Working It Through combines conceptual training on male sexual trauma with specific intervention skills and strategies to empower frontline workers to intervene with men who have experienced trauma. This combination of trauma theory and practice – with an emphasis on cognitive, psychodynamic and experiential approaches – addresses many of the practical and clinical concerns of front-line helping professionals. Using a variety of learning modalities, this training delivers a steady-paced, participatory and focused opportunity for in-depth learning.
The first day begins by exploring both personal and cultural values associated with masculinity, male psychology and the therapeutic process. In particular, the intersection between men’s gender coding and facing their wounds is explored: Why are men reluctant to seek help? Men’s trauma is then charted via current research on sexual abuse and sexual assault as foundations of understanding. The notion of trauma is further explored conceptually as well as through experiential portrayal, video testimonials and small-group learning. The day finishes with a trauma-informed meditation – another skill to stay strong in this line of work.
The second day emphasizes a variety of clinical strategies working with male survivors, which are demonstrated though lecture, role plays, dramatic presentations, experiential opportunities and group discussion. Psychodynamic and experiential skills are taught that are both road-tested for trauma recovery and are “male-friendly” in their design. Again, there is opportunity for deeper reflection in both small and large group discussions, finishing with a grounding meditation before the day concludes.
The third day tackles some of the most challenging aspects of men’s work: addressing anger, rage and violence, as well as understanding compulsive and problematic aspects of men’s sexual behaviour. Understanding and addressing shame is the day’s theme – seeing it as the “master emotion” when it comes to effective and respectful engagement. The day balances insight, conceptualization and meaningful approaches to engaging on these issues. The training finishes with strengths-based exercises for the participants, along with multi-faceted reflections of men’s healing. We say goodbye after the final meditation experience.
Overall, Working It Thorough lends itself to groups that are committed to deeper learning, as well as those with varied academic and professional backgrounds and particularly to those who recognize the challenges of trauma-skills development in light of their own adverse childhood experiences. Learning occurs in both small and large group activities, offering reflection around personal strengths and professional challenges. Lastly, there is sufficient ‘flex” to address the unique aspects of each learning group. In sum, Working It Through offers the best of trauma-intervention training combined with reflection for personal and professional growth.