The co-construction of helping services in the community of Ennerdale is a study that explores men’s reluctance to make use of helping and psychological services. Academic and informal literature informs us that men are often unwilling to seek medical or psychological assistance and that the male stereotypes view these services as utilised only by the weak and powerless. A great part of men’s unwillingness is furthermore related to historical male roles and the perception that the helping, and specifically the psychological services, are for the weak and insane. This research study was conducted in the Community of Ennerdale, a community south of Johannesburg. A focus group was conducted with adult male volunteers from the community and individual interviews were conducted with two psychologists, one medical doctor, and one church minister. The study was conducted from a social constructionist epistemology that falls within the qualitative research framework. The social constructionist epistemology views our (individuals) understanding and views of our world as a uniquely social process that is influenced by our gender, culture, language, and history. A discourse analysis was utilised to analyse the information obtained from both the focus group and individual interviews. The results from this research study indicate that a great part of men’s reluctance is related to the dominant male discourses and male scripts that construct men as superior and proud individuals who are not supposed to display weakness or inability. The helping and psychological services are constructed as services that assist the weak, insane and powerless, constructing an identity of weakness and insanity which men wait to avoid. The most common indicator for men’s reluctance is the historical constructs of the helping services and the historical constructs and discourses related to masculinity and appropriate male behaviour.
Dissertation (MA (Counselling Psychology))--University of Pretoria, 2006.