The third and final theory making up the framework for men’s treatment that we have developed is the emerging theory of men’s trauma. I am most definitely not an expert, per se, in this area. In fact, as I have mentioned in previous entries – this is meant to be a conversation and an opportunity for experts to come together and share their experience. Up until this time it has been more of a monologue – primarily as I have been trying to delineate the perspective from which we wrote the curriculum and from which I am speaking. But the time has come to get the conversation going. My good friend, Dr Larry Anderson, an expert in treating trauma disorders, is going to be our first guest blogger for the next blog entry and provide a much more in-depth explanation and exploration of the phenomenon of trauma. When Rick Dauer (one of the co-authors of Helping Men Recover) and I present on this topic there are several key points that we hit on:
· You cannot treat addiction without treating trauma. Trauma should be an expectation that is ruled out rather than an exception.
· There is a gendered phenomenon to trauma. That is, men and women experience trauma, respond to trauma, and display the symptoms of trauma differently.
· The socialization process for most men in our society is inherently traumatic.
· Because men tend to externalize the effects of trauma much of what we see as violent acting out, aggressive behavior, and antisocial personality traits could be the symptoms of untreated trauma.
· The acknowledgment of trauma, to many men, is tantamount to admitting that one is not or has not been a “real man.”
· We need male-specific services to help men heal the effects of trauma.
The concept and treatment of trauma have had an indelible impact on my life. I have the life I have today because of the work I have done the past five years in the area of trauma – that is both personal work as well as academic learning. There are few things that are revolutionizing our field and how we view and treat addiction more than our continually unfolding understanding of trauma. Having the best information, particularly from a clinical standpoint is always critical to provide the best treatment which is precisely why Dr. Anderson will be our guest blogger next month.
We would also love to hear from you and how you are seeing men’s trauma manifesting in the lives of your clients and what strategies you are using to support them.
Read more of Dan’s writings on men, addiction, and recovery at: www.dangriffin.com. Please also check out our “sister” blog by my colleague, Carol Ackley, here on the Addiction Professionals website.