There is a silent epidemic wreaking havoc in our culture.
— Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 35.
— Over three quarters (76%) of suicides are by males.
— In a survey of 1,000 men, 77% reported suffering from mental health symptoms, such as anxiety, stress and depression.
Despite these alarming statistics, men are unlikely (and often unwilling) to ask for help. One study found that 40% of men have never spoken to anyone about their mental health, with many reporting that they felt “too embarrassed” to do so.
All of this indicates that our current paradigm of masculinity is flawed, and that maybe “manning up” isn’t the answer.
Maybe it’s more about opening up instead.
However, it’s not that simple.
Research has revealed that 50% of men who committed suicide also contacted mental health services beforehand.
This suggests that not only are men struggling internally, our current mental health provisions are ill-equipped to meet their needs.
So, in this online conference, we’ll explore the root causes of the masculinity crisis and cast aside outdated (and toxic) assumptions about what it means to be a man. The sessions will offer a more hopeful vision of masculinity, as well as the best practices for helping men heal and begin thriving again in day-to-day life.
The sessions will be useful for helping professionals, men interested in better understanding themselves so they can thrive more in their lives, or anyone with a male friend or family member who suspects they might be going through a difficult time.
This introductory presentation will describe research-informed principles and strategies for improving therapeutic engagement with men in therapy. While there is considerable diversity between men (e.g., age, generation, sexuality, values, etc.), it is helpful for therapists to be aware of dominant masculine norms that their male clients may, to varying degrees, align with. A failure to be mindful and adapt to these norms may lead to misunderstanding, misdiagnosis, client resistance, and treatment discontinuation. Gender-informed male-friendly counselling, like any cross-cultural counselling, requires awareness of one’s own prejudices that could compromise treatment, an understanding of the client group’s gendered norms, and being able to adapt the treatment accordingly. This presentation will help therapists ensure they are mindful of common masculine norms, recognise potential prejudices, and identify effective strategies for delivering gender-informed male-friendly therapy with men.
Dr Nathan Beel, PhD is a Senior Lecturer and Counselling Discipline Lead in counselling at the University of Southern Queensland. He is a Clinical Member and registered Clinical Supervisor with the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA). He has been a practicing counsellor for over two decades. His professional interest is in the common factors of what works in counselling across modalities, feedback informed therapy, and counselling men.
He chose to undertake research male-friendly counselling after commonly having skilled therapists refer their ‘too resistant’ male clients to him. Rather than finding these men resistant, Nathan found them easy to engage and enthusiastic for change; and wondered why these normally effective therapists had failed to engage these clients. Based on what the clients and therapists reported, it appeared gender may have been a key explanatory factor. His doctoral studies were focused on identifying and synthesising recommendations for how to do male-friendly counselling. These recommendations were drawn from international scholarly literature, and from male-friendly therapists in Australia.
There’s an old AA saying: Hurt people hurt people. This presentation looks at the difficult men who present themselves for therapy either on their own or brought in by their partners. We will look at common themes of trauma in many men’s lives and how best to handle men’s wounds therapeutically; how trauma often translates into overt and covert depression which in turn fuels many typically male issues of self-medication and either sexual or aggressive acting out. Special attention will be paid to grandiosity in men and how to treat it. Practical techniques will be introduced to help men come up from the one down of shame, feelings of inferiority and also help men come down from the one up of grandiosity, feelings of contempt for others, or entitlement and being above the rules. The wound to girls is the loss of voice and disempowerment at the edge of adolescence. The wound to boys is not so much disempowerment but disconnection. The healing potential is reconnecting boys and men to their hearts, to their vulnerabilities, and to others. Connection heals trauma.
Terrence Real is an internationally recognized family therapist, speaker, and author. He founded the Relational Life Institute, offering workshops for couples, individuals, and parents along with a professional training program for clinicians to learn his Relational Life Therapy methodology. He is the bestselling author of I Don’t Want to Talk About It, How Can I Get Through to You?, and The New Rules of Marriage.
You can learn more about his work at www.terryreal.com.
In this talk, we will seek to demystify and remove the ‘loaded’ feelings that oftentimes arise for so many when we hear the term “toxic masculinity”. The term has become a part of the current lexicon and can serve to castigate half of the human population as inherently ‘bad’ or ‘negative’. Masculinity is not a negative aspect of the human condition in and of itself, but like anything else, left unchecked, almost anything can be harmful without constructive and healthy direction. In the confines of the belly of the beast that is New Folsom prison, a movement was born that gave way to what is known today as Inside Circle. A movement that began with convicted felons… many serving life plus who had grown tired of killing for the sake of killing and wanted to learn how to feel again. Today the circles that these men began over 25 years ago have come to be known as ‘healing circles’. From within the pits of despair, destruction and ruined lives… and from inside of one of the most ‘toxic’ environments on the face of the planet; what lessons are available about how men can grow to be healthy within their masculinity?
Eldra Jackson III, is the Co-Executive Director-Inside Circle, a writer and sought after public speaker on the topics of at-risk youth advocacy, effective criminal justice rehabilitation and turning around ‘toxic’ masculinity, Eldra brings clarity of purpose, mission focus, and inspiration to his role at Inside Circle. He was an inmate at New Folsom Prison when he found Inside Circle and began the inner personal journey that eventually led to his release in 2014 and his current leadership role. A living example of successful rehabilitation and re-entry, Eldra has dedicated his free time on the outside to serving at-risk youth, and acting as a facilitator, trainer, and mentor.
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