Men need help but shame regarding therapy gets in the way so they’re turning to each other for support instead.
San Diego, CA (PRWEB) October 02, 2014
Currently, domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. With recent high-profile cases spurring public outcry, efforts to curb domestic violence are heating up and a new movement of transformational men’s groups are being offered that discourage violence by teaching emotional skills. The basis for many of these groups is the emotional literacy movement which correlates higher emotional intelligence with lower domestic violence rates and many at-risk men are embracing the promise of emotional literacy and positive behavioral change.
“Men need help but shame regarding therapy gets in the way so they’re turning to each other for support instead,” says Ryan Moalemi, a men’s group facilitator in San Diego, California. Moalemi, who was on track to become a psychologist, opted for real world training instead and after completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology, attended a two-year practicum focusing on healing men’s emotional wounds. Quickly after, he began organizing men’s groups in San Diego as a way to use what he learned to improve his community.
“Guys trust my experience and relate to me because I’ve been through what they’re going through.” He explains that facing his own childhood trauma was the most difficult thing he has ever done but credits the painful process with saving his life. Now, he hopes his experience will serve as a reminder of what’s possible for other men, especially those with violent backgrounds.
“Domestic violence can be reduced by teaching men better ways of handling their emotions. The genetic and environmental makeup of violence is complex and it looks different for every person but one thing every human being has in common is our emotions; those are universal. Learning how to handle emotions in a healthy way is something a lot of guys were never taught and that's what I'm here to do."
Groups like his offer men a safe, judgment-free setting to understand their own emotional programming, by sharing personal stories and pain with a supportive group of like-minded men. When asked when the ah ha moments finally occur, Moalemi tells me that “the biggest breakthroughs happen when men finally face the feelings underneath of their anger.” Let’s say a man’s wife unknowingly embarrasses him in front of his friends. He feels intense shame when she does this, which leaves him feeling deflated and powerless. Guys don’t like shame so they react by covering up the shame with anger, which gives them a jolt of power. When he gets home, rather than sharing his shame with his wife, he instead indulges his anger and acts out by attacking her.”
Moalemi sees a hyper-masculine, American culture as partially to blame for men’s aversion toward “softer” feelings like shame and hurt and an over-identification with “harder” feelings like anger. “From the time we’re boys, we’re taught that its best to make decisions logically and that getting emotional is something bad, usually associated with weakness.” He believes that by teaching men to re-integrate their emotional selves into the rest of their lives, emotional wounds can heal and more mature, healthier relationships to emotions can be fostered; resulting in less violence and greater connection. "The goal of our groups is a healthy integration of all that makes up a man - soft and hard, light and dark, spine and heart; it's all there, nothing is left out."
About Ryan Moalemi: Ryan Moalemi provides cutting-edge techniques to coach, consult and guide men into more fulfilling lives. His areas of expertise include emotions, intimate relationships and past trauma. He currently resides in San Diego, California and you can learn more about his work at http://www.ryanmoalemi.com.
Funny fact: Due to time and budget constraints, Ryan Moalemi interviewed himself for this article.