Men prefer quick fixes whereas women prefer talking about their feelings during therapy to battle depression. According to this new study, men apparently commit suicide at three to four the rate in comparison to women, and yet men don’t seek psychological help as much as women.
“This might be because the types of treatment on offer are less appealing to men because many psychological interventions are more about talking than about fixing problems,” said John Barry from University College London.
“It is likely that men benefit as much as women from talking about their feelings, but if talking about feelings appears to be the goal of therapy, then some men may be put off,” Barry added.
For the study, the team asked 347 participants to say what kind of therapy they would like if they needed help. The men and women in this group, half of whom reported having received some form of therapy, showed many similarities in their preferences, but also some key differences. Men more than women expressed a preference for therapy that involved sharing and receiving advice about their concerns in informal groups. But women preferred a psychodynamic psychotherapy, where discussion focuses on feelings and past events.
In addition, they also showed interesting differences in coping strategies. While trying to cope with stress and trauma, women turned to the comfort of eating, whereas men were more likely to indulge in sex or pornography, the researchers said. Psychology might be more effective in treating men if gender differences were taken into account more, the researchers suggested.
The findings were presented at the annual conference of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology in Liverpool.