The Power of Male Friendships: Counseling for Men to Create Stronger Relationships

In Dr. Robert Garfield’s book “Breaking the Male Code: Unlocking the power of friendship”, he explores the power of men feeling connected to one another through emotional sharing in their friendships.  As a professor of psychiatry at The University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Garfield investigates male friendships through his research in Friendship Labs - examining the impact of male counseling groups on their social lives.  Dr. Garfield breaks down the myths of masculinity being correlated with strength, silence and stoicism - and the mental health risks that come when we adapt these attitudes. 

A fundamental need for all humans is to feel emotionally connected to one another - and Dr. Garfield leads ‘Friendship Labs’ to teach men about the power and potential of close friendships. Taking a glimpse into the male groups he leads, he explores the larger societal reasons that prevent many men from feeling able to connect with one another.  He illustrates powerful examples of men and their stories in his book.  

Sun Point recommends “Breaking the Male Code” to any man who feels like his friendships are lacking in connection.  Through stories of men in Dr. Garfields' groups - he shows how listening skills and sharing can draw us closer to each other.  Dr. Garfield teaches us that each of us has the power to challenge the societal norms of friendship.  

The former President of the American Psychological Association, Donald Bersoff, Ph.D. recommended “Breaking the Male Code” stating “with warmth and empathy, Rob Garfield takes on the task of helping us to overcome our stereotypes about maleness and our often incomplete definition of friendship so that men can relate to each other in an intimate way.”  After reading Dr. Garfield’s book, you will look at your friendships in a new way - and have new exercises to apply in your everyday life.

Works Cited:

Garfield, R. (2015). “Breaking the Male Code: Unlocking the power of friendship”.