“What we would have considered a decade ago as a standard dual diagnosis or personality disorder may actually be the result of underlying emotional damage that happened during childhood and was never dealt with,” explains Pete Maclearie, MSW, LCSW, Adult Clinical Manager at Princeton House’s Eatontown site, which now features a Men’s Trauma Program. “Many men don’t realize that what they lived through in the past can play out in every relationship in their future.”
It’s becoming more common for the signs of past trauma in men to emerge later in life as depression, anxiety, anger, frustration, chronic fatigue, and physical ailments ranging from migraines to irritable bowel syndrome, according to Maclearie. Often, these men turn to substances or disengage from their family and friends to compensate.
“Trauma locks people into a certain set of automatic responses that they continue to rely on throughout life, shaping their world view,” says Maclearie. “Those behaviors might have worked in the past, but the past is not the present. Creating flexibility is critical to finding new pathways that reduce symptoms and promote healing.”
The Men’s Trauma Program offers the time to build initial trust and safety, and from there helps patients recognize their trauma responses, broaden their window of tolerance,
and build their understanding of the elements they need to move forward. Providing both psychoeducation and psychotherapy, the program is unique in that it:
- Rolls with resistance, finding ways to engage men who want help but don’t yet know how to receive it
- Gives men the time and space needed to succeed
- Examines all behaviors through a trauma lens, and then targets those behaviors hat impede progress
“We are creating a unique experience in treatment, especially for men who come to our program with preconceived notions about intensive therapy,” says Maclearie. “Instead of problem-solving a specific issue in their lives, we are enhancing their understanding of where these urges or behaviors are coming from and helping them build the insight and skills necessary to reclaim their lives.”
"With limited time in outpatient treatment settings, it can be challenging to determine when more trauma-focused treatment is needed. If patients find themselves continually angry and resistant but are willing to show up—or if they express the desire to get better despite worsening symptoms—our program is the place for them.” ~ Pete Maclearie, Adult Clinical Manager at Eatontown
For more information about the Men's Trauma Program, visit princetonhouse.org/men or call 888.437.1610.
Article as seen in the Spring 2019 issue of Princeton House Behavioral Health Today.