Michael Shaffran, LCSW

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Quick Facts

  • CARING, COMPASSIONATE AND CONCERNED COUNSELOR
  • 35 YEARS IN THE MENTAL HEALTH AND PSYCHIATRY PROFESSION
  • TRAINED IN MULTIPLE THERAPIES: GESTALT, EMDR, HYPNOSIS, SOLUTION FOCUSED,
    PSYCHODYNAMIC AND FAMILY THERAPY
  • PROVIDES THERAPY IN SPANISH AND UNDERSTANDS LATINO AND HISPANIC CULTURES
  • MULTICULTURAL BACKGROUND: TAUGHT ENGLISH IN KOREA; TRAVELLED THROUGH ASIA, RUSSIA, EUROPE AND THE CARIBBEAN

Men Healing Men
Written by Mike Shaffran   

The world is changing. There is a relatively new phenomenon in which men are healing other men; thereby, themselves. There are men’s groups sprouting up all over this country in rural, suburban and urban areas. Whether a faith based group like Promise Keepers or a non-denominational group like the Mankind Project (which is international—8 countries, including the US), men are coming together to co-facilitate groups that support and nurture one another. Some men’s groups have weekends that start the process of change through initiation rites, borrowing from Native American culture. There are groups that focus on healing men in prison. There are groups for older men that emphasize Elderhood and its importance for society. Ancient cultures had elders who mentored and modeled wisdom and compassion for its younger men and boys (women and girls as well).

Of course, men have always gotten together to bond. The Veterans of Foreign Wars, Lions Clubs, Kiwanis, Rotary International, etc. have been around since the 1940’s.I’m sure that there have been men’s clubs way before them as well. The 1970’s saw the Advent of men’s groups and the beginning of what was called the “Men’s Movement”, which grew out of the “Women’s Movement” of the late 60’s. Most men’s groups were to help men adjust to the changing roles of women that shifted political and economic power to more women in society. Many middle class and upper class men became confused or threatened by their place in society with women who has slogans like: “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.” These “New Age Men” decided that it was time that they explored their inner realms and found other ways to be a man other than as bread winner and tough, stoic male like their World War II fathers before them.Unfortunately, these men’s groups seemed to wane during the late 70’s until around 1985 when an American poet named Robert Bly wrote Iron John which launched what some call the “Modern Day Men’s Movement.”

There are thousands of men across the country (and world) meeting regularly to heal themselves from old emotional wounds so that they can become better fathers, husbands, lovers, sons, brothers, etc. The Mankind Project organization (of which I am a member) has initiated over 40,000 men in the US and 7 other countries since its founding in 1985. Churches, synagogues and mosques also have various men’s groups to do bible study or develop male friendships but very few focus on building self-esteem and helping them accept the new economic and political paradigms. The Mankind Project organization and men’s groups like them help men explore this “brave new world” where men and women are sharing child rearing duties, household chores and economic parity where greater gender equality is emerging. These shifting gender, political and economic roles offer a great challenge to men (and women) everywhere and men’s groups help men make sense of them so that they can heal and transform themselves in this “new age.”

Finally, these men’s groups are an evolutionary jump in that men express a full range of emotions: anger, sadness (and tears), joy, fear among their “brothers” and take this rich palette of emotions home to their loved ones so that they can be more loving and emotionally available to their family, friends and community. The men who chose to heal themselves are not only co-creating a paradigm shift but a world that works for everyone.

 
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