Some men are especially difficult to manage in the psychotherapy room. They are controlling, exploitive, rigid, aggressive, and prejudiced. In a word, they are Authoritarian. This book is a guide for therapists and counselors who work with these men, offering an understanding of their psychological development and providing empirically supported recommendations to work with them effectively. In the first part, Robertson describes several versions of authoritarian men. Some are Tough Guys (workplace bullies, abusive partners, sexual harassers), and others are True Believers (men who use religion to justify their authoritarian behavior). Robertson draws from a diverse literature in psychology, sociology, men’s studies, and neurobiology to describe the developmental histories and personalities of these men. Part two offers practical and specific strategies to assess and treat these wounded men—developing a masculine friendly alliance, respecting their personal and religious beliefs, and teaching them self-awareness and self-regulation skills. Throughout, Robertson emphasizes a reality that many therapists doubt: Some authoritarian men want to change their behavior, and are capable of doing so. This book presents an empathic and respectful view of a group of men too often written off as unmanageable and unchangeable.
This book will be a guide for therapists and counselors who work with authoritarian men, offering an understanding of these men and an empirically supported set of recommendations to work with them effectively. The first part of the book explores what an authoritarian male is and how he came to be that way. Robertson offers "snapshots" of men who can be considered authoritarian and discusses four perspectives on how to understand this behavior: as a function of personality, fundamental religious beliefs, biological evolution, or social/cultural constructions. The second part of the book contains specific and practical ideas for therapists who work with this type of man. These include believing that the man can change, developing a masculine friendly alliance, respecting his personal and religious beliefs, and teaching him self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-monitoring. Throughout this, Robertson stresses that some authoritarian men do want to change their thinking and behavior, and that all are capable of doing so, to help counselors and therapists cast aside any negative feelings they may have toward them.
"As an educator and practitioner specializing in work with men, I cannot overemphasize the vital importance of this book in understanding, evaluating, and treating authoritarian men. Robertson has at once respected the deep humanity of individuals, but also the need to hold accountable those who harm others through mis-regulated behavior." - Mark A. Hurst, PhD, Psychology Faculty, The Evergreen State College; Founder, Positive Reentry Program for Incarcerated Men
"John Robertson has produced an extremely important work that is deep and thorough regarding the factors contributing to creation of authoritarian tough guys and unusually insightful in recommending pathways for engagement and change. I enthusiastically recommend this book." - Gary R. Brooks, PhD, Professor, Baylor University
"For the first time, we have an incisive yet respectful analysis of the inner lives of authoritarian men. Tough Guys and True Believers is the ‘gold standard’ for understanding and treating authoritarian men. I recommend it most highly!" - Glenn E. Good, Dean and Professor, School of Education, University of Florida
Part I: Understanding Authoritarian Men "Who are these men, exactly?" Four Prototypical Faces. "He always has been that way." Authoritarian Personality Characteristics. "God wants him to take charge." Authoritarian as Divine Mandate. "Men are born as males." Authoritarian as Adaptive Strategy. "Boys learn to be men." Authoritarian as Social Construction. Part I Summary: Putting it all Together. Part II: Managing Authoritarian Men in the Psychotherapy Room "I never wanted to be this way." Up Close and Personal: Two Authoritarian Men. "What does he need the most?" A Healing Relationship: Attunement & Empathy. "What is wrong with him?" A Qualitative Assessment: Collaboration & Insight. "How can he be helped?" A Multimodal Treatment: Self-Awareness & Self-Regulation. "Does an authoritarian man really change? For good?" The Process of Change: Outcomes & Maintenance.
About the Author:
John M. Robertson, PhD, is in private practice and Director of Psychological Services for the Professional Renewal Center in Lawrence, Kansas. He has many years of experience working almost exclusively with authoritarian men.