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Men’s Trauma Affects Their Recovery and Relationships

November 29, 2018

Mental health professionals can improve treatment through trauma-centered and gender-responsive approaches. When men seek treatment for addiction, depression, and mental health disorders the outcomes are often quite positive. However, there is still room for improvement, since the risk for relapse after treatment is still somewhat high. Dan Griffin, an American sociologist who has studied gender and recovery and trained at Hazelden as a chemical dependency counselor, thinks that the men would be more likely to maintain recovery if treatment programs take a more trauma-centered and gender-specific approach.

In December, Griffin will travel to Ireland where he will present new frameworks for treating men with behavioral health issues and for investigating issues that are unique to men and women in sobriety. His workshops integrate the latest thinking on addiction and recovery, relational-cultural theory, male psychological development, and trauma.

“I have always wanted to visit Ireland. And it has been a dream of mine to be able to bring my work there. And now thanks to some wonderful people, particularly my friend and colleague David Brown and our new friends at Smarmore Castle that is going to happen,” Griffin said. “The impact of generational trauma on the Irish, particularly as relates to addiction and mental health—which has been mocked and lampooned for decades—is only now truly starting to be appreciated and illuminated. I know that I don’t fully understand the depth of the impact of this but I most certainly have seen the effects on my family. I go as a student as much as a teacher.”

On Dec. 6, Griffin will present Helping Men Recover—Trauma Informed Treatment for Men, a full-day workshop for mental health professionals at Smarmore Castle Private Clinic in Smarmore, County Louth. It will focus on a holistic look at men’s sobriety and treatment of male trauma. Lunch will be provided. Information on how to register is available on the Smarmore Clinic’s website. On Dec. 7, Griffin will present New Relationship Tools for Men and Women in Recovery, a workshop in which mental health professionals will investigate how each gender responds to emotional sobriety, how being men and women affects recovery, and the challenges of developing relationships and a balanced recovery in the 21st century. It will take place at the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin. More information is available on the Smarmore Clinic’s website.

Smarmore Castle Private Clinic’s Development Director, Dominic McCann, says he’s glad to help expand mental health professionals understanding of how gender affects treatment through Griffin’s framework:

“Dan Griffin’s important and internationally recognized literature on men’s issues around addiction and trauma has long been known and used at Castle Craig, and now at Smarmore Castle as well. We are delighted to be helping Dan by jointly organizing his workshops in Ireland, and introducing his work to a new audience,” he said.