Hard to believe, and a bit embarrassing, but our last blog entry was a full two years ago. Much has transpired since then for both of us, but our work has remained focused on men and trauma, particularly as relates to addiction and recovery. In that last entry we introduced a model of treatment for men that is gender-responsive, trauma-informed, recovery-oriented, culturally humble, and spiritually enriched.
Inspired by the work of Drs. Stephanie Covington, Roger Fallot, Maxine Harris and Barbara Bloom, this model is called Men's Integrated Treatment. We have dedicated much of our time and energy in the past two years to bringing this model of care to treatment centers, recovery courts and correctional facilities across the United States and in Canada. The response has been enthusiastic and encouraging. Countless organizations have committed to improving men's treatment, designing services that take into account and address male psychological development and the pervasive effects of trauma.
We are convinced that male trauma profoundly impacts addiction treatment and furthermore is a central factor in all healthcare, social service and criminal justice systems. Considering that male trauma is underreported, poorly understood, and often misdiagnosed, due to symptoms that frequently are expressed through self-destructive and/or aggressive actions, it is our contention that we must re-evaluate everything we think we know about men, addiction, mental health, and criminal behavior. While awareness and understanding are increasing, and programs are taking steps to redesign or enhance services, there remains much work to be done.
We have had the honor to be involved in several key events in the last two years that have helped move this important work forward. In May 2013, with funding from the Ohrstrom Foundation, Dan, working with C4 Recovery Solutions and The Bridge to Recovery, organized the first-ever summit on males and trauma. A distinguished group of 23 leaders in the field came to consensus and created the “Eight Agreements” on males, trauma and addiction treatment.
At a second meeting in October 2013, in association with the Gender Matters Conference sponsored and supported by CeDAR at the University of Colorado Hospital, a smaller group convened, evolving from the summit and committed to the further development and dissemination of the Eight Agreements. As a direct result of these efforts, the Males, Addiction and Trauma Recovery International Consortium (MATRIC) was conceived to create a unified voice and the structure necessary to further the work initiated by the participants at the inaugural event. In 2014, CeDAR held “Gender Matters, Men Matter,” the first-ever national conference dedicated to exploring the intersection of male psychological development, trauma, and addiction.
As noted, we are so encouraged and optimistic that these and similar activities are driving a movement that will yield far better outcomes for the men we serve. Male trauma and abuse, experienced and perpetrated, has been and will continue to be one of the predominant factors in the processes of addiction and recovery. In fact, we deeply believe that we must improve services for men and women.