Gerald (Jerry) Magaro, M A LMFT
Accepting new clients: Yes
I work with a wide range of emotional and behavioral issues concerning adults and older adolescents including individual therapy for depression, anxiety, trauma; parenting support and couples counseling. I counsel people dealing with grief and loss, life transitions and personal growth. In a comfortable supportive environment, I integrate psychological theories and techniques, provide personalized treatment for each individual, couple or family.
I have a special interest in men's issues and provide mediation services to help resolve conflicts. I provide long term psychotherapy for men and women, using a psychoanalytic approach with those who want to make lasting changes in their behavior.
I believe we each have the capacity and potential to heal and become whole. Many difficulties and problems are caused by habits and behavior patterns that are unconsciously repeated due to past conditioning. Therapy can help you become conscious of and change unhealthy behavior, gain increased self-awareness, a deeper sense of well-being.
When a couples feels stuck in their relationship and are unable to communicate, struggle to resolve ongoing conflicts or to overcome emotional distance couples counseling is valuable. Conflict or the rigid avoidance of conflict leads to greater emotional distance, lack of closeness and intimacy. I provide a safe supportive environment in which couples talk about their conflicts and problems learn to communicate more effectively and resolve their differences. As their relationships improve they become closer and develop deeper connection and intimacy.
Many men hide their normal vulnerability trying to live up to an idealized masculine image, as hero, protector or provider. Hiding vulnerability makes it difficult for men to access and express softer feelings and prevents close and intimate relationships, especially with loved ones. It takes courage for a man to seek help from a therapist; often a life crisis or a failed relationship is the catalyst for seeking help. As a man learns to understand and express his deeper feelings and thoughts he becomes more real and authentic, he has more fulfilling relationships and a more meaningful life.
Real Men Do Therapy
Original Copyright 1996 by Jerry Magaro, JD MA
Published in the July, 1996 Issue of M.E.N. Magazine
Revision Copyright 2014
After several years of working as a therapist, I have noticed some significant differences between women and men in why they choose to be in therapy or participate in a support group. One major difference is that women generally enter into therapy for the first time at an earlier age than men. It is not unusual for a woman in her twenties to have been in therapy at least for a brief period of time, whereas most men tend to be in their thirties or forties before seeing a therapist for the first time. With respect to couples counseling, women generally initiate the idea of seeing a counselor and make the first contact with the therapist. Moreover, her male partner is frequently reluctant or unwilling to participate in couples’ therapy. Finally, more women than men enter into individual therapy, and there are far more women who join support groups than men.
Traditional models of masculinity
Competition and homophobia
Boys are predisposed to competition and learn to be highly competitive with each other. Losing in a sporting activity or game can easily result in being ridiculed or shamed. While competition may have the positive effect of bringing out the best in us, it also leads to hiding our vulnerability, thereby creating mistrust and emotional distance. A common myth is that men bond with their drinking buddies or with male friends while they engage in sporting activities. However, most of these relationships do not result in deep emotional attachment, and can be almost superficial or businesslike in nature.
Not only does our competitiveness prevent us from being close, but there is the additional factor of homophobia. Men generally are afraid that being physically close or emotionally vulnerable with another man will be construed as a message that they are gay. We do all we can to convince our male friends that we are strong and in control. There is shame in revealing vulnerability or in asking for emotional help from another man. In addition, there is the added fear that expressing deeper feelings and needs to another man will be interpreted as homosexual. Thus, to maintain our manhood, we withdraw emotionally, deny our emotional needs, and attempt to appear to be invincible.
Crisis is opportunity for change
What finally causes a man to decide to enter into therapy or join a men’s group? In my experience it takes a crisis of some kind, usually a failed relationship or a series of failed relationships, career burnout, or some other traumatic event which leads to depression, anxiety, isolation or loneliness. For many men this happens in mid-life, when a man approaches the age of forty. It is a time when a man looks at his life and asks, "Is this all there is?" Until then, he has been able to hang on to the hope that he will find his dream somewhere out there in this big, wide, wonderful world. At mid-life, something mysterious causes him to look back and realize that life is half over and "it" still hasn’t happened. His dream has not yet been realized. Having spent half his life trying to find fulfillment outside himself, he awakens to discover that it has not worked. For the first time in his life, a man may turn inward for answers. He may begin to realize that his unhappiness is not caused by his failure to find the right woman or the right career, but by who he is and the way he is living his life. Rather than blame others, he may ask, "How have I caused this to happen? Perhaps I need to change and develop greater self-awareness before I can have a healthy relationship or a satisfying career."
Joining a men’s group
While individual therapy is important, it alone may not be sufficient to help a man realize his true nature. Interpersonal interaction with other men is also a vital step in this process. In the company of like-minded men, perhaps in a men’s group, men are provided with a unique opportunity to break their isolation from other men. They are able to confront their fears, open their hearts, and express deeper feelings in the presence of other caring men. In the intimacy created by allowing ourselves to connect and be vulnerable in this way, we learn to nurture each other and experience all of our authentic masculinity. At last, a man has opened the doorway to his soul. He has come home to a safe place where he can discover his true nature. He is relieved that he need not expend so much energy hiding his disowned parts trying to look good on the outside, while feeling empty and alone inside. He finds that there is strength in his vulnerability. In learning to be fully real and authentic, he discovers his wholeness. Finally, he is liberated from old male stereotypes. He is free to be himself.
Revision of practice information:
Gerald E. Magaro, J.D., M.A LMFT, is a licensed therapist in private practice in Bend, Oregon, serving adults, older adolescents, couples and families.
After nearly 20 years as a practicing attorney, Jerry made a life transition to become a therapist. He focuses on men’s issues, and has led men’s groups and workshops since the late 1980’s.
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