Calling for a new men’s movement, a noted psychotherapist examines the critical role close male friendships play in helping men lead happy, healthy lives.
For much of the past century, men have operated under the rules of Male Code, a rigid set of guidelines that equate masculinity with stoicism, silence, and strength. As men’s roles have changed over the past few decades, this lingering pressure to hide their emotions has wreaked havoc on men’s lives. Lacking the ability to communicate their needs, desires, and feelings effectively, they are more likely to suffer from depression, anger, and isolation, and their relationships often suffer.
Noted psychotherapist Rob Garfield has worked with men struggling with emotional issues for more than forty years. Through his “Friendship Labs,” clinical settings in which men engage in group therapy, he teaches men how to identify inner conflicts, express emotions, and communicate openly. According to Garfield, traditional therapy has largely marginalized men since many lack the tools to properly engage. But when men learn to open up to other men who share similar experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives, they not only build lasting bonds but learn the skills necessary to thrive in all aspects of their lives.
Writing with empathy and authority, Garfield examines the unique challenges men face and urges them to abandon male code in favor of a masculinity that integrates traditional male traits with emotional intimacy skills. He urges men to connect with other men using the Four C’s of intimacy—connection, communication, commitment, and co-operation—to form meaningful bonds. Drawing on real-life stories and original research, he shows how their friendships can serve as the foundation on which men can build and sustain deep relationships with all of their loved ones—including spouses, children, and parents—and in turn lead to happier, healthier lives.
Rob Garfield M.D., a psychotherapist and clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, has been recognized by Philadelphia Magazine as both one of the city’s “Top Docs” and “Best Therapists.” An engaging speaker, he has presented his work on men’s friendships to both lay and professional audiences and published numerous articles on the subject of male emotional intimacy.
“Dr. Garfield explains why emotional intimacy is a rare quality in male friendships and offers a clear road map for men to forge deeper connections. His style is warm, engaging, and user-friendly. I suspect that countless wives will put this book on their husband’s bedside table.”
—Harriet Lerner, Ph.D, author of The Dance of Anger and Marriage Rules
“Rob Garfield knows that the cure for what ails men is intimacy—connection to themselves and others. With compassion and wit, he shows men, step to step, how to move beyond the strictures of male code into the richness of an open heart. Both practical and moving, Breaking The Male Code belongs on the shelf of every man wanting to grow, and every clinician dedicated to helping.”
—Terrence Real, author of I Don’t Want to Talk about It
“In this wonderfully readable book, Dr. Robert Garfield brings his extensive knowledge and rich experience to show how men think and feel about their relationships with other men. Breaking the Male Code delivers a powerful and hopeful message, one that provides men of all ages with the skills necessary to enjoy deep and fulfilling relationships with each other. This book has the potential to dramatically improve all the important relationships in men’s lives!”
—Constance Ahrons, Ph.D., professor emerita, University of Southern California, and author of The Good Divorce and We’re Still Family
“A compelling book that goes to the heart of male loneliness and points the way toward deeper and more fulfilling friendships in men’s lives.”
—Sam Osherson, author of Finding Our Fathers and The Stethoscope Cure
“Remember how Thoreau said that men ‘lead lives of quiet desperation?’ If only he’d read Rob Garfield’s book! He’d understand not only why they’re desperate, but also how to address their needs. A vital message about men’s emotional needs, offered with care, thought, and great compassion.”
—Michael Kimmel, author of Guyland and executive director, Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities at Stony Brook University
“With warmth and empathy, Rob Garfield takes on the task of helping us to overcome our stereotypes about maleness and our often incomplete definition of friendship so that men can relate to each other in an intimate way.”
— Donald N. Bersoff, Ph.D., J.D., former president, American Psychological Association