Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thaddeus Heffner Discusses the Views of Masculinity

Thaddeus Heffner Discusses the Views of Masculinity

Thaddeus Heffner is a licensed marriage and family therapist practicing in Brentwood/Franklin, Tennessee.  According to Thaddeus Heffner, many of his male clients seek counseling to explore their personal issues regarding traditional and contemporary views of masculinity. Below are some excerpts from a recent conversation with Thaddeus Heffner about rediscovering the 21st century male.

Q: You see many male clients who are conflicted about their definition of masculinity. How would you say they initially define masculinity?

Thaddeus Heffner: The answers run the gamut, but many men use words like “strong,” “physically fit,” and “loner.”

Q: But often you get a long silence when you ask questions about masculinity…

Thaddeus Heffner: Yes. I refer to it as the “1,000-yard stare.” It’s a look that tells me they probably haven’t spent a considerable amount of time thinking about it.

Q: You’ve also said that many men are lacking when it comes to surrounding themselves with a network of strong men with whom they can relate, correct?

Thaddeus Heffner: Yes. While many men won’t talk about it, men do need a healthy, safe community in which they can bond with other men and feel a sense of ‘brotherhood.’

Q: How do you suggest men begin to find this safe community?

Thaddeus Heffner: There are many organizations that help men in this very way, including Samson Society ( and New Adam.

Q: If someone lives in an area with no such meetings, how can he find these networks?

Thaddeus Heffner: I first recommend a man look around at his current network of friends to determine if there are a couple of trustworthy men in that circle. Trust is very important when building a safe community.

Q: Do you find some men resist getting to know other men?

Thaddeus Heffner: Yes, there are definitely men who are reluctant to develop bonds with other men, but healthy brotherhood is an important part of emerging as a true masculine force in the 21st century.

Q: Do you believe healthy male friendship is rare today?

Thaddeus Heffner: From my own personal experience and what I hear from my friends and acquaintances, I think that it is extremely rare. In fact, I’d even call it endangered. This is unfortunate because I believe strong masculine friendships are built into a man’s DNA. We were created to have strong male friendships. It’s part of who we are.

Q: You also counsel clients on maturing. Is maturity a part of becoming this 21st century male?

Thaddeus Heffner: Absolutely. Maturing into manhood is very important for every man.

Q: And a strong community of male friendships is integral to this?

Thaddeus Heffner: Yes, it is an important part of maturing as a man.

Thaddeus Heffner worked with at-risk youth before opening his own private practice. A member of several organizations, Thaddeus Heffner believes community is an important part of healing and discovering your individuality.


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