Dr John Barry: Long-form Interview

Dr John A. Barry is a Chartered Psychologist and Professional Researcher. He is a leading expert in the areas of male psychology including men’s mental health. He is also co-editor of the Palgrave Handbook of Male Psychology and Mental Health (2019), and co-author (with Louise Liddon) of the new book Perspectives in Male Psychology, Wiley, 2021.

Our conversation took place via Zoom on 9th March 2022.

JR: Just to give you a little bit of context, John, I’m a drug and alcohol worker at a prison in Oxfordshire. I work for an NHS Trust. To a certain extent, the custodial environment is the graveyard of male hopes and dreams and the ground zero of fatherless, rudderless men, lacking meaning, purpose and moral clarity. I am also part of a work force certainly from the healthcare and psychology point of view, that is overwhelmingly female. I am currently studying to become a counsellor and am one of only two men in a class of twenty. I wanted to have this conversation with you because I have found myself sitting in multidisciplinary team meetings listening to how the men we’re working with, the prisoners, are discussed and I experience a deep sense of something being wrong. Or if not wrong, then certainly not as good as it could be. And I know that you’ve spoken and written about how men and women can respond differently to certain treatments and therapy types. And what I observe on a daily basis in the jail is grown men being subjected to well-intentioned but misguided infantilization, often being spoken about – and to – as if they’re teenage girls, as opposed to grown men. And often how we speak about the man and how we help them, does not seem to be centred upon helping them to lead meaningful and purposeful lives. I begin by saying this to set up the conversation, to get to your experience of studying men, studying male psychology and just for us to really have a chat about these issues that I see every day in the jail, in terms of trying to help men in a system that doesn’t really seem to understand what makes men tick – and doesn’t really seem interested in learning what might make them tick. I imagine we’ll probably go off on a few tangents, but that’s just to give you some context about why I’ve been really looking forward to speaking with you, John.

JB: Well, boy, is my brain going off on various tangents at the moment because what you say is very powerful. You’ve got these men who might be what some people would say are hyper masculine men who are receiving treatment from an emotional point of view like they’re teenage girls. What a mismatch. And so, it’s really important that there are people like you out there who can witness this and recognize what’s happening. And maybe be part of something that might improve that situation too, because as you say, in general, about 80% of clinical psychologists are female, and that’s not a problem in itself, except that, maybe it is. Because everyone brings their own experiences to whatever therapy that they’re doing and you bring your own understandings and just maybe men are better able to understand another man’s experience in a therapy situation. It sounds like it’s a no brainer. And so maybe we need more male therapists, certainly to the degree that it is true, that men respond to a more male-centric type of therapy. Female therapists need to know that and need to be able to try and utilize that because, of course, there’s loads of brilliant female therapists out there. And, in a way, you might ask: ‘Why are we handicapping female therapists by not giving them the full advantage of understanding how to communicate more effectively with men, especially prisoners?’ And this isn’t a population that I have had experience with, by the way. I do clinical hypnosis as well as doing research. And I tend to get people who are subclinical. I treat people for anxiety related to work or relationship problems. But I don’t really get psychotic people, suicidal people – or those that are very dysfunctional. I still see loads of male psychology stuff playing out in my clients all the time. But I don’t have the experience that you will have. It has to be one of the hardest, most challenging things to a psychologist or to anybody – to try and bring the same amount of empathy to a therapeutic situation with somebody who might be scary, who might have a history of doing some really horrible things. That’s a massive challenge. I’ve never had that. I’ve never had to do that myself. I’d like to be interviewing you, in a way, because you must have some really interesting experiences to share.

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JR: I’m very fortunate because the conversations I have with the man have depth, weight and meaning. I get to keep everything within a very tight framework of substance misuse, but with the safety net of always being able to return to that tight framework, we can go off on an awful lot of tangents and speak about a lot of stuff. For example, in my 15 years of closely observing addicts and alcoholics, the single biggest cause of relapse is a subcategory of resentment known as self-pity. Which in itself is a fascinating conversation to have with the men. That’s quite a challenging conversation to have with somebody with a proclivity towards violence, to help them to see that they have a deeply ingrained victim mentality and (if they want to remain clean and sober) that they need to snap out of feeling sorry for themselves pretty damn quickly. My background is 12 Step, a philosophy and environment in which people practice an unsparing form of self-examination and self-honesty. So, what frustrates me as a drug and alcohol practitioner is that I think many men would like to practice an unsparing form of self-inquiry and self-examination – but it seems like often the talking therapies sometimes seem to almost sign off on their behaviour, in a way.

JB: In this month’s male psychology magazine, which is something that we started up as part of the Centre for Male Psychology a few months ago, we’ve had a Canadian ex-police officer who’s become a psychologist. She’s worked with a lot of child sex abuse cases. And she said that for a lot of men who were abused as children sexually or in their early teens, they self-medicate by using drugs or alcohol. That’s her understanding of it. She doesn’t talk about the therapy that she does in this magazine article, but as I understand it, it informs her approach quite a bit, that these are people who often have issues around trust and relationships and things like that, which would probably be more of the feeling-based thing that you’re talking about.

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JR: One thing, which I’m sure you’ll be interested in is what the prison service offers, or fails to offer, these men in terms of rehabilitation. COVID has meant that the men were often locked up in their cells for up to 20 hours a day – which has not been a good thing, needless to say. I met this incredible prison officer called Andy Small – who runs a Stoic Mastery Course at HMP Huntercombe. He showed me some of the material. It’s based on the timeless principles of stoicism – but also uses material from contemporary mentor/authors such as Jocko Willink, Ryan Holiday, Jordan Peterson, Steve Peters etc. I sat in on a few of the sessions that he ran with the prisoners. And it was the most effective rehabilitation program that I’ve ever seen. Very high level of engagement. Andy’s a gym officer, so he has a lot of credibility because a lot of the lads are really into their health and fitness. He also has a completely kind of no bullshit attitude, and essentially points out to the guys that they need to learn to accept things that they can’t change. I’ve seen a couple of your interviews in which you’ve spoken about Stoicism and so I was just wondering if you could speak a little bit about the values of stoicism and that kind of philosophy being beneficial to men?

JB: Absolutely. So, a lot of times you hear that men are too stoical and that’s why they don’t seek help. And that’s why they don’t process their emotions because they’re too stoical. And in a way, it’s a misuse of the word stoical, because stoicism is about processing your feelings through your thoughts. And it’s a sophisticated approach. It’s not about just suppressing how you feel or ignoring your feelings. And, of course, it’s quite likely that the men have evolved some sort of way of processing their feelings. Because a lot of the evolved roles that we have such as being the protectors of society and often having to do the most dangerous and difficult jobs. A lot of the traditional male roles that have evolved over the eons will involve men having to deal with situations where you can’t show your feelings. For example, if you’re hunting, you can’t say, ‘Oh, look, there’s a lovely rabbit! I can shoot that and eat it for dinner!’ And then jump around all happy. You’ve got to stay quiet and calm and you might be with other men who also all need to stay quiet. If you’re in the trenches, you can’t say: ‘I’m really terrified I might get killed at any minute now. How do you feel?’ Everyone’s going to get scared, so everyone has to keep their feelings under control. So, stoicism is probably some reflection of that necessity. It’s an adaptive type of thing. So, I’m not too surprised to learn that it really works well for men in prison because it does seem to be something that plays to a more male typical way of processing things. Women on the other hand tend to, by and large, because it’s not that all men are like this and women are like that. But as a way of dealing with their problems, women talk about how they feel about them. Whereas men don’t want to necessarily do that.

Men can benefit from talking about their feelings, but they will tend to want a more solution focused, practical step-by-step approach.

JR: Yes. I think that’s what I was trying to say at the beginning of the conversation, but a lot of the talking therapy on offer does not seem to be solution focused. Whereas the Stoic Mastery Course is very solution focused and very practical indeed. I know that you’ve written that perhaps men would be more inclined to seek help if the therapies catered to their preferences. You’ve touched on one of those, in terms of a solution focused approach. Are there any other therapeutic preferences that you think that men benefit from or are more interested in?

JB: I started to realize at one point in the process of learning about man’s mental health and how best to approach it – that actually a lot of the ways that men want to deal with their mental health is through things like going to the gym, doing exercise or sports, and that can actually help them deal with their mental health rather than talking about things or ranting. It’s pumping iron, going for a run, even just going out into the woods, that kind of thing. And it made me realize that a lot of templates that we have for doing therapy or helping people deal with their feelings is more female centric. As you said at the beginning, treating people like teenage girls almost, but it does seem more designed to help women than it is to help men. And it’s not to say again, just to emphasize, it’s not to say that men can’t benefit from talking about their feelings because I think it’s really important that men do have an opportunity to talk about stuff. Especially in jail because there will be a load of guys who’ve got things that they’ve never talked about and are really reluctant to talk about it, but they would benefit massively from talking to somebody who will really listen to them and not judge them. Say, for example, if they’ve been a victim of some sort of abuse in their childhood, they might feel terrible about that and blame themselves, might be all sorts of stuff going on there. But if they can talk to somebody who is not going to patronize them or misunderstand them. It’s about real talking. Naomi Murphy is somebody whose work really blew me away when I found out about it. She’s a forensic psychologist over at HMP Whitemoor – not too far away from you – and she has been working with sex offenders with personality disorders, so a really difficult group. A group characterized by two things that some people will say are untreatable. Combine them, you might have the most untreatable people ever. She’s made some incredible progress with her population. The thing that was really staggering for me, and I’ll be interested to hear what you think about this: She did a survey of these guys and just over half of them had been sexually abused in their childhood by an adult female acting alone. These are guys who were offending against women and she found that the thing that really helped them – and that they’ve been through various types of therapy before that – I think that really helped them was doing a therapy based on attachment theory. Because they didn’t get the normal attachment process that most of us hopefully will have developed. They didn’t get that, they got something much more toxic. Something that shaped their attitudes towards themselves and other people in a way that made them quite dangerous people. But she seems to have made a lot of progress based on that, which I find amazing.

JR – I spend a lot of time thinking about how to help men change. It’s an obsession of mine. And I have personally known male sex offenders who are now clearly not the men they once were, when they committed those crimes. They have been changed – to the extent that I would be – am happy to call them a friend. But then I’ve also spent time with men who have for whatever reason, been unable to change. I’d like to learn more about Dr Murphy’s work.

JR – I assume that every conversation you have somebody asks you about toxic masculinity and you’re probably sick to death of talking about it. The reason I don’t like that term is because, for me, if you’re talking about a defect of character or a shortcoming – I want that to be clearly identified. So, if you’re talking about violence or if you’re talking about envy or uncontrolled aggression, I want you to be very specific about what you’re talking about – and that’s why I hate the term toxic masculinity. Because it just seems to be the word toxic put in front of masculinity – and a propaganda term. I would love to hear your thoughts on values and virtues – and what the opposite of those virtues might be.

JB: Like you, I think it seems to be a way of dismissing people without having to deal with any real problems. Why did they do that? ‘Ah, toxic, masculinity.’ And so you never look at the underlying reasons. So, for example with Naomi Murphy’s clients, to just say Toxic Masculinity would be very tempting to do. They’re doing some terrible things, but it doesn’t help you to understand them. Because it’s more difficult to take the step of trying to understand where somebody is coming from. That might allow you to bring about a change their behaviour so that they’re no longer doing those things. And you don’t get to do that if you just dismiss something with a label like toxic masculinity. The other thing I don’t like is that it tends to taint everybody – and if you try and apply that to any other demographic: toxic femininity or toxic Islam or toxic blackness, it’s obvious how bad it sounds. And it’s obvious why we don’t do that, but people tend to get away with it when the discussion turns to masculinity. Something really interesting though is that the original use of the term toxic masculinity, which I don’t really want to encourage people to use because it sustains such a toxic narrative in itself.

But the original terminology was used by people in the Mythopoetic men’s movement. People like a Robert Bly who were getting back to some of the emotional roots of being a man. But what they meant by this term was that traditionally, like in traditional cultures, you have initiation ceremonies where the young men are bought by the elders into a little community house and they stay there for a while. And what they do is they learn how to become good members of the community and they learn how to be men. They learn how to channel whatever sort of energies that they have in a positive way. And what they said was that if boys, for whatever reason didn’t get to go through one of those initiation processes, then their masculinity would just grow off and develop in selfish ways and in ways that were irresponsible, that were unchannelled – and therefore become toxic.

In a way, you can kind of see what they mean – and you can apply that to gang culture. You can see that a lot of what’s happening is that these guys often come from families that don’t have dads or a stable male role model. And then the boys go off the rails – they go off and do their own thing. And they do all these damaging things. I don’t want to call it toxic masculinity but it does fit into the original use of the term.

JR: It’s a far more compassionate interpretation – and one that I can certainly get on board with.

JB: And it offers a solution. Groups like ‘A Band of Brothers’ who have these mentoring schemes for young men who are starting to drift off and get into bad ways. There is something to be learned. Because if you just dismiss men as being violent or bad or wrong or toxic – you’re never going to inspire change. You never try to understand that behaviour and therefore you’re never going to change that behaviour.

JR: And you touched on the importance of community there. With certain institutions like the church, fading away from modern life, from a Christian perspective at least, because what’s quite interesting is I have worked with a lot of Muslim men in the prison. And what’s interesting about working with young Muslim man, particularly the ones who are seeking to overcome addiction issues is they tend to have that ready-made community waiting for them. Strong male mentors and strong male role models. The Imans who I’ve met in the jails I’ve worked in, they don’t mess around. They’re very direct and not to disparage other faiths, I’m a Catholic myself and the central tenets of Christianity are important to me. But the Church of England and the Catholic representatives in the custodial environment – they don’t seem to pack  anywhere near as much as much of a punch. Their message does not seem to carry the same kind of depth and weight that the words of the Iman have to the Muslin men in prison.

JB: I agree with you. This is something I mentioned in ‘Perspectives…’ too. And it’s underestimated the degree to which men and women, but especially men, because… I’m having ten thoughts at once here, Julian! One of the things that came up in the survey that I did and it’s been replicated is that religious observance is a significant contributor to men’s mental health. I was surprised about that. And I thought it must be something to do with spirituality -but it’s not. It’s actually about religious observance, going through rituals and also the community that you get when you’re part of a faith group. Or it could be something deeper and more emotional – about having hope or acquiring the ability to forgive.

There are people who I’ve interviewed like Neil Lyndon. I don’t know if you know him. He’s a journalist who wrote about feminism and he critiqued it very effectively back in 1993 – it totally devastated his career. And one of the things that really helped him, probably the thing that helped him was his faith. He fell back on his faith and it helped him through. Same thing with Erin Pizzey who I interviewed for the magazine last month. She had a similar thing to Neil Lyndon actually. She identified that men could be victims of domestic violence as well as women – and that the domestic violence shelters should be helping men too. And she had a huge amount of abuse and harassment as a result of that. And again, it was devastating for her – but her faith carried her through all of that. So there’s something to that, unfortunately. All the other faith groups seem to have men at the core, the men are still there whereas the Christian faith seems to have lost men. If you go to a church, you’ll see lots of women, usually older women. What’s happened to the men? Why are the men not engaged in these things? And I don’t have an answer, although I’ve got ideas about it. But I think it’s a bit like what you said: what are the different ways by which men can improve their mental health? There’s exercise, playing sports – talking to friends down the pub etc.

And maybe that is the wrong thing to say to a drug and alcohol counsellor (laughs), but I can point you to research that will back this up. Having a sociable couple of pints with your friends would help you maybe loosen up a little bit, talk about your feelings and what’s going on with you. That can be quite a useful thing.

JR: Ha! The guys on my caseload don’t do ‘a couple of pints’, mate! (Both laugh)

JB: No, I know what you mean. And I always say that it’s not about going out and getting hammered.

JR: I say to the guys on my caseload: ‘Listen, fella, if you can have a couple of pints in the pub on a Friday night, hats off to you…’

JB: But they wouldn’t be talking to you if they could.

JR: Right. Most of the guys who I work with, if they pick up that first drink, they will immediately return to dependent daily drinking – and drug use.

JB: Getting back to the religion thing, for some reason the Christian faith has just lost men, and it could be a bit like therapy, like men don’t turn up to therapy or are less keen on going to therapy as a way of dealing with the problems than women are. And it could be a similar sort of thing that there’s something that doesn’t help them to engage with that aspect of their lives, the spiritual aspects of their lives. And yeah, I think the various Christian faiths need to deal with that.

JR: I’d really like to ask you about hypnotherapy because I’m actually training to be a counsellor and hypnotherapist at the moment. But when I look at counselling websites and observe the passive and downbeat tone of communication, I wonder if counselling is often misprescribed, when perhaps a more assertive form of coaching might be more appropriate. I’m studying to be a counsellor, so clearly I think there’s some value there – but I think men seem to benefit more from coaching. What are your thoughts on that? Do men respond better to the solution-focussed language of coaching as opposed to the language of counselling?

JB: I hate to say this, but I was on a counselling course years ago and while I was doing it, I was thinking: ‘this all seems good, but it seems like a really slow way of helping people.’ If a person goes out into the real world and something triggers whatever their issue is, what are they going to do? Are they going to remember the conversations that they’ve been having with me? And that’s going to help them that situation? It isn’t. They’re going to forget about it. They’re going to go completely back to their baseline reactions and that’ll be it. So, I thought how can we speed this up? Because I had to do a project based on the course, how can we possibly speed this process up? And I thought that maybe if you could take everything that they learned, learn about what their problem is and the mechanism that makes them fall back into a dysfunctional pattern – and say we knew how to change that behaviour. You could have a different mechanism in place. How would we help them to remember, or install that mechanism, instead of it being something that they just forgot? It just never seemed likely to work. So, I thought, maybe if you had some way of scanning the mechanism to stick permanently in their mind – so that always affected how they thought and how they felt. And I thought, how would you do that? And I thought it sounds a bit like a post-hypnotic suggestion, but that’s just in the movies. That’s just like fiction. So, I looked into it a bit more, because it just seemed like a really interesting possibility. And I went to a hypnotherapy training weekend. And at that time, I was very interested in cognitive behavioural approaches and evidence-based therapy. I was looking for stuff that worked and worked fast, worked properly, but also quickly. I went to this training course and found that the guys who were delivering it were talking all about how you can take CBT techniques and make them work quickly. And I thought: ‘holy shit, these guys are thinking exactly what I’m thinking. They’re way ahead of me. And I thought so this is good. So, I’m interested. And then I had few experiences in which we tested hypnotherapy on each other and it was brilliant. I found what I had been looking for without realizing it.

Both intellectually and emotionally I just thought ‘this is definitely it’. After that, I went and did further training, a certificate and then a diploma in clinical hypnosis. And it’s something I’ve been doing less in recent years because of being focused more on research. But also the lockdowns, I had a nice clinic going in London but the lockdown managed to kill that off. So, I’m not doing so much at the moment. In the last few years when I’ve been doing research on men’s preferences for mental health approaches, I found that men, although not significantly, according to the research that we’ve done, have a bit of a preference for hypnotherapy compared to women. My usual counselling workload will be mainly women, approximately 70/80% women. Whereas with hypnotherapy, the caseload has always been 50/50. And I didn’t realize that hypnotherapy is a male friendly approach. It’s not one that people talk about a lot because people often don’t think about it as being a therapy. It suffers a lot. There’s a lot of bad PR around hypnotherapy. I think it really struggles to overcome that, but it does appeal to men. And that’s because it’s very solution focused. Like my original idea of ‘how do we make this work quicker?’ It’s very solution focused. It’s not about hanging around and talking about our feelings for weeks or years on end.

JR: Identify the problem. Identify what the consequences of that problem are – and then take immediate action.

JB: In terms of real clinical populations, I know that some people do use hypnosis for the clinical population and in fact, EMDR is based on a type of hypnosis. EMDR being something that is one of the NICE guidelines therapies for PTSD. But my experience is not with the serious kind of population that you are working with. And I don’t get really serious, substance abusing clients, but one of the things it’s definitely good for – and this should be uncontroversial – that if people are stressed or wound up, hypnosis is a brilliant way for getting people more relaxed. And I actually did a little bit of research on the physiological parameters of the deep relaxation that you can get with hypnosis. So, to the degree that stress is a part of a lot of people’s issues, hypnotherapy can certainly help. And actually, with people who want to take drugs or drink to excess, what they’re trying to do is achieve an altered state in which they’re more relaxed so that they’re not experiencing the world in the kind of painful way that they’re used to. The way I look at it is being a delivery system for whatever therapy that you’re doing. You can use hypnosis with CBT techniques. You can use hypnosis with Gestalt techniques or with whatever therapeutic technique you believe will most benefit the client.

JR: Just on the point of some men responding better to being coached, as opposed to counselled could you expand on that, is that a valid observation?

JB: Yes, it is a valid observation. One of the first papers * that we published back in 2015 featured interviews with 20 different types of therapists. We actually interviewed 20 life coaches. Some of them were coaching psychologists, some of them were more general life coaches, but we interviewed 20 of them about whether they thought that men and women responded differently to coaching. We asked them whether the uptake was more men or women, the ways they sought help and whether or not the outcomes were different. And they overwhelmingly confirmed that men tend to like this approach. It’s a solution-focused thing. It’s not dwelling on feelings. It’s taking positive action.

* Russ, S., Ellam-Dyson, V., Seager, M., & Barry, J. (2015). Coaches’ views on differences in treatment style for male and female clients. New Male Studies

Click to access coaching-gender-differences-Russ-et-al-2015-author-copy.pdf

JR: On the subject of mentors. I’m sure you’ve seen a few Jordan Peterson videos and you’re aware of his work, is that correct?

JB: Probably not as much as you would think. I’ve seen bits and pieces of stuff, so I should probably be more up on this.

JR: He delivers what, for the majority of people, is common sense in a kind of stern yet loving father style. The astonishing thing about the Jordan Peterson phenomenon is when you look at the comments underneath his YouTube videos and see thousands of young men or even older men saying things like ‘this is the father I never had… listening to this has changed my life etc.’ It speaks to this idea of the importance of the male mentor, that we need the Obi wan Kenobi, Yoda, that guiding figure. I work in the custodial environment and the prison service talks about pro-social modelling, but what does that ‘good man’ look like? What is it that we should aspire to be

JB: So, when you said Obi wan Kenobi and Yoda, you just sent me totally off. I couldn’t help thinking about therapists dressed as a Jedi Knights! (Laughs). So, mentors… It’s not something that I’ve looked into a huge deal. I realize that initiatives like A Band of Brothers, Journeyman UK there’s a few different mentoring programs, Lads need Dads etc. It does make a lot of sense.

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Obviously not every boy who doesn’t have a dad or male role model is going to turn out ‘bad’. But statistically lots of them do. So, having some sort of person who’s able to guide them in their formative years can be incredibly helpful. I think getting to people when they’re younger has got to be the way to go with this stuff. One of the aspects of mental health that I’ve become interested in is family breakdown – because this creates all sorts of problems, not least with fathers who become suicidal. There’s some research in the United Kingdom that found that 36% of middle-aged male suicides – which is one of the biggest suicide demographics – 36% of them were by men who had experienced family breakdown in the past three months. That’s massive. So, there’s a devastating effect on men. I’ve done some research on this myself. One of the worst aspects for men who have gone through family breakdown in the short term and in the long term is losing access to their children. This is one of the most stressful things. It may well feed into suicides. I haven’t done the research, so I don’t know for definite – but it makes sense that it would. But with the kids too, in these family breakdown situations can experience alienation from their fathers. So even if the dad wants to see them and still wants to be part of the lives, the kid can become alienated from the dad and feel that they don’t want to see the dad. There are then so many negative things that can happen in that child’s life, whether it’s a boy or a girl and especially boys – because the boys can go off and become violent and things like that. Keeping families together wherever possible, making families work better, helping people find ways to make their marriages more satisfying for them, I think is a really important thing. I think you would probably have smaller prison populations if you had families that were able to function. And like we discussed earlier, this is connected to the decreasing influence of religion – and of course the government doesn’t seem to be very good at creating laws to help keep families together.

JR: I understand that you’ve hosted Warren Farrell in the past at your events?

JB: That’s correct. He gave keynote speech and a workshop and a presentation at our conference in UCL in 2017. He was brilliant. He was absolutely fantastic.

Get Involved

JB: I would encourage people to sign up to the free monthly newsletter from the Centre for Male Psychology website. It keeps you up to date. In the not-too distant future, there will be bigger things happening. If you think about it though, how many people who are out there working men who have no idea about any of this and it’s not their fault, they just haven’t been involved in any of the conversations about how to most effectively support men. I’ve found that people are generally not falling over themselves to discuss what you and I have spent the last hour discussing. And I’d love to be more in the media and talking about these things a bit more so that people will be able to find out more, but there is a breath-taking potential for changing things and doing things differently. I think what you’re doing is brilliant, Julian, and I’m full of admiration for people like you in your position, because you really are at the coalface. Probably the most important topic in male psychology is criminality and helping people to overcome crime. There’s so much good that could be potentially done here and we just need to steer people in that direction. As you say, ‘toxic masculinity’ explains nothing. We can’t do nothing because then we condemn those men. We also condemn further victims of crimes that could have been prevented. The broken families that often feed into people who end up in a prison system. We have to look at that sort of issue too. We have to turn off the tap that is leaking. What the Centre for Male Psychology and BPS need to be doing is having evidence-based training. We want to get people skilled up to approach these things differently. Hopefully things will start to improve.

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                                                 Dr John A. Barry and Julian C. Reid

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