Boys & Men

The Male Brain

As psychiatrist and researcher Louann Brizendine, MD, notes in her book, The Male Brain, “Male and female brains are different from the moment of conception.”

Over the years while working with clients, I noticed there was a difference between how men and women tended to solve problems, relate in romantic partnerships, parent their children, and engage in community, but I did not know why.

Today, brain research by Brizendine and her colleagues helps us understand where these differences originate and how they manifest in day-to-day life. Research highlighted in Brizendine’s book tells us that the male brain tends to orient the male toward

  • problem solving
  • rational and logical thinking
  • competition and achieving goals
  • protection of self and loved ones
  • muscular action
  • mental focus
  • maximizing power and strength
  • diminishing fear and weakness
  • ensuring a position of respect in the social hierarchy
  • procreation.

The male brain is also oriented, at times, toward anger and aggression due to hormones such as testosterone, vasopressin, and cortisol.

Counter to our cultural thinking that anger is “bad,” research shows that a man’s anger has a useful function: it helps reduce physical fear, increases mental focus, and enables a man to protect his family and territory. My role in the coaching or therapy space is to help men express and use this anger constructively.

When I work with boys, male teens, and men, I keep this understanding of the male brain in the background as a support for the work we do. Being a man myself, I also interact with these clients in a way that lends itself toward natural ways of acting and thinking for men. My no-nonsense style works well for boys and men, who appreciate my focus on goal-setting, action-taking, and problem solving.

Boys & Men in Coaching & Therapy

As a coach and a therapist, I help boys and men

  • set goals
  • communicate effectively
  • engage in competition
  • transform negative feelings into positive feelings
  • utilize character strengths
  • enhance resilience
  • navigate forgiveness
  • experience gratitude despite anger and resentment

across the eight areas of well-being:

  • physical and psychological health
  • career
  • social connections
  • home
  • community
  • time and money
  • time in nature
  • mindfulness and/or spirituality

Although I did not set out in my early years of private practice to work specifically with boys and men, over time, I have discovered how my approach resonates with this group.

My adult male clients return to me again and again as new life challenges surface. They enjoy our conversations, which have room for processing emotions, without getting stuck in them, and which largely focus on how to cope, progress, grow, succeed, and ultimately get back on the playing field of life.

Parents also find that their sons respond to me.

These boys, while often reluctant at first to enter therapy or coaching, ultimately appreciate me serving as a liaison between them and their parents as our regular meetings help to get their mother and father “off their backs.” These boys learn to trust that I have their best interest at heart and that I am a safe space for them to vent their fears, anger, hopes, and dreams.

Over time, their anxiety lessens and grades at school improve. Arguments with parents diminish, and family time becomes pleasant again. To learn more about my unique approach to working with boys, click here.

As Brizendine explains in her earlier mentioned book, “[T]he male brain is a lean, mean problem-solving machine.” When I work with my male clients, we capitalize on this strength in order to effectively identify concerns, design strategies, take action, and–best of all–create positive outcomes that relieve stress and promote growth and happiness.


36 Main Street - The Mews
Stockbridge, MA 01262
(413) 298-4544

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