Year: 2023 Source: Australian Psychologist (2018), 53(5), 405-415. DOI: 10.1111/ap.12331 SIEC No: 20230211
Objective While the prevalence of major depressive disorder continues to rise, many men are reticent to seek and sustain psychotherapy. The current study explored Australian men's experiences with treatment for depression with a view to guiding recommendations for improving treatment engagement. Method Twenty men (23–64 years) who had received psychotherapy for depressive symptoms in the past 3 years took part in individual, semi-structured interviews. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and coded in line with interpretive descriptive methodologies. Results Findings suggested men's preference for a transparent orientation to treatment, including the provision of a clear structure for therapy. Men's preferred structure included focusing on individualised goals and expected progress, establishment of trust, and a sharing of decisional control. Providing an action-oriented functional treatment with targeted skills attainment was recommended as most engaging. The focus on “doing” in treatment, as distinct from pure talk therapy, engendered feelings of strength and empowerment in the men, bridging self-management of symptoms and wellness. Most participants, however, did not receive a treatment style that properly engaged them, and articulated clear recommendations for changes needed. Conclusions Findings highlight the potential for development and dissemination of gender sensitive, strength-based clinical training and treatment options for better engaging men in psychotherapy for depression.