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

Unitiated Young, Angry, White Men and How To Help Them Them
Written by Mike Shaffran   
Sadly, young men--often, white and uneducated--are becoming more violent in our society. There is an occasional incident in other industrialized countries with European populations but largely, acts of violence by predominantly white men like James Holmes, Adam Lanza or Dylan Ruff occur in the USA.While an occasional African-American, Latino, Asian or Middle Eastern man commits a heinous crime of random violence, it appears that the vaste majority are committed by young white men from early 20's to late 40's. Something is going on here like never before and law enforcement, stricter gun laws and backgrounds checks are not simply the answer. Nor is the solution as simple are creating more jobs for working and middle class white men--but clearly,it can't hurt. The something deeper that is happening in our increasingly more fragmented and divided country is a lack of mentorship, role modeling and sense of belonging to community. An excellent book by Sebastian Junger looked at bonding in small military units and "platoons" on the battle field. Male soldiers (no studies of female soldiers yet) created what he calls a Tribe. He feels that throughout history all humans have bonded in their respective tribes. It seems to me, as a psychotherapist for over 30 years experience, that this is an important ingredient in our society that is missing today. It appears that there was much of this before families, institutions and the national economy unraveled. Even in African-American ghettos, you rarely see this random violence perpetrated on civilians like the movie massacre in Colorado or the slaughter of children in Connecticut at an elementary school or the mass murder of church goers in South Carolina or even the assassination attempt of a US Congresswoman in Arizona. While there is violence among gang members and drive by shootings that are horrific, there is still a code of conduct that precludes these random acts of violence in the "hood." Why is it then that white men in urban and rural areas are acting out their rage with deadly assault weapons? What has gone wrong in America and perhaps, the world at large, that warrants this behavior. Of course, the answer is quite complex but as a social worker and psychotherapist who has worked in prisons, mental hospitals, outpatient mental health clinics and private practice, the theme that comes up all the time is that there was no father or male mentor--or the father was emotionally or physically abusive (sometimes, even sexually) or completely absent due to working all the time or because parents were divorced. If there is any hope to change the way boys and men feel about themselves, we need strong and tender fathers or father figures to provide all American males with supporting, encouraging, listening, accepting, trusting, respecting, and negotiating differences type of men ( this from Dr. William Glasser's, Choice Theory). This would be a very good start if male teachers, coaches, counselors, clergy, fathers, business leaders et al. could provide these positive attitudes and role modeling to all boys, adolescents and young men throughout our nation. Perhaps, we could see a precipitous drop in random violence among these alienated young men and maybe, even an elimination of this destructive behavior someday. I certainly hope so!
 
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