As my career has developed, I have worked with a diversity of men and men's groups. I have a passion to study, research and practice the most effective therapeutic interventions and supports that are male-specific. The incidences of male mental health difficulties are quite often under and inaccurately reported in both the media and official circles, but the actual statistics for male-specific struggles are frightening. Men in Ireland are four times as likely to end their own lives as women. Our prisons are mostly populated by men. Homelessness has historically disproportionately affected men. Alcohol and addiction issues have traditionally been a male issue and the majority of people who either perpetrate or are the victim of violence are male. If we take these reported statistics and incidences as key markers of male mental health issues, it is clear that any therapeutic interventions and/or strategies must be male-specific and based on very clear and research-based knowledge of male behaviours.
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.
Anger is an emotion that is becoming an unwanted and sometimes destructive feature of many people’s lives. We live in a pressurised world and unfortunately, in many cases, this pressure becomes manifested as anger, predominately in men and boys, but not exclusively so. I work with individuals to help them firstly understand the source of the anger and then we develop options together to enable them to control and ultimately replace the anger behaviours.
I have extensive experience in working with individuals who have behaved abusively towards their intimate partners. This process involves taking responsibility for the abusive behaviour, understanding the impact of the abusive behaviour and identifying the causes for this behaviour. The focus is on stopping the abusive behaviours. The safety of the partner and children are at the core of this specialist intervention work.
There are some fantastic 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.