Revisiting "Tommy": Further Considerations of Best Practices for Addressing Inflexibly Enacted Traditional Masculinity Norms (IE-TMNs) with Boys and Men in Therapy

Christopher Dewey


In this article, I respond to the thoughtful commentaries and critiques offered by James Mahalik (2020), Ethan Hoffman and Michael Addis (2020), and Ginelle Wolfe and Ron Levant (2020) on my hybrid case study of "Tommy" (Dewey, 2020), a college freshman exhibiting symptoms of depression, alcohol use concerns, and inflexibly enacted traditional masculinity norms (IE-TMNs) during a time of difficult transitions and loss in his life. These commentaries have reaffirmed many of my beliefs about best practices for working with boys and men in therapy, while also expanding my knowledge of the psychology of men and masculinities (PMM) and introducing me to conceptual frameworks and therapeutic goals not directly explored in my original case study. Additionally, these three commentaries underscored areas of particular importance that I would like to discuss in further detail, including, (a) Hoffman and Addis’s differentiation between reconstructing and deconstructing masculinity as treatment aims when working with boys and men in therapy; (b) the benefits of employing Interpersonal Theory to better conceptualize presenting concerns related to traditional masculinity norms as highlighted by Mahalik; (c) constructive criticism from Wolfe and Levant and from Addis and Hoffman about the need for closer examination of social justice themes that arise when addressing masculinity in treatment; and (d) concerns about the generalizability of the case study raised by all three commentaries. 


masculinity; traditional masculinity norms; inflexibly enacted traditional masculinity norms; depression; substance use; alcohol; gender norms; cognitive restructuring; behavioral activation; motivational interviewing; harm reduction; case study; hybrid c

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