TREND More men who used to shun psychotherapy are now spending time on the couch
HOW IT STARTED Tony Soprano made it O.K.
JUDGMENT CALL Why not? Even tough guys need help with complicated relationships
Therapy has been a mixed bag for Tony Soprano. It helped him figure out that his mother was trying to kill him, but it hasn't got rid of the panic attacks--and the new girlfriend he met in Dr. Melfi's waiting room isn't doing a lot to help his rocky marriage. Still, those sessions on the couch in The Sopranos may be having an impact outside the show. More tough guys who never would have considered therapy are breaking down and seeing a shrink, and some say Tony is one reason. "Tony's a tough guy. But he is a tough guy who cries, takes Prozac and sees a therapist," says a 42-year-old screenwriter who recently tried out the couch. "It makes it more approachable for any number of guys." Felicia Einhorn, a New York City psychotherapist, is seeing Tony's impact across the board in her practice. "Every patient comes in and talks about him," she says. "A lot of them ask what I think about the therapy sessions." The proportion of men seeking therapy has been rising, says psychiatrist Michael Blumenfield, partly because guys are learning that drugs like Prozac and Zoloft are "more effective, with less side effects" than older antidepressants. The Sopranos may be making men more comfortable with therapy for another reason: no matter what Dr. Melfi hears, she keeps her mouth shut.
--By Desa Philadelphia