Why Focus on Men?
Compared with women, men are more likely to be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, attention deficit disorder, conduct disorder and many other mental health conditions that have their origins in impulse control problems. For example, men are more likely to be involved in serious auto accidents, in road rage and other violent confrontations, and even in infidelity. Also, men tend to dominate the sex offender population, just as they dominate the prisons. That makes it necessary to design a program that is men-specific and men-focused, as it addresses the psychosocial issues most likely to be of interest to men.
Interpersonal relationship difficulties, including problem with sustaining long-term romantic relationships; difficulties with managing anger and stress; impulse control problems, including difficulties with delaying gratification; recovery from substance abuse; criminal thinking and criminal values; life skills, including those for managing money; difficulties with emotion regulation; problems with finding and maintaining gainful employment, issues with low self-esteem, chronic depression and anxiety, and more.
Topics to be covered in the 16-week program will aim to enhance client’s overall mental health functioning. These will include personal accountability; problem-solving skills; anger and stress management skills; social skills and prosocial activities; shame, guilt and stigma; setting and respecting boundaries; self-management skills, particularly relapse prevention skills; and receiving legal assistance. Others could include appropriate measure to take when dealing with suicidal thoughts or behavior and the cognitive distortions that tend to sustain addictions of all sorts, as well as a host of criminal behaviors.
Group therapy approach will combine elements of psychoeducation, peer support and cognitive-behavioral treatment. It will be loosely structed such that peer-support, sharing real life experiences and feedback will be given considerable time. This is particularly so when it comes to working on instrumental skills, such as money management, resume writing, accepting feedback from authority figures, etc., just as with the development of basic social skills, particularly those needed to find a job or to maintain important personal relationships.
The cognitive-behavioral group interventions will be employed in effort to correct and eliminate criminal thinking errors. Peer confrontation will be encouraged, as a tool for group members to challenge maladaptive thinking patterns and other behaviors observed that may raise red flags for targeted behaviors.
Helping each group participant develop or use a relapse prevention plan, where indicated, is a key clinical strategy for this program. This reflects the fact that some group members would come to the group with long-term problems, such as recovery from addiction, which can be a life-long problem. These issues require work on a long-term basis, if not for life. Here, group members are helped to identify the factors or warning signs for targeted behavior and what actions to take (identification of high risk situations). Individuals are also assisted to develop a support team, to help them deal with high-risk situations. The good news is that the concept of relapse prevention planning is being applied to address many physical and mental health problems, including depression, substance abuse, sex offending, and more. In these, the basic process appears to be the same.