Targeting Behavioral Health: Male-Only Facilities

Jun 12, 2022

Why is a male-only treatment facility beneficial? This topic has been studied by many, and while findings can vary a bit, many are in favor of gender-specific programs. There are various reasons this type of environment can be superior to other co-ed competitors. Benefits can range from fewer distractions to targeted similar interests. One valuable advantage lies in the ability a male-based treatment center has to address the specific behavioral tendencies and needs men face as they battle addiction and enter treatment. 

Gender ‘Norms’

Society expects men to be masculine and tough. Historically, seeking help for mental health disorders or diseases such as addiction was frowned upon by some. Despite how far things have progressed with time, the expectation for men to always be tough and deal with problems internally remains. This being the case, it is understandable that there is a certain level of discomfort for men as they enter into treatment and engage in therapies, groups, and other activities that may highlight their weaknesses and needs.

A male treatment center can expect clients to enter with some level of pride, shame, or discomfort as a result of these societal norms. Staff members are able to prepare for these potential obstacles and have strategies for helping incoming clients cope with these feelings. These treatment centers are often staffed with primarily or strictly male staff, helping clients feel comfortable and assured they are being led by people to whom they can relate. 


Let’s look at things from a behavioral standpoint. Research suggests that men experience addiction differently than women. Men typically struggle a bit more with accepting that they may be in a position where they need some help or support. Furthermore, men may have difficulty with taking that step to actually seek help. As a rule, men tend to feel ashamed or as if seeking help can be viewed as a sign of weakness. It is this mindset that can often deter males from seeking treatment in the first place.

Men and women experience and respond to processes of addiction differently, so male behavior tends to vary from female behavior during treatment. Men tend to be more ashamed and feel embarrassed to share or express emotions. Offering an environment of “males only” can help men open up and feel slightly more comfortable sharing.  

Men can also have more of a sense of pride, and may resist or resent feeling as though they have lost their sense of freedom as they enter treatment. Male treatment facilities are able to reduce these feelings by implementing choices and involving them in their treatment plans. This creates a sense of some control and can be comforting. 


Male treatment centers can keep these gender “norms“ in mind as they develop programs and services. While this can be somewhat generalized, it is still important for clinicians and staff to understand what defines masculinity for each individual client. The way in which staff approach male clients can make all the difference, and determine whether they feel comfortable moving forward or engaging fully in the process. Seeking to understand what motivates each client is a great place to begin. Clinicians can creatively engage male clients by asking what a client hopes to change via treatment or what he hopes to gain by beginning treatment.

The reasons men seek treatment tend to align from client to client. For example, men of a certain age are often pressured by family or work to seek treatment and make a change. This commonality is something that programs can build upon. Keeping these reinforcers and motivators in mind allows staff to adapt curricula and focus groups to address these specific issues.

Family Pressures

Men who have families, spouses, or significant others tend to be pressured by their loved ones to seek treatment. Perhaps an ultimatum was issued, or perhaps trust has been broken and there are simply no more chances. Men in this situation can often relate to others facing similar stakes and feeling that same pressure. 

Career Pressures

Another common reason men often seek treatment is due to the barrier addiction has posed to their ability to obtain and or maintain employment. Men feel a need to provide, if not for others, at least for themselves. Many jobs require drug testing or at least a level of reliability many are unable to provide while battling drug or alcohol addiction

Men who have made the decision to seek treatment may be in a very vulnerable place. This means it is very important that topics are addressed sensitively. Respecting the way men might be feeling during this time is imperative. A male-focused facility can adapt to these sensitivities and create lessons and programs accordingly. 

There are many benefits of a male-only treatment facility. These benefits can include common interests, similar motivators and goals, and fewer distractions. Having staff, facilitators, and other peers who understand things from a male perspective and have experienced similar struggles can be very beneficial. A sense of brotherhood is created fostering a safe space for incoming and existing clients to feel comfortable sharing their experiences and expressing themselves. Renaissance Ranch is a male-only treatment facility that offers a variety of inpatient and outpatient programs and services. We use a combination of evidence-based treatments and therapies with spiritual principles to address the overall health and well-being of each client. If you or someone you care about is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, pick up the phone today. Take the first step toward change by calling Renaissance Ranch at (801) 308-8898.