Mentor: Dr. Paula Salvio, UNH Department of Education
Man of the House: A Study of Latino Men’s Resistance to Therapy
“You’re supposed to be example for the family” (Raising Victor Vargas). Growing up in a household as the only Latino male can build up stress within. It sends Latino men the message that they are the “Man of the House”. They feel they must live up to expectations that may come with this title, such as the pressures of being strong and in charge of the family (Brooks, 2010). One may ask how these pressures and emotional distress are handled. Are Latino men dealing with their internalized emotional struggles through therapy? Do they turn to family, church, and community for support? Or do they keep their distress to themselves? Research by Esteban Cardemil, et al. (2010) holds that Latinos are less likely to seek therapeutic help for emotional distress (Cardemil et al. 2010). Drawing on the work of Cardemil as well as literature and film, this study will explore the perspectives of five Latino men through the qualitative practice of a focus group in order to help answer the question: Why are Latino men less likely to seek help through therapy? Given that conventional approaches to therapy often give Latino men the idea that they will be poorly understood (Brooks, 2010), this investigation could slightly rub off some of the stigma Latino men have against therapy and mental health. My hope is that this research assists not only myself, but also Latino communities and professionals in mental health in understanding the Latino male mentality of seeking help through any form of therapy.