Males in Clinical Psychology courses

Discuss the content and style of the different clinical psychology doctoral training courses, the differences between them, placements, teaching, chat to other trainees and connect with other people who have places on the same course
BlackGirlLost
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:28 pm

Males in Clinical Psychology courses

Post by BlackGirlLost » Sun Sep 13, 2009 1:32 pm

i am very interested in this topic of men going into clinical psychology and why there is a significant difference in number of men applying for clinical psychology in comparison to women?

what's it like being a token or a token number of men on a clinical psychology course?

i have been going through university intakes and noticed an overwelming number of women only courses. what courses have a good amout of men on them? r there any?

I have noticed small intakes tend to not have any men whereas larger intakes have far more men, not sure if i am right though?

any male input would be good and obviously female thought + ideas

User avatar
Peach
Posts: 573
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:11 am

Post by Peach » Sun Sep 13, 2009 2:04 pm

I think the female bias reflects the lack of men choosing to study psychology at undergrad level. I remember reading somewhere that men think psychology is a soft option and generally prefer psychiatry instead.

One interesting thing I've noticed is that despite there being more females in CP there seems to more men in the highest positions within this profession than women which I find really strange. :?

User avatar
miriam
Site Admin
Posts: 7832
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:20 pm
Location: Bucks
Contact:

Post by miriam » Sun Sep 13, 2009 4:54 pm

Historically, clinical psychology was seen as medical/scientific and therefore as prestigious to men. However, it has gradually evolved in the public view to being a social science/helping profession which are seen as more female and therefore less attractive to males. This means that we have men who have been in the profession a long time and are therefore in senior roles, whereas women have predominantly joined the profession more recently or prioritised family life in a way that hampered career progression.

Don't forget that more than 40 years ago there were very few working women, let alone in professional roles. As women have moved into the workplace their distribution has not been even. In some ways CP is a field in which they have been able to establish themselves increasingly to the point of now being dominant. There has been a similar shift in some sectors of medicine, such as paediatrics and obs/gynae.

At the moment CP doctoral training courses are recruiting on average 15% males, which reflects the proportion of applicants of each gender. Worldwide over 75% of psychology students are female. This contrasts with other sciences: in physics there are less than 25% females, and in computing and engineering only around 15%. The question is whether this reflects a natural bias in the interests/skills of each gender (in Baron-Cohen's terms men are good at folk physics and women at folk psychology) or whether it is something we should be attempting to address through the marketing of the profession...
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

User avatar
Spatch
Posts: 1411
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 4:18 pm
Location: The other side of paradise
Contact:

Post by Spatch » Sun Sep 13, 2009 6:10 pm

what's it like being a token or a token number of men on a clinical psychology course?
Although I like working with women and have always had mentors who are female, the experience is not enhanced by having such overwhelming female dominance. The culture is hard to fit in, especially when engagement fever hit our training cohort, and people ooh'ed and aah'ed over rings and dresses. Seriously, in my year half the guys would be so paranoid about saying something inadvertantly sexist, we would meet afterwards to vent about it, and the resulting discussion belonged in the film "American Pie" rather than people in their 30s. A natural reaction but unfortunate.

I think the thing I noticed as significant was the double standards applied. For example, female trainees often made comments about young or handsome male lecturers, but we could never do that as it would be seen as "inappropriate". Likewise people had time off/re-arrangments for teaching and placements for pregnancy or childcare, but for men this wasn't given the same priority.

Slighltly being more speculative, I felt the course was also very female oriented in its educational style in that it was coursework focussed without final exams, no agressive debate was tolerated and competitiveness was kept to a minimum (although to be fair some men probably would quite like this educational style).

User avatar
eponymous85
Posts: 1898
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 4:44 pm
Location: Midlands

Post by eponymous85 » Sun Sep 13, 2009 7:31 pm

Yikes spatch, that doesn't sound like fun. If my cohort are like that, I really won't enjoy it. I get seriously annoyed with the double standards for men and women, and for my part I try to confront it where I see it. I'm sorry you had such a negative experience.
The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure. Thoughts are not etched on the inside of skulls, to be perused by any invader. The mind is a complex and many layered thing.

parmaviolet
Posts: 82
Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 4:10 pm

Post by parmaviolet » Mon Sep 14, 2009 9:56 am

Spatch wrote:
what's it like being a token or a token number of men on a clinical psychology course?
The culture is hard to fit in, especially when engagement fever hit our training cohort, and people ooh'ed and aah'ed over rings and dresses.

I think the thing I noticed as significant was the double standards applied. For example, female trainees often made comments about young or handsome male lecturers, but we could never do that as it would be seen as "inappropriate".

Slighltly being more speculative, I felt the course was also very female oriented in its educational style in that it was coursework focussed without final exams, no agressive debate was tolerated and competitiveness was kept to a minimum (although to be fair some men probably would quite like this educational style).

I'm female & I don't turn into a simpering fool when I see an engagement ring. My male partner doesn't feel the need to aggressively debate in order to make himself heard.

damnsaiyan
Posts: 330
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 6:29 pm

Post by damnsaiyan » Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:58 am

Although I'm not on the course now, I do hope to get there one day. In my experience I don't think it's just psychology that his this problem. I'm currently volunteering with a volunteer charity (part of their work is to help clients with mental health issues find work experience, but they also have many other areas outside the mental health field). We recently got sent an email saying that there was a 70/30% bias of female volunteers and they were doing some adverts to target more male volunteers. I think it was good they were trying to do something about it but it does show it's not just psychology that has this problem.

In terms of intake, I don't think with bigger courses that you get significantly more males. From my undergraduate course there were about 250 students and 8 males. For my postgraduate there were around 15 students and 3 males. So if anything the proportion of males were less in the larger intake! It can be frustrating in terms of social things. My supervisor who is a senior CP believes this bias could be because females have better social skills on general (I think that might be part of it but not the full answer!).

What's this talk of token intake? Are the courses required to have a certain number of males?

User avatar
eponymous85
Posts: 1898
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 4:44 pm
Location: Midlands

Post by eponymous85 » Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:32 pm

I would assume that male trainees are there on their own merit, and not as 'tokens'.

Currently there is no requirement to have a particular proportion of men on the course, though many are trying to diversify.
The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure. Thoughts are not etched on the inside of skulls, to be perused by any invader. The mind is a complex and many layered thing.

User avatar
Gilly
Moderator
Posts: 1861
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 9:30 pm
Location: Doodling on Paint somewhere...

Post by Gilly » Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:37 pm

as a male who was 1 of 7 on a course of 108 strong undergrad course, i cant say im not used to the experience.

I can however, back up spatch's "engagement" fever - when 2 of the girls on the undergrad got engaged, there were DAYS of weddings and dresses and rings

:P
Last edited by Gilly on Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

whitian
Posts: 95
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:10 am
Location: Hardy's Dorset

Post by whitian » Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:39 pm

I have to say that Primary Care Mental Health Service where I worked was an entirely female workforce, managed by a woman who always displyed evidence of preference for female workers, I believe it's possible that my line manager was downputted by men during her early career and passed this on to men upon becoming service manager. The only reason that I can see why I was given my job, rather than having a woman employed again, was that it entailed a very questionable prison in-reach project, that her otherwise 'fluffy' cohort (yes I have every right in calling them fluffy, because they were), would not have touched for longer than a week or two.

It was only under the watchful eye of IAPT, that men began to be recruited into the service. Psychology services, however, had a wonderful balance of men and women from all different backgrounds, so I spent most of my time hanging around there :-)

User avatar
Spatch
Posts: 1411
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 4:18 pm
Location: The other side of paradise
Contact:

Post by Spatch » Mon Sep 14, 2009 1:10 pm

I would like to add that I have worked in male dominated workplace and see the negatives in that too. Ideally a balance of both is optimal for me.

However, the things I mention above were, for me, quite specific to clinical training. Most of my research team when I was doing my PhD were female (and my supervisor was female) but I didn't notice the same dynamic. The expectations were quite different, and the context the team was within was gender balanced so perhaps that had an influence. Ditto undergraduate psychology, which had a "general studenty" feel to it.

Fickle
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 1:09 am

Post by Fickle » Mon Sep 14, 2009 5:49 pm

Hi, I am about to start the doctorate and find this debate quite interesting, I know that on my day of interview I was one of only 2 males (out of 12 for that day).

I don't like the use of the word 'token' which suggests there is quotas being filled or preference shown. I wouldn't like to think that after years of hard work I was only accepted on a course because I 'ticked a box' for the University. Perhaps that's how Blackgirllost sees it?

ilikeblueskies
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2007 3:06 pm

Post by ilikeblueskies » Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:37 pm

I think this notion of being a "token" extends to other things too e.g. ethnicity, disability etc. Once or twice I have had people say "ahh you are the token asian on the course". Very annoying since I worked v hard to get onto it. I guess the situation will only change when (and if) courses do indeed represent the demographics of the UK like many of them claim they want to. My class has about 8 males and about 23 females I think, so it has felt like less of an issue.

User avatar
miriam
Site Admin
Posts: 7832
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:20 pm
Location: Bucks
Contact:

Post by miriam » Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:35 pm

I think there is a difference between being seen as representing something other people do not have experience of (in terms of having a difference in gender, ethnicity, disability or another difference from the majority) than being a 'token' of that group (which implies positive discrimination on the basis of that difference). We need to ensure that efforts to increase diversity are because we value what this brings to the profession, and not tokenistic. Places on clinical training are awarded by merit, and not to tick boxes, so it would be wrong to imply that anyone got a place because of anything other than their balance of skills and experiences. The profession can be legitimately criticised for not doing enough to encourage a diverse range applicants, and (rightly or wrongly) has never gone down the path of positive discrimination, so it is ironic that people are being made to feel that others perceive that they did not earn their place equally.

In my cohort we had one male out of the seven of us, and it did at times feel like that made him representative of his gender and meant that things got projected onto him a bit, although this only once felt uncomfortable from my perspective (during some teaching on feminist issues in psychology, from a CP who worked with female offenders in a secure hospital and felt that part of the issue was that these women were disempowered/mistreated in a way that was endemic in our culture towards women).
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

BlackGirlLost
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:28 pm

Post by BlackGirlLost » Mon Sep 14, 2009 9:26 pm

this is an interesting topic which i am looking to explore in the future.

regarding my comment about being a token male, I meant it just to mean if you were the only male on your psychology degree or the doctorate. it had nothing to do with how you got there, you were being who you were.

two of my male friends who studied with me were a minority on my course and we often have this debate.

one is pursuing a career in psychology and he has expressed much of what spatch has said. he has been supervised by only women in all his work experience which he has found ok but he tends to refrane from saying particular things which might be considered sexist. he even related to me once about what miriam said and how in discussions he would have to represent the whole male population in debates regarding feminism. in his workplace he is the only male in his department, he sits in an office of women and tends to want to talk about male things which he keeps to himself.

my other male friend said this is one of the reasons he didn't pursue the career, he went into statistics. in comparison he sits in an office full of men and had jokes all the time with him, he doesn't have to refrane from any topic either. his manager is male and they play on the same football team together.

its an interesting debate. ive always been a tomboy since i was young so i often questioned why i did psychology. i have to admit i did turn into a woman studying psychology, i mean u'd never see me wear a skirt a few years ago, whereas now its a regular thing. my two friends often talk about this when we go out. i have noticed sometimes even as a woman some women say things which i just think a man would ignore not wanting to offend her.

do you think the feminist movement has a lot to do with the way psychology has gone? i mean freud's clients were all female and he did place them into a more emotionally unstable catorogy in comparison to men. i did read a book about how this woman who thought a woman can analyse herself, freud is not needed thank you very much.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests