychological well-being has in recent decades garnered increasing attention in research, clinical practice, and larger society. Dewey’s insightful case study provides an occasion for reflecting on the multiple conceptual lenses that can be used to understand and work with masculinity in psychotherapy. In this commentary, we discuss how these conceptualizations of masculinity facilitate different approaches to psychotherapy at the levels of treatment planning and intervention. We offer our own approach to masculine identity work, noting specific points of contrast with the approach illustrated by Dewey. Finally, we critically explore the clinical and societal implications of concepts like "toxic masculinity" and "healthy masculinity" in light of social justice pursuits for gender equality. Throughout, we emphasize the importance for clinicians to make deliberate choices about how masculinity is conceptualized and to consider the pragmatic consequences of these conceptual choices.


masculinity; depression; positive masculinity; cognitive restructuring; cognitive defusion; feminist therapy; case study; hybrid case study

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