When we hurt the people we love, sometimes it's because we don't know what else to do. We may have been raised in a family where we saw men hurting women or parents hurting children. We may never have seen a healthy relationship or learned the skills to manage our emotions or our behaviors. This may explain our beliefs and actions, but it's not an excuse.
As men we may feel the need to control those around us because of our insecurities. We may have difficulty recognizing and expressing feelings that we associate with weakness. We may be quick to rage. There comes a point when this has to change. When we hurt the ones we care for we lose their love. We also lose their trust and they become afraid of us. Fear isn't present in a healthy relationship whether that relationship is with a partner or with our children. Healthy relationships involve respect, communication, healthy boundaries and nurturing.
We are an Alaska State-approved Alternatives to Violence program (sometimes called a BIP). Our men's program focuses on assisting clients in identifying the abuse they've used, deconstructing the beliefs that justify the abuse and teaching them healthy relationship and parenting skills.
Change takes time. Our meetings are once a week and the program lasts for 36 weeks. Daytime and nighttime groups are offered. The groups are comprised of men ages 18 to 60 who have used abuse at some point in their life and who are now making changes in that pattern. While in group, participants learn that they are responsible and accountable for their choices and actions, critical thinking and analysis skills, and self-awareness. Some of the healthy relationship skills clients learn include: communication skills, identification and appropriate expression of emotions, de-escalation skills, assertiveness, problem solving, listening skills, self awareness, parenting skills, boundaries and accountability, as well as the origins and dynamics of abuse.
The men who attend group are supportive of each other and engage in the change process in a respectful manner. Group facilitators are highly trained and well respected in the field. We have a strong, progressive program that's been developed to address the specific issues involved with domestic violence and to utilize best practices when working with our clients.
For those who do not live in an area that offers a state-approved program, we have developed a schedule to accommodate rural clients who are required to attend program. Please call for details.
"I'm not necessarily happy that I'm here, but I'm happy that I'm getting help and getting better."
R.R. Men's Group Participant