A therapist himself, Terrence Real examines the dirty little secret of the American Male: chronic depression. As the author sees it, men who fall prey to depressive disorders are caught in a double bind. Since their feelings of helplessness are considered unmanly, they tend to hide them, which makes the descent into blackness even steeper. The solution? Real urges men (and women!) to cast aside their clichéd notions of gender and to accept that feelings are neither masculine nor feminine but essentially human.
From Booklist, 01/01/97:
In our culture, men are supposed to be tough and stoic, revealing few emotions. But that is a facade, psychotherapist Real argues. Many men are suffering a great deal of pain, even to the point of depression, yet their very training as males keeps it hidden, forcing them into denial. Using case studies and examples from his own life, Real examines "covert depression," where men try to ease their pain through such abusive behaviors as overwork and alcoholism. He convincingly argues that covert depression is in fact a disease, even though the medical community has yet to recognize it as such. He then discusses the different traumas that might lead to covert depression, the disease's many manifestations, and ways to recognize it, face up to it, and begin to heal. Part self-help, part cultural critique, this useful book will also be a welcome addition to men's movement literature.
Copyright© 1997, American Library Association. All rights reserved
From Kirkus Reviews , 11/15/96:
An absorbing and informative look at the hidden long-term depression that constricts or undermines the relationships of many American men. Real, a family therapist and teacher at the Cambridge (Mass.) Family Institute, contends that most male depression is undiagnosed because it is veiled by addictive and compulsive behavior using such varied ``drugs'' as alcohol, work, violence, and sex. Its key symptom is ``relational immaturity,'' an inability or unwillingness to truly confide in and be vulnerable before a partner or child. Real traces this problem in part to the gender-polarized socialization of American children. From an early age, boys are encouraged to seek esteem through ``hierarchical competition'' while being discouraged from expressing feelings and bonding with others. In addition, boys sometimes ``carry'' the depression suffered by their fathers and expressed through emotional abuse or neglect. Much of Real's argument has been made by other clinical and popular psychologists, but he states his case particularly vividly, drawing richly on his own family history, his clinical practice, myth and legend, film and fiction. He also offers advice and case studies on how the therapist might resolve depression by helping patients overcome their fear of intimacy and redefine their notion of success. He also recounts active therapeutic interventions to stop the kind of toxic family dynamics that a husband's depression can help generate. On the downside, Real overfocuses on the father-son relationship; there is too little here on how depressed or narcissistic mothers may contribute to long-term male depression, much less on how siblings or societal factors may do so. Stylistically, it is somewhat marred by repetition, and the occasional use of a clumsy phrase (``rageaholism'') or hyperbolic generalization, such as a reference to ``the state of alienation we call manhood.'' Fortunately, such lapses are a minor part of what otherwise is an important and rewarding work. (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1996, Kir
kus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
The New York Times Book Review, Carol Gilligan:
Mr. Real has the eye and ear of a novelist.... This is a hopeful and important book because it shows a way out of depression for men that carries with it a potential for ending a legacy of violence.
A national bestseller, this groundbreaking examination of male depression was hailed by Robert Bly as a book that "moves on to new ground in language and in story . . . exhilarating in its honesty and its grief". "A hopeful and important book because it shows a way out of depression for men that carries with its a potential for ending a legacy of violence".--"The New York Times Book Review". BOMC & QPBC Alternates Print ads. National media publicity.Web site feature.
In a powerful, groundbreaking examination of male depression--the secret, undiagnosed disease that plagues men and the people who love them--Terrence Real, a psychotherapist with 20 years of experience treating men and their families, draws on dramatic case studies and his own experiences as a son and father to examine the personal and social ramifications of this widespread malady.
A Reader from USA , 10/10/97, rating=10:
Every man and woman should read this book.
"I Just Don't Want to Talk About It" by Terrence
Real may just save my marriage and give me
back the man I married 33 years ago. As I read
this book, I cried. My husband and I were on
every page. Finally, I understand the hell
we've been living in for so long. A psychotherapist for twenty
years, author Terrence Real exposes the pain
the isolation, the workaholism,the disconnection
that signal covert male depression.
He is conservative in his estimates. I would say
most men suffer from depression at some point in their lives.
And they suffer longer because they have been
taught to repress, to deny. Thank you, Terry.
I'm bringing your book to our next counseling session.
We may live happily ever after, after all.
A Reader from Maine , 08/22/97, rating=9:
A book that I all too easily can relate to.
In the first day of having this book I fully read, underlined and highlighted the first hundred pages. I too am a mental health professional who recently seperated from my spouse because she could no longer tolerate my depression. A depression that I long denied because a therapist just doesn't get depressed or I would have recognized it and done something about it. The author's report of his own experiences with his father and those of many of his clients are poignent and significant in helping the professional or layperson recognize the type of depression that is there for many people, but evver so slightly below the surface. This is a book that I would easily recommend to those who may still be in denial or for those who care about another. I can only say that if only the first few chapters had been read by me years ago, that I would have gotten the help then that I have finally recognized as needing and getting now.