Ronald Levant on Psychotherapy with Menby
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"I was the father without a clue."
|Randall C. Wyatt:||Your work has focused on gender, the psychology of men, the problems with traditional masculine socialization, psychotherapy with men, and fatherhood, in addition to your work as APA (American Psychological Association), President and the evidence-based practice of psychology. Let's start with the psychology of men and your upbringing. What was your upbringing like?|
|Ronald Levant:||I was raised in a really tough neighborhood, and where I grew up, if a boy starts to show vulnerability, he's also so violated the male code as to warrant severe punishment.|
|RW:||Typically, if a boy shows he cannot withstand or deal with the teasing it does not bode well for him as a kid.|
|RL:||Yes, I witnessed scenes as a child where boys were beat up by other boys for crying.|
|RW:||You grew up in Los Angeles? Whereabouts in LA?|
|RL:||Southgate. South Central Los Angeles. No, I wasn't a member of the Crips and Bloods.|
|RW:||But it was a tough neighborhood?|
|RL:||Yes. At that time, South Gate was all white and it bordered Watts, which was all black. Southgate was pretty much a blue collar town. There were two major factories in the town then, Firestone and General Motors, and most of the fathers of my friends worked on the line. So it was a working class, tough neighborhood.|
|RW:||Did these early experiences spark your interest in men's psychology and psychotherapy with men?|
|RL:||Actually, it was being a divorced, semi-custodial father. My wife and I lived in California. Then she moved to New York, and I moved to Boston, and we worked out an arrangement where I had my daughter for the summers. And I would travel several times a month to visit her in New York.
But the visits when she lived with me did not go well and I felt like I was the father without a clue. I didn't really have a good idea of what a father was supposed to be, because when I thought about my own dad, his idea of having quality time with me and my brother was to have us do some work and he'd supervise.
As a psychologist, young assistant professor at Boston University, responsible for teaching the courses in family psychology and having a research program on parent training,
I felt like I was a fraud, because here I am an expert in parenting and family stuff, and yet, I'm so ineffective with my own daughter.I felt like I was a fraud, because here I am an expert in parenting and family stuff, and yet, I'm so ineffective with my own daughter.
And like most men, I didn't talk about it with anybody. Again, I was a fairly traditional masculine guy and I didn't talk about it. Just sucked it up and tried to keep doing it, until I saw the movie Kramer vs. Kramer (1979).
Copyright © 2007 Psychotherapy.net. All rights reserved. Published September 2007.
Ronald F. Levant, EdD, ABPP is the Dean and Professor of Psychology at Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences, University of Akron. During Dr. Levant's term as President of the APA in 2005, he championed the vision of "Making Psychology a Household Word" and appointed the Presidential task force on evidence-based psychology. Formerly, he was Dean and Professor of the Center for Psychological Studies, Nova Southeastern University, and prior to that on the faculty at Boston, Rutgers, and Harvard Universities, and a clinician in independent practice and a clinical supervisor in hospital settings. Dr. Levant's received his BA in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, his EdD in Clinical Psychology and Public Practice from Harvard University, and his MBA in General Management from Boston University.
Publications: Dr. Levant has authored, co-authored, edited or co-edited over 300 publications including 14 books in family and gender psychology and in advancing professional psychology. He has developed theory and conducted research programs on fathering and masculinity ideology from multicultural perspectives. He was also the co-founder and first President of APA Division 51 (the Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity). His books include Between Father and Child, Masculinity, Reconstructed, A New Psychology of Men, Men and Sex: New Psychological Perspectives and New Psychotherapies for Men.
Interviews: Dr. Levant has been interviewed and profiled for hundreds of articles on the psychology of gender issues and family life including: Fortune, Newsweek, Time, U.S. News and World Report, People Magazine, Men's Health, Boston Globe, New York Times, New York Daily News, Christian Science Monitor, U.S.A. Today, Wall Street Journal, and numerous others. He has also appeared on a number of national television and radio shows, including "20/20," "The Oprah Winfrey Show," and "CBS News Nightline."
Visit Dr. Levant's website at www.drronaldlevant.com to learn more about him, the psychology of men, and his work.Randall C. Wyatt, PhD is a practicing psychologist in Oakland and Dublin, California. He specializes in working with post-traumatic stress, cross-cultural therapeutic relationships and couples therapy and has extensive teaching experience.
• Consider new approaches working with traditional men in psychotherapy.
• Explore new perspectives on the role of Evidence-Based outcomes research in clinical psychotherapy practice.
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