The Manam Clinic is a pioneering approach to men’s mental and emotional health and well-being. It has been developed by myself, Luke Devlin, a practicing and accredited psychotherapist with IACP. Through my extensive work and experience working with men, I have recognised that the sometimes narrow confines and descriptions of traditional counselling and psychotherapy can act as a potential barrier to men seeking support. The reasons for these barriers are complex and need to be understood as perhaps a shortcoming in what is being offered as opposed to a perceived reluctance in the individual man to utilise an appropriate and effective support.
The word Manam
is an amalgamation of two words:
Male: To signify the gendered approach and focus
Anam: The Irish word for Identity
The Manam Clinic approaches are broad ranging, and they all share a centred focus on Male Identity, and how this identity has been informed, experienced, lived out and, in some instances, caused a conflict with how a man lives and experiences his life.
Adult Male Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse
Many of the men who work with me, and who have survived childhood sexual abuse, have found the male identity model beneficial in understanding issues around the barriers to disclosure of the abuse, the dynamics of power and control in abuse as well as any coping strategies they may have employed throughout their lives to deal with the trauma and effect of the abuse.
The incidences of male mental health difficulties are often under and inaccurately reported in both the media and official statistics. The actual figures for male specific experiences are frightening. Men, in Ireland, are four times as likely to end their own lives as women. Our prisons are mostly populated by males. Homelessness has, historically, disproportionately affected men. Alcohol and addiction issues have traditionally been an overtly male phenomena and the majority of people who either perpetrate or are the victim of violence are men. If we were to take these reported statistics and incidences as key markers of male mental health issues, it becomes very obvious that any therapeutic interventions and supports must be male specific and based on very clear and research based knowledge of the male experience.
It is my experience working with men, that before any effective therapeutic interventions and supports can be utilised, there must be an understanding of the conditioning that has, and is constantly taking place. This conditioning is central in informing us about how to be men, and is both positive and negative. It can also be the obstacle that keeps men from reaching out and seeking assistance when circumstances might suggest they need to. Quite often the only emotion that men express or feel they are allowed to validate is anger. This has detrimental effects not only for the man, but everybody they interact with. The work I do with men individually and in group is based on developing an understanding of our individual and collective male identities. This work is undertaken with the man and is uniquely individual to every man I work with.
In Ireland, we have some great organisation’s such as Pieta House (1800 247247) and Suicide or Survive (1890 577577) offering support and information in all aspects of suicide and self-harming behaviours. I also work with clients to help them navigate the crises and support them as they identify different coping strategies.
***Important to Note***
If you have a concern about your safety or the safety of another individual contact the emergency services on 999 or 112.