Hey Man (or woman),
Are you alive or are you somewhat turned off, numb, or somewhat apathetic?
If so, you're not alone.
You might be suffering from the under-diagnosed phenomenon of the covert male depression, as first described by Terrance Real.
In this talk, taken from a webinar for therapists, I share my story of covert depression and detail how this covert depression begins through psychological patriarchy, how it evolves and manifests through a limited relational and emotional repertoire, and its long-term (negative) effects on their intimate relationships.
Practical tips are given on how to engage and soften this depression.
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Hello and welcome to the potential state. My name is Dr . AEL Romanelli . And today we're gonna be talking about covert male depression. This episode is actually taking from a recording of a webinar I gave to therapist a couple weeks ago. So I apologize for the sound quality, which isn't as sharp as usual, but I really wanted this content out. I think this is super important. The webinar begins with my own personal story, dealing with my covert male depression, and it continues on to detail, teary reels, a beautiful and touching conceptualization of men and the covert male depression that they experience. I then continue with my own interpretations and my , the way I work with men on these topics. And I think this is a super important topic that both men and women should know. So I hope you enjoy it. And let's go,Speaker 2:
You are listening to the potential state podcast With your host , Dr. ASEL RO Romanelli .Speaker 3:
So what you see there, that's Joe Romanelli , my dad and that's me when I was about four or five . And I'm gonna start this talk with talking about myself and my own COVID depression and how I it and how I'm dealing with it . Actually , this guy over here , he's probably my age now. I mean, he was probably 40 without the pictures taken . I'm 43 . Now he , he , Joe was born to , uh , he had Italian immigrants, Ellis , our last name. They ran away before the war from Venice and he up in Brooklyn with a father that was actually, they had an Italian restaurant and he'd be working 14, 15, 16 hour days. So in fact, he grew up without an , uh , present father who was actually part of that, of the family life. And most of his life was the restaurant. And when I was born , um, my dad obviously improved on that script, but my dad, whoever knows him, he's a very extroverted on stage , but in , at home he's very introvert and he's very quiet and he wasn't very , um , emotionally expressive at home. And I will tell you how all this connects later in the talk . So I grew up in French , the conservative movement of the eighties, the bubble, the Anglosaxon bubble in Jerusalem. Um, and I grew up more or less as a normal kid in the sense that I , I wasn't really excelling in any other, any of the fields, but I was always , um , very pleasing. I was a pleaser. I was a good kid. I had good grades, never got into trouble, never rebelled, and kinda went through life, doing all the right things , doing good grades in high school, being an elite in the army, doing my undergrad. And then I actually replicated my dad's profession . He was a Shelia for the Jewish agency and I became a for the Jewish agency . And on the way I even replicated my mom's profession , who's a social worker . So I became a social worker as well , and I'm doing all this and I'm performing and I'm high . Um , I , to , I, I , I have a kid and then I decide I wanna do a PhD and I wanna bring my two biggest passions , which is improv and therapy together . And I spent six years researching it as I'm performing another, kid's born on the way . And I hit the big 40 , the big 40 and boom, there it is . I get the PhD and then I have another month in me. And then I collapse. I kind of realize what's the point of all this. I kind of lose interest in teaching what I was researching. Um , my energy dropped, my efficiency dropped and something weird was happening to me. And I was like, what's happening right now? Why don't I have this? And the passion and the , and the , and the push cause my, my idea, my dream was to conquer the world now that I finished . And I proved, and my PhD that improv for therapist works. And I was like, why don't I wanna publish this? Why don't I wanna write a book ? Why am I not teaching this in every single university in Israel ? And I start sinking into what I was recognizing as my midlife crisis , um , on the right . I did what most men do . I signed up for a marathon , by the way , the most , the peak of men doing marathons are 39 and 49 . So I was right on the statistic. I run a marathon, actually run through marathons thinking. That's what I needed . And then I realized that wasn't really it either. I was kinda , I was something in me was just kind of turned off. Um, and that took a couple of months until I hunt apple to stumble on the book that Shala was talking about called I don't wanna talk about it overcoming the secret legacy of male depression. Now what's interesting about this book is it was on my bookshelf for years. In fact, for the past 20 years, I have only read , um , psychotherapy, improv communication, and that kind of , I've only read that genre and that book has been on my shelf for years , but something about, I just, I couldn't , I didn't want it . I didn't look at it . Um , and then after that second marathon, I decided , well , you know , I , it really rocked me really hard at the time I was ready , a couple therapists. I was married at two kids, but it was the first time that I read anything about this, that I discussed this with anyone , with anyone. I mean, in my mind, I was discussing with Terry . And in fact this was the only book I've ever finished and started re reading it , right , just immediately. It was so clear to me that what is written in this book, I need to download and get into the muscle. And that book really shifted the way I , I saw myself. It gave me a lot of language to what I was experiencing, and it really, I wouldn't say revolutionized the way I work with men , but it's certainly a whole different light . Cause I work a lot as a couple therapists, 50 of my clients are men and I also do individual therapy. So I also see men and , and family therapy . What I do these I adult children. So in fact , um , kids in their twenties and thirties working with their FA their parents , um, by the way, open parentheses a year ago, we left Jerusalem to move to faba . And as I was transitioning, I started doing family therapy with Joe Romanelli and my mom and <inaudible> , and I've been slowly doing family therapy every other week for a year now. So all of this work has become very personal for me and is spilled over to the way , uh , to my professional work . I wanna say one more thing about , cause I know everyone here is almost therapist. Um , it took me many years to accept the fact that I am a therapist and instead of belittling it or putting it to the side or bracketing it to actually use that and that's improv and therapy , right ? How do and use that ? Um , so I wanna say that my use of the COVID male depression as a man is it will be different than a female therapist working with his ideas. And please write down all your questions and there's gonna be ample time to kinda wrestle with this together . So he writes this book , um , he was actually here about with his wife , Belinda , he wrote three books . This was the first one and the other one was called, how can I get through to you? And the third one was the new rules for marriage. So he's basically his, his school of couple therapies called the relational school , uh , relational life school. He has a whole website. He does tons of online courses , but this book is basically sharing his story. He was a son of a , of an abusive father and he combines that with research. In fact, this was the first book ever written about male depression. And it , I see this as a masterpiece and just like Shema said, I have two copies of it in English , two copies of it , Hebrew, and I keep it out . I never have them in my , in my library, cuz they're always learned to , uh , to men to read actually sometimes to women as well. So how do we raise our boys? Um, and I , you can see a picture here of TA he's. My he's now nine and a half . This is on the left side. When he was , um , about four , you can see he's wearing earrings, he's playful. And then two, or once he started first grade, we just saw shift kind , boy , boy , boy mentality, boy , psychology doesn't wear pink anymore . He doesn anymore dress up doesn't earrings obviously . And , and basically , you know what research shows that both boys and girls are born with the same potential for feelings, but material has this concept of psychological patriarchy. Psychological patriarch is when you separate the male and female elements and you position the male above the female . Okay ? So the masculine assertive aggressiveness power dominant have missed power dominance and feminine of feeling connection. When we really split them and we put them like that. And basically what happens is we're castrating our boys and we're saying, this is good. This is, is devalue. So assertiveness you strong the , you mad stand up straight , stop crying . Or I hear crying is not efficient. I hear this all the time . Why you it's help you while minimizing the emotion . And then another big concept that Terry talks about is loss of the relational. The child needs to give up his relationship with his mom with his sensitive side with his female friends has no play dates anymore with girls . Although when he girl and now that's just and mocking femininity of expression of vulnerability. And over time that actually leads meant to have less of an emotional vocabulary. We all know this, but I think having it in like a timeline. So you can see this progress. And I think as I'm seeing this happen in front of , in front of my eyes , I mean my wife , by the way , she's a PhD can and gender . And she talks about, she works a lot with moms and about breastfeeding shame and we're very gender we're family . And we're trying to hold to keep that a little bit more sensitive and playful. And we , we , he has one , one doll in his bed from all the dolls he used to have . And we talk to her , we try to help a little bit of that relational . When he comes bed , we try to give him that time before we to soften the psychological patriarchy, that being , you know , that he's in from school , from , from his , from culture . So that's raise , where does that lead us to ? Okay . Um , I'm , I'm not seeing you guys have just a , so if you have a up mic , that'd be the easiest way . Cause if not, I I'm not seeing alls . I only , so if there's nos , so Nelson Mandela , a boy may cry a man conceals his pain. So this picture is in Chicago. Um , this is my bar mizvah , we're holding up Thomas' bag and he has this wonderful idea of, of , of active trauma versus passive trauma. Okay . So we talk about trauma. So active trauma is abuse, right? Whether it's abuse , um , rape abuse, violence intrusion, right. And we all know that and people can report that , but we don't really report trauma is neglect , apathy, coldest , and okay. And, and it took , it took me a while in my own therapy as well in my family therapy to realize that part of what I was feeling was passive trauma. My parents trying to survive, trying to just take care of themselves, holding their family together, amongst many , many differences and many challenges that they were experiencing. So there was a sense of, I was kind of alone in this bubble . So if you look at it, a lot of these men, there's no in their biography, there's nothing clear about use, but this idea of passive trauma for a lot of men opens up something to realize they were not seen . They were not celebrated. They're not cared . They weren't touched. OK . The fact that no one celebrated, no one said words . You that's just as trauma as someone hitting you . But for men they're like , well happens to happen . And then , and then there's this initiation, whether it's the bar Mitzva or nothing , where you become a man and there's an expectation that you are not a boy anymore, you just stand up. And then what happens is Al talks about the development of three children in her children. So there's the wounded child, the child that was suffering from the passive trauma, okay . Of not being seen, not being celebrated or the active trauma. So in order to protect that new child, just , we , we develop two , two children inside of us. There's the harsh child , the aggressive one that inflicts pain on other that yells at other yells at his wife or at his kids or just coworkers. Okay . And there's the adaptive child, the adaptive child. And this is really crucial for working with men is that part of themselves that they've developed to protect the wound child . OK . So in my case , my was the pleaser . I was , I was always sweet . I was always sensitive . You know , didn't really cry a lot demand , a lot of attention. I was whatever they wanted . And that these years Danny protected himself, by the way , from NAX , that child brings the kinds , the man in the front and is basically his shield. And for many, many years, this adaptive child actually has facade his business card into the world. And with that adaptive child, protecting the wound child, protecting that trauma, the boy starts running. And the metaphor that Terry talks about is imagine there's a fire, there's a forced fire with my dad's pain. My grandfather's pain, you know, my family's pain and I'm running away from it . I don't , I don't wanna stop , stop it's from that . And where , so when about depression, depression is usually for women. Depression is a feminine phenomenon is underdiagnosed with men and overdiagnosed with women. And what he really talks about, which is really fascinating. There's different symptoms for depression in men and in women . So whether with women will see it more as , and , and anguish and sleeping a lot and all the more ex like externalized symptoms with men , we'll actually see it differently . We'll see it in some of them will express it in over depression , whether it's on Ionia, suicidal tendency, excessive, crying , despair, sleep disorders and whatever . But a lot of them will , will develop . What's called a covert depression. And let's talk about that . Covert male depression . So as an attempt to avoid being overwhelmed with guilt and shame and pain, we narrow ourselves. And here's a concept I use all the time with my clients . It's called four to Sixers . So imagine the emotional range is from one to 10 . One is deep despair and 10 , okay . Our as children, we , we experienced the whole range. We can move from one to 10, within two minutes , look at at your children, that your grandchildren, they have all the emotional range , but over time society or psychological patriarchy or whatever you wanna call it limits us. And a lot of men , especially when we're in this depression , we're four to six years . Okay . Which basically means we don't feel too much to this side . And we don't feel much to that side we're and that you can see through apathy , numbness, ness , lack of play boredom cynicism . Okay . Cynicism , by the way is a form of play, but it's actually being passive aggressive , um , playful, but actually I'm angry. I'm frustrated on bored . Um , by the way, I just wanna say open parentheses . I have a YouTube channel that I run with my wife with over 125 videos, each one of about eight minutes on several of these concepts. So I will be sending a handout summary. But if any of these topics interest, you email me and I will send you the links to the specific videos. Like for instance , there's video about cynicism. The joke's always on you showing the defense mechanism behind cynicism and how can people step outta that close parentheses ? So these four to Sixers this corporate depression. So we numb ourselves on one hand and we run through addiction out work, money , sex porn, drugs , actually the most popular , um , addiction , which we underdiagnosed when is work Thea , the people that have very high efficiency, very high output, very successful, okay . But no one's stopping them because they get more , the more they work, the more they succeed, the more they get applause, right? And then the , and the traditional gender roles, the more money he , his job is to go outside and make money . So he's , he can actually spend his whole life at work . And I'm thinking about my grandfather who basically worked 16 hour days in the restaurant. He came home, he'd fall asleep in front of the TV, wake up, go to work. That was, you know, that was his presence at home. So in that sense, he was always at work . Now , again , it's a different time socioeconomic levels and such, but if you think about that for many , many men , our depression express with just diving into work. And if I'm going back to my story , I was literally just working 27 . I was teaching, I was performing , I was doing therapy . I was researching , I did not stop for a decade . And I think part of what happened to me when I hit the COVID when I actually hit the over depression, which we'll talk about it in a second, it all stopped. I couldn't do it anymore. I didn't wanna do it anymore. But being efficient all these years and having very high, a very high output, it was misleading. Cause people thought, oh my God , he's so successful. He's so happy. Cause he's doing things . But looking back, I realized I was actually running away feeling my own pain or , and feeling my dad's pain , my grandfather's pain . And that was kinda a run. And then the last thing I wanna say, and then I do wanna pause for questions. Cause I think this is important. I want you guys to kinda wrestle with this a little bit . He talks about this and go in two different ways . The grandiosity , uh , to be like full of themselves , just steam , rolling other people , or dissociations just completely numbing themselves down. And I wrote faulty father , um , because I see this all the time. There's a Facebook group called ABA , Pago , faulty father . They have a sticker, it's a bumper sticker and there's a quarter of a million men there. And the common denominator of that group is how they're faulty fathers. Right? Like a joke could be like, I dropped my daughter off at the , at the wrong kindergarten . He he , right . So they're celebrating their numbness and their kind of lack of connection with their own children. And then the way they call their wives and every post is the righteous one . OK . So there's this , this split, there's the righteous woman. Who's right. Parentheses and bitter. And there's the faulty father . Who's happy, but has like the same Hebrew and no brain . No worries. It's almost almost like a status symbol. Like I see this all the time in the clinic, right? The father that doesn't remember anything about anything connected to the home and the mom who , who just wants more intimacy and just wants more connection and why you're not home earlier . And this unfortunately has become almost like a , a stigma, a baseline, a stereotype of what's happening in a lot of , um , heterosexual relationships in, and the fact I ideas what's that's before I kind of move forward .Speaker 4:
I wanted to mention , um , this Tanya speaking , um, as a trauma therapist, a lot of what you're describing is screaming trauma to me and attachment trauma. Um , so I just wanted to , to note that ,Speaker 3:
Thank you . And I think, I think what's , what's interesting about that is that most men will not come cause of this they're coming . Cause their wife is at cause whatever they had an affair or she had an affair very few of will come and say , you know , I'm emptiness inside . I'm away . Can you with that ? Running away my own pain , can you help me with that ? I mean about men come to , but what will happen is we unearth this relatively soon. And then again, I'm gonna give some case studies here . Not all wanna this work , the reason I chose this picture from the army , because I think that's a classic classic , um , socialization tool in where you to suck up . I remember elite unit here and you could never sing. Certainly not cry. You could never sit and rest. You couldn't complain that it was hard for us. OK . That would , that was considered not manly . So they were basically pushing us into being the stoic four to six machines now . Okay . It's the army . So there's also a brainwashing element because we're trying to transition into being a soldier . But if you think about Israeli society, you know, a lot of men go through that machine, come out on the other side. So it's about unlearning things they were taught , um , or drilled into in the army. Any other thoughts or comments before I move forward toSpeaker 5:
I have one Linda , I have one you might have just like answered it in your last comment, but um, do you find this more in like heterosexual relationships or , um, are gay men also in your experience just as affected or differently affected ? How do you have , what's your experience ?Speaker 3:
So thank you for that question , Linda , because I was , I'm working now, I'm working now with a couple, I mean he's Jewish Israeli and he's Arab European, Arab, Christian Arab. And what was really interesting for them, even though the Christian Arab one from Europe did not have the army experience. They're both expressing some sort of boredom, like very similar kind of covert depression , um, vibes. So it it's been my, from my experience. I mean , I don't work a lot with LGBTQ , but I have noticed that these patterns, these , these patterns are kinda universal because whether you're straight or you're gay, you still gone through the psychological patriarch. It gets all of us in a way . And as much as you wannaSpeaker 5:
It's baggage of depression , right .Speaker 3:
Andre also Try overcompensate , extra , extra , deeper into even , even deeper into that . Any , any other questions or comments before I move on ? Okay , let's go. So this is what I've noticed, the core beliefs, core beliefs, as we , I'm just gonna , if I'm saying a concept that is not familiar, please let me know. If not, I'm assuming we all more or less work with core beliefs. Core belief is a , it's such a core belief that I cannot disprove it, or it's a scheme . I mean , so called scheme, right? So the core beliefs, the tricky thing about it is you cannot disprove them and you holds a hammer. The whole world is a , so this core beliefs and , you know , N and in coaching and in CBT and a lot of different modalities, but these are the core beliefs that I've noticed that I , I see that are kind of giving me the hints that I'm working with. Someone who's kinda in this COVID depression state . I call the combination of this EOR . Cause it's either , or I call it EOR like Igor, like, Ooh , like this monster, that kind ofhow down and kinda limits this man's mental state, psychological state , obviously relationships. So it's a combination of the psychological patriarch and COVID depression lead to several of these dichotomous core beliefs. And by the way , um, I have , you can't see this, but I have a whiteboard in my clinic. And oftentimes I will write these core beliefs on the board, as they're saying it just as to show them and their partner, obviously what's kind of , what's the operating system they're working with. So the first one I see all the times , feelings are not useful or they're feminine or they're dangerous, or they're burden. I see this all the time. Feelings are a burden. I don't wanna burden my wife. I don't wanna burden my kids. Why? Because it's this core belief that you're paying equals my responsibility or my fault or my job. So every time somebody shares with them , their pain , they have to do something about it . Several Tanner calls us reports talk. So, so any pain is something I need to do with , and I have to do with so that why over time , I don't wanna share my opinion . Cause I don't wanna burden you . You work so hard with the kids all day . I'm gonna share with you. I had a day work. No, I don't wanna burden you. But that what happens is they don't share it. Cause they don't wanna seem like pathetic or needy or clingy or they don't wanna burden. Cause their job is to suck it up. I had a man here just the other day , Orthodox man sake . I have a tooth for the past half a year. I didn't wanna tell my wife. I don't wanna burden her . So if he's not talking about his tooth for half year , he's certainly not gonna talk about other feelings, feelings . OK . And obviously there's either you're a winner, a loser losers . Don't you know , I mean losers are I don't , I don't winner . And there's also this it's either your pain or my pain. Like I don't wanna, I don't wanna overshadow your pain. If I start your pain that not sensitive to you. And then they they're left with what's called either the , their bunker or the explode and limiting this emotional range leaves us with basically two avenues for men , either aggressiveness and sexuality. Those are the only two places where we , you break out the four to six that's what's left when we are cast after all the psychological castration. So what we're seeing is we're either seeing the apathetic, faulty father , who's basically numbing, anding himself, you know, taking him blinding himself to his wife's contempt and boredom and anger, you know, stores it all in until he explodes. And often time . Another thing you can see over depression will be the man . I call this the mommy son dance . They'll see the single married mom next to the fifth or sixth child. He'll become kind of like a child in the relationship. It needs to needs to remind him constantly nagging all the time. From there, we know the pursuer distance or dance . And oftentimes, and I'll talk to these men and they'll be like, whatever, I don't care. Doesn't touch me . She can say whatever she wants . Da , he , he basically blinds himself. Cause he doesn't wanna see this . Cause if he'll eyes , the things one is his contempt nagging and he which own pain , which he does not want to meet . He doesn't even know he has. And he's scared . Have you been approaching that? Okay . Any questions? Yes. No. OK . I'm gonna keep going . So how do you treat COVID depression ? I think that's the question . And , and uh , you start obviously with connecting to , and one the best quotes I like from him , he said , Terry has the only cure for covert depression, overt depression. You cannot run away from this . You have to stop running , turn the flames and let it consume you . And the three stages that he talks about is sobriety. I'm gonna dive maturity and then trauma . Now, you know, he has his method . Um , I'm therapist , I'm inspired . Give how so sobriety. As I said, the cure for COVID depression is over depression. I'm choosing this picture from when I was a she in London, I used to fly it . You know , its easy jet all over Europe, but I was flying high and I was really, I was just literally working 18 hour days performing at night . Not really having any time alone. I was single. I was lonely. I was probably depressed, but I was way too busy, milking the European experience. So the first thing you need to do is help the man stop running to stop addictive behaviors. Um, for this one, man , he smokes pot every night and he masturbates twice a day . So the first thing we need to talk about is he needs to cut down both of those behaviors . And why is he doing that ? Because he's numbing himself . Cause he doesn't himself cause he doesn't wanna meet wife . So the first to , and that , and the example I always give them , I tell 'em allow yourself to collapse. It's collapse. It's not fun . It's not a joyful experience. That is exactly what happened to me after the PhD , I just dropped. And I think for me , I didn't know how to even understand what was happening for . Cause I was , I was flying high for so many years . I was working so hard in so many jobs and I thought something was wrong with me . Like why don't I have the energy? So the first step for men is to try to help him stop. I going back to Danny , the serial adult and he did not wanna stop . He was not ready for that . I explained these concepts from , I was trying to show him and he , he wouldn't have any of it . And by the way he left and then a couple of months later, he sent me line . I'm still with that other woman , but I'm doing good work . He's not willing to let go of that addiction. He's not willing to stop renting. And I think what I've noticed is, and because I am a man and went through some of this is I can , for my personal experience , sometimes that works. Sometimes it doesn't. But what I've noticed is by speaking to men about a similar experience that happened to me, I feel like it kind of normalizes that, especially if the men are very successful, I think what's harder for the COVID . It's harder to work with Aly depressed, man . Who's highly successful at work because his environment is actually applauding him. And no one in his society in environment is saying, stop slow down. You know, don't don't uh, don't take that extra gig. Don't take that extra job. And I , uh , anecdote always say when I wanted to do a PhD , um, so my wife GA said, I love it, but I don't wanna drop the quality of her life. Her message was basically Sababa do it, but I wanna keep the same income . Now she didn't say it from a mean place , but that is psychological patriarch . Right? You can do whatever you want on the side to keep providing, keep being that steady provider. Okay . And that message that double bind that a lot of men are experiencing. That's part of our challenge. The second phase is relational maturity. And this picture actually , um , our daughter Lida took, I was fighting with Gil , had a big fight. And that was our way of trying to , um , connect . We didn't even know that she that picture , but that's that's as real as I can get to a moment of relational maturity, basically what it is is to teach them the skills, teach men the skills of how to be in relationships, how to be relational. So it's obviously a muscle that they need to practice , help them step down from grandiose or come up from shame , feel comfortable through verbalizing feelings instead of acting them out. This is really important. Cause oftentimes men don't even know what they're feeling. So I had a period where I had that smiley chart and I'd say to him , what are you feeling right now? But what I do these days more often, I would just do a double , I will say , are you feeling angry or are you feeling sad right now ? Like you're actually feeling frustrated. And by helping them say the thing and probably say, say the thing say what's happening right now saying the feelings. But the first thing we need to soften is that core belief, that feelings are a burden . So we have to soften them from thinking that if they say another they're upset , their wife's gonna be working overtime to please them . In fact , we're helping the couple cut. That course share their feelings, but the second phase is to help them share what they're actually. And I think that is a lesson IM learning because I didn't , it wasn't really model to , and I'm trying consciously kids , what is happening with whether it's good or bad. I wanna give two quick examples. So we move to FBA . We actually just move to this and it's it's that mean we're in a construction zone it's not done yet. And the last two weeks ago it was a brutal week and I had nothing else to give . I was exhausted and angry and frustrated. I just remember coming to tuck at bedtime. I say , I have nothing to give right now. I'm exhausted . I'm feeling helpless. And just sharing those feelings , just acting them out , which obviously I was cranky and I was yelling and you know , but to help to share that. But the other thing I needed to learn, how to share is to share the good moments when I'm having a happy moment having a seven or an eight outta 10 moments . So also say that to the kids. And as we were making chocolate balls last Friday, as my parents were about to come visit, there was just a happy moment. And I said to go , I'm happy. So she said, say it express it, verbalize it. So I said to Lila , we McDonald like Lila , I'm happy right now. And so had this moment of joy tears. And I said to Lila , I'm happy . These are tears of joy . And I know this sounds maybe very I exercise , but for me , this is huge for men speaking , their fluent is huge. And once they learn how to speak and they , they act out less and they verbalize more, we help them self-regulate through communication. So instead of either shutting down or walking out to stay close , to stay in relationship to say it and to say something and then just stay open. Cause some men will say something and then they'll do a little jab joke . They'll screen their little vulnerable moment . So what I try to help men do and women to stay in that state that crucible as David talks about is to let them say it and then stay open and the ability to stay the crucible. I'll say a couple words about that. So David sch , who is a co who just pass couple months ago, he was a sex therapist and a couple therapist. And he developed this differentiation based paradigm. And the essence of a , the metaphors, the crucible, a relationship or marriage is a crucible is a hot place that you melted reborn into. And I I'm happy to do webinar about differentiation is a fascinating , um , theory and, and a framework for therapy. But we'll talk about them different talk , but the idea for men to stay crucible, to not dumb themselves down , not to go deals above , to stay in eye level with their partner, with their children , with their siblings, with their parents, with me, a lot of times what I will have to do, I will have to one down myself and say to him , you're smarter than me. You got this. I got , I know you I'll have one down myself . So they will allow me to battle . Who's become a battle of who's stronger. And the way I do that is I go, I do one down and I add a lot of play. Play is the lubricant of life . Play is the lubricant of therapy. Um , that's connected to the , and I'm in a different , but when I do play softening myself and softening of myself and stop my perception of reality . And the way I get to kinda get in touch with themselves is I add a lot . I a play into the clinic . I play myself . I model that I don't take myself too seriously. I'm not afraid to say what's happening right now. Whether it's I'm off , I'm embarrassed. I dunno what to say. So I'm modeling to them, but I'm actually speaking my feelings right now. And what I've noticed is is the more I'm able to do that . The more they feel they feel less threatened. So they don't have to one up me or shut me down . They're allowing me to interact with him a little bit more . And the other thing I need to do in order to stay the crucible is I need to give them more credit than theirs . Give them . Cause a lot of times I call this the intimacy queen and the emotionally handicap partner . So the intimacy Queen's it's , it's the , and she's like , oh , he , he doesn't know anything. He doesn't feel anything . He's a rock underneath. He has no idea what I'm feeling . And it's clear to me that he does. So from the onset, I do not treat him as emotionally handicapped. I will constantly be asking him, be conferring with him , consulting with him . And what I've noticed is as I give him more credit, he will step into that role. He will slowly step outta the emotionally handicapped role into a man that has more feelings. Who's aware of things. And by the way, the wife doesn't always like that process . In fact, some women will stop therapy . The second man actually wakes up and steps outta the because then the bar is raised and , and it requires her to be more and that connects to owning your own . Your is the concept. That is one of the pillars of my approach, which is basically owning your shadow parts . So the concept of the union shadow all those traits. In part , I don't like myself that I either repress or I deny or I project onto others. So it can be anything for my aggressi my aggressiveness, my horniness, my , my jealousy , but it vulnerability my neediness . So a lot of this is helping try . So I try to work with every partner and help them block their exits their there by my , and them bring that . And then about the fact that they're four to six , there's joke about their , the blinding themselves, right ? Cause it's not like this it's then slowly and crucible wound and harsh child . Um , so Terry real , I mean different modalities, place it be psycho . It could bet it can be NLP . It can be any, you know , psychoanalytic work , psychotherapy work , but basically he does a lot of the , so actually externalizing it and then communicating with it because , um , ceremonies where you write a letter of thank you to the adoptive child. It's been my experience since I come work for the world of improv in psychodrama. So I do a lot of empty share work, but I'll show an example where we did some writing as well, but it's basically kind of zooming out and seeing the intergenerational link. Um , and for a lot of men talking about their fathers is not . What I have noticed though , is ever since I have done , I've been doing family favor with my parents. I have been more successful in convincing my clients to bring in their parents, right? Because as you know, we are the weakest link of our therapy. So I've noticed that by sharing my, what I'm doing in my process , I've actually managed to men and women . But we're talking about men to kind go back to their , talk to their fathers that been very privileged to do , um , father , son sessions , um , online and in person, even though they weren't very long, but they were always very powerful, especially as the son is reflecting on his role as the father and is being passed down or not passed Down's children. And there's this release for emotional and psychological intergenerational scripts . That's another concept , which there's a video , which is basically the scripts we inherit from our parents that passed generation out . So both of the opposite. So in both of those cases, I'm basically enacting a drama that's older than me. So what I'm actually trying to say is part of seeing that, owning it, and then we can move away from either correcting it, which would mean doing the opposite , but which leads to the same results or replica it to go to an improvised script , to go do something different. But in order for people to do something different , first thing to realize there is a script. And then to realize that their adaptive child isn't protecting from this and to external the ING , the , and we can talk about that in , in different aspects and strengthening the internal functioning adult to not react less and less as a boy or as the harsh child , the aggressive or the cynical or the emotionally handicapped and find more rich , more connected, more present functioning . Well , I about , because a lot of what I like to do the privilege of doing couples therapy when you're okay , I'll just say this in differentiation based couples therapy, the analysis is systemic, but the intervention is individual. So in fact, I will do individual work with demand in the presence of his wife . Okay . So we're also getting this feedback, but she's also witness to his process . So some of the trauma releases actually relational work is what is relational maturity? What is intimacy? It's letting someone see into myself . So by him doing this work next to her, he's also experiencing how it's to be vulnerable, how its , to show different sides of himself to her, perhaps for the first time , just the other day , by the way I was with couple , the wife didn't even know what the , the husband was , was doing. She didn't even know what his job was. That's how that's how like disconnected in APO not I have a toothache for half the year. That's how far they were. But of course she's not gonna be interested cause when you're four to six or you're not interested . So of course like fascinated, interesting and curious about him. He's not, no, one's curious about, in fact, a lot of times these COVID depress men are just not relevant in the , in the family . I remember one telling me , I asked for milk, no one ever buys the milk . I like why ? Cause you're not relevant . Why ? Cause you're four to six or why like , so they actually they're feeling the , the taxes for this, but oftentimes they're so used to it. You know , anything else they can't even imagine different reality. Yes. Somebody raised their hand. And I want to address that.Speaker 6:
Yes, it's hilarious . Thank you. Um , I , the work cut two things. I wanna wanna comment. Second question. I , um, it's interesting. I , I specialize one of the things that specialize in trauma and it's interesting. I , I find this , I , I guess you're kind of alluded to the fact that it's not so, you know, it's not so linear, but I find working with the trauma really impacts emotional maturity impacts some of the things to talk about just emotion maturity . So I feel like, I suppose I sometimes find that I working with those elements and working with the trauma becomes kinda a , you know, that impacts stage two rather than, you know yes .Speaker 3:
I , I , I say that's a great point. It also, it's really interesting because what is your client coming in with ? Does , you know, does the client say I wanna work on my trauma? That'sSpeaker 6:
Great . No , but I think you're right. But I , think's also my job , my responsibility to kinda , to do some psychoed around that and explain how some of this work and what trauma does to relationships and to individual function and , and psychological , you all this other stuff that you're talking about . Um, so that's thank you . Um , so the second , uh , que a question I have is this really interesting when you're talking about, when you're talking about doing individual work in a presence of the wife , as opposed to doing co is this D I mean, it sounds like you are positioning it differently to couple work . And if you do, can you explain the difference and why you would choose that overdoing? Do you know what I mean?Speaker 3:
So this, this taps into the differentiation based paradigm , the crucible approach developed by David . Um , but I'll say my take on this . Okay . Right . The differentiation based couple therapy is different than attachment based couple therapy in the sense that it is actually focusing much more on the functioning adult and less on the child . And they're basically ideas that relationships are crucible and therapy is , are crucible. And my job is to block exits and raise the temperature. And instead of , um , encouraging the wife to validate her, husband's like, like an Imago interchange, right? I want him to self confront himself and validate himself in her presence. So it's about helping you grow next to your partner and you keep working with him until she feels uncomfortable. And then I go over her and I, I say, it's a two for one , you get to work on yourself. And at the same time, you get to find out whether your wife or your partner can grow with you because here's another truism . That's a kind of a , uh , a real , a preposition I have. And here I'm quoting a , the wonderful legendary therapist who says we'll all marry more than once be . I help couples remarry. I help couples remarry. And I do that . I come work with that's the way to out , whether you have another marriage with this woman, can you show these vulnerable sides ? And can she grow with you? Cause what happens is when I see him alone, when I see her alone , um, then oftentimes we'll this amazing intimate inter interaction. And we'll together , laugh together . I call this the clinical affair , right ? So we'll have this clinical affair, but it won't necessarily help her with her . COVID depressed husband. Cause it's just gonna accentuate the differences between me and her husband or me and his wife. And then there's a much bigger chance of a coalition . And then we're kind of demonizing the partner . And as much as I can talk amazing about you have a great husband. He's amazing. Oftentimes in her mind she'll be like , well , he doesn't with me. He doesn't cry with me. He doesn't, you know, I've never told him what I told you. Cause he would never understand that I'm like really let's find that out . So oftentimes I try as much as I can to convince people to come with their partner . But it's , it's actually really challenging. Cause a lot of people don't wanna do this partner work makes it their partner .Speaker 6:
Right . Well , that's interesting. I mean, I would say some of the goals in terms of what I work with when I work with couples, I would agree similar to what you're saying. Um , I suppose I frame it much more as a couple therapy or , and sometimes I work with people individually to bring them together into the couple , but I guess it's more of a traditional kinda relational approach. Um , and you know, with all kinds of things going on there , not only validation of course , but yeah . OK . That's very interesting . Thank you very much . I it's a different kinda around it .Speaker 3:
I wanna say , um , this is important . It took me many years to find what works for me . Um , being a male in a , in a psychotherapy profession, I've been an extroverted man who takes up a lot of space. Who's blunt . Who's not very introverted. Who, who just speaks blurts thing out. It took me many , many years to try to be someone I'm not which child and talked about , about me being vulnerable. And I think finding this specific approach was what fit me fit the way I work, fit the way I am fit the way I want to be. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so I'm , I'm not saying everyone should work like this , say , this is what for me sure . With my yeah , yeah , yeah .Speaker 6:
You clarifying .Speaker 3:
Sure . Anybody ask something before . So we have sobriety maturity release . Let's keep going. Relational heroism, which is another concept. Um, material talks about. So it's the man who's willing to step into the crucible. Be face to face human dichotomy between a masculine, feminine , what every cell , your body wants to go the old and you just persevere through it. And I wanna give an example on myself. Um , whens used to say things about me that were critical. I used to either lash out, shut down , block it. And I have learned blood , sweat, and tears . She'll actually give heads up . I'm something that's . And I literally sit down , put my hands either on the or on the chair and I , and feel this re show you guys can anybody guess what? This is. See this ? Anybody wanna guess what? This is? Okay . You guys are very interactive. ThisSpeaker 4:
Is wasabi . Is thatSpeaker 3:
Wasabi , please ? Exactly . Why do I have facade piece in my clinic? Because I want them to feel it burn . So when the wife says something harsh , they can just eat it and let it burn through their chest. They can feel it. I'm like, yeah, that's how it feels. You call that letting improv , letting land inside . Ah , and the relational hero is the man that be a than wanna that've inherited or neglects or six . And these are , these are narciss bees . I think , uh , I chose this picture of me with the kids and my brother-in-law's wedding. Cause there was just a moment there , a rare moment for me of just peace and happiness. And I just felt good . I just felt like I'm with my kids and just working all the time . And I think that is for me a struggle. It's not a thing you achieve. It's a thing I aim . And part of keeping myself accountable is doing talks like this and sharing my own shadow with my own now trying to stay hero. So I can model to both my son and my daughter , a different type of masculinity. Again , I use the whiteboard every single session . So complete the following feelings are, I'll just ask about feelings are. And if we had more time, I would just ask you to write well you're all therapist. So I mean , but lay people when you ask them feelings are a lot of times men , if you , if you , if you're they'll give you the it's a burden or your pain is, or my wife's pain , when she speaks out , what happens to you? What are you thinking? Yeah, I need to fix it. OK . Or crying is, and you'll notice completing the statements is basically a prompt to flesh out the core belief. And then I write on the board and then it's there . And then what I've noticed, and I also share , this is also , there's a video also of core beliefs by the way. Um , you'll marry somebody with similar or complementary core beliefs. So if you have a core belief, let's say the core belief I see all the time, your pain is my responsibility. Cause that's the symbiotic fantasy. That's what we read in books and see in Hollywood movies. Right? If I have that core belief, I will marry someone who has a similar core belief or is a , I only a with somebody who sees in a Compli or way . So I'm actually talking to both of them . And once we see that we can start talking about that. We can start being playful about that. Where did you learn? That? Is that true? Are what's the taxi pay for that? We're solely externalizing that core belief and what I've noticed. Another thing we do in couple therapy, we , I , I try to always balance the field . The first day need to balance is that she's not intimacy . He's not emotionally handicap. Cause if second we balance that out. We can start working. Cause as long as she thinks that she's superior to him or he superior to her, it's gonna be very hard to move. And it gets worse when you're working with , uh , female therapist and her partner, which I'm getting more and more recent recently. And it's, it's , it's tough because in her mind she knows , she knows him better than knows himself . And he's that'll himself . That's actually video . Why you should own your show . Um , when did you stop crying as a boy? Where did you learn that you need to be strong? That vulnerability is dangerous. When did you cry lately ? Do you cry? Who do you share your , your pain with ? Who do you talk to ? This is a fascinating question . Cause most men answer will be no one . And if they do share, they'll either share with their wife. But then what happens is what happens when my wife is upset, me and she's bitter or has full of contempt. I have no one to talk to cause with my friends, I'm not gonna talk to about the problems of my marriage . I don't . So they're all this , they just , all this talk and then they have to act it out . So even just sharing , even saying , no one next to your wife already impacts the system. And then she's like, oh wow. He has paid . Cause the biggest tax, the four to six years paid is that their pain is not considered serious. Oh , it's hard for you to work. Uh , kinda your own car . It's hard tears . You know, they're being mocked. Cause their pain is like, you feel no pain . You're at four six . You don't care about anything . You know , look your , you don't even know , listen , they're , they're so internalized that . So they're victim me and it goes about , it becomes about her pain . They call that the victim competition. That's another video you can check out . How do you run from your , so how do you , how do you numb yourself? How do you numb yourself? I will actually say , how do you run away from this ? So your wife's you to you're , she's not about you . How do you yourself that , how do you run away from that ? Ill actually ask them . And actually theyll I don't care . Well , I'm on my phone , my friends, porn , whatever . Do you wanna , you you're in that and then I , why should I? And then I have to show them what they're losing their secondary losses actually . Well , I can help you meet yourself. Do you wanna feel more? Do you wanna step outta the four , six ? I've noticed the four , six is such a simple metaphor. It really works for a lot of people . Um , it's not in the handout , but now that I think about it , I will try to find a way to send you some of these , these videos I call it . What's your emotional range ? Four to six is survival mindset , mean survival mode, three to seven , two to nine . That's really living . So are you surviving or are you living, do you wanna live and are you willing to risk more? Cause when you drop efficiency, when you step into the over depression , youll not get applause , cause you are disrupting the home status of the system. So are you willing to take that chance ? Working less , making less money? I dunno , being mocked , willing to risk that. And by the way, I wanna say that , um , sometimes men go through a change and doesn't it . And leaves , she'll say this is not the man I married . So she was complaining about him being four , six , but now he's more sensitive. I'll give a , just one example. Remember from years ago, classic four to six or also on the spectrum. I think erectile dysfunction as well. We cleaned up everything . We , he finally reaches the stage where he's like , I wanna go to the doctor and I wanna get Viagra to get our sex life back . And then she says, no need we'll stop therapy here. She didn't wanna take the next level and reer this . So as just an example that sometimes these men actually wanted shift , but their systems are not of that because I'm reminding you , I married you as a four to six or , and you still be changing on me and I don't wanna change myself cause we're all creatures of habit . And I think that it's clear to me that if I did not choose to be a therapist, I wouldn't be a four to six. That's my default. I was not a one to 10 . I mean, I'm not a one to tener. Like it is effort for me to step outta the four to six . It's clear to me that I chose therapy. Cause I wanted somehow unconsciously enlarge my, but if I look at my dad and my grandfather and look at that line , it's clear to me , you know , I was I'm , I'm a third generation six . OK . So oftentimes, so when somebody will say that to me , but say , well , are you alive now ? Would rather be up in a or just be dead stoic, no beat. You know? But at the end of the day, you know, I can't want this more than my clients . And I say that to them . I say , work harder than you . This that's why I stopped doing sessions . That's a different , all right , one more slide, other interventions. And this is a great quote by Terry . The boys don't need their father's balls . They need their hearts . And I remind myself those moments that I , my son is not , I that for some this weakness , but then I'm like , I don't want son of it . I wanted to know my heart. That's on good days on bad days, irate myself for not having enough authority, but that's a different talk . So here's other interventions , um, feel free, try to widen your emotional range , both of the positive, negative, whether it's chocolate balls making with your daughter or whether it's, when you're exhausted sharing that express your feelings, right ? Move, sing , talk, sing. I , I suddenly realized I've twice. And I realized my dad who formed the first barbershop qute and perhaps now I'm broadcasting live . And this is a stream of consciousness. I realized that when my dad sins, his range doubles. So if at home he's more of an introvert, four , six , or on stage , you'll see him cry and laugh and be a high . And I think perhaps that's where I wrote sing twice. And that's what , when my friends would come over, they were always surprised. Cause at home is such so much like it's to me , like always says to me , my wife , I wish I was of cause I laughing and , and there's than try to celebrate rituals , milestones and rituals. Bring back some into your life . I'm happy to a workshop just about play . Cause it's so bringing back playfulness , that's the flirt. Do a happy dance . I dunno . Um , join a mens circle , join group , join therapy yourself . I think a lot of this, the power that I, what I've learned to harness my being a man myself, is I just tell them these stories, but myself and about other men, like , ah , it's not just me. Cause we are losing the , the tribe. I mean , iron John Robert ply talks about we've lost the , the initiation of older men. Older men are not initiating younger men. So there's no wisdom being passed down. There's no collective wisdom of men and it's really finding this new wave of , of , of men. So find those people touch and talk to your partner touch for so many men , nobody touches them and they don't touch anyone unless you're having sex. And they're just, just touching them . And oftentimes when I'll do a double with a man , I will put my hand on his shoulders and ill hold him and I'll grab his shoulders . I'll just touch him a little bit . Just shake him up a bit . And so , and I will obviously ask permission , right ? And I'll just notice through my hand , like, ah , no, one's touching these men . No one's touching them . Touch your partner. Talk to them . Date night, workshops, couples therapy, hug, and prioritize your kids. Tell them about your childhood. Tell them about your fear . Tell about your difficulties. Tell how you persevered or not . I think this is super important. So many men are like, why should I tell my kids abouts ? Why you wanna normalize that's abouts . So six so wider . So , so own it . He knows that's okay . And also , but your , your , your fears and also your good moments share that as well . I'm so I'm so right now making theses , I so that I'm so if your father or parents are alive , vulnerably curious curiously with them , I always try to convince my clients, if not to do a session with me , with their parents, go talk to your parents, go do open up some of that stuff. Cause once they die, it's locked in and , and these intergenerational scripts are much harder to , and I remind them going , do work with your parents . It' not in order to change them. It's in order to change yourself, by going back to the factory where you were made, confronting certain core beliefs, asking them about that. And I could just , um , attest for my personal experience, working with my parents for over a year . Now, it hasn't revolutionized and changed who I was with so many patterns I've noticed. I've learned so much about myself. It's really impacted my , my , my parenting. And , and it's really changed my relationship with them , allowing a much wider range of both of them with me , with both of them and with them , with me and maybe them with themselves and obviously read , I don't wanna talk about it by thence Rio and his other books . Cause I think it's great. And I'm gonna pause here and ask for questions. So ISpeaker 1:
Hope enjoyed this as much as I did. I will leave links in the description where you can purchase the book. I highly recommend reading that book and I wish all of us to feel free, to feel the whole emotional range and to step out of our cover depression into life. My name is Dr . SAE , and this is a potential state. I'll see you next time.Speaker 2:
You've been listening to the potential state podcast for more information, visit firstname.lastname@example.org And thank you for listening.