EuroPROFEM - The European Men Profeminist Network http://www.europrofem.org
Manscentrum in Stockholm Sweden
More information: http://www.manscentrum.se/
Crises Center for Men Per Elis Eliasson Counsellor
Manscentrum, founded in 1988, is the crises center for males in Stockholm Sweden. The center is run by a private foundation financially supported by various public and private sources. The day-to-day operations of the center are maintained by 3 professional counselors and a part-time administrator. The centers purpose is to provide men with support, counseling and short-term therapy, and to work towards improved cooperation and understanding between men and women.
Each day the center receives a great number of telephone calls. Information and services are provided by phone, and, in many cases, appointments are made. There are about 450 visitors per year and so far more than 6000 men have recieved help from the center. Sometimes women join their men, or even come alone, but family therapy is not normally offered. The center's work is focused on finding solutions for the problems described either on the telephone, or at the first appointment by the man seeking help.
The average visitor finds himself caught in something he cannot handle. It goes far beyond his experiences, and makes him feel helplessly lost. Divorces, family violence - all sorts of life crises - cause emotional trauma that in many cases make men unable to work, to sleep, or to eat.
Problems dealt with include everything which might occur in everyday life. The group of men who visit the center closely reflect the social and professional makeup of the town of Stockholm and its surrounding areas. Middle-aged men are in the majority, but there are also very young men, as well as much older men.
Manscentrum does not offer long-term psychotherapy. Only a few men visit the center more than 10 times. After 3-6 meetings most visitors are able to handle their emotional and practical problems well enough to proceed on their own. When long-term professional treatment appears to be necessary, the man is given advice about where to find it.
In general, any man may contact Manscentrum, but problems being treated somewhere else are normally not handled. A man with problems that require other types of professional expertise will be referred elsewhere. Manscentrum, therefore, fills the gap that exists between the functions of official and private institutions.
The advantage of a politically and religiously independent center, such as Manscentrum, is that it only provides required help. The counseling is not regulated by any official legislation. No journals are kept, and all information about men visiting the center is kept confidential. The cost per appointment is only 150:- Skr. All of these factors make it easier for men to make their way to our doors. The alternative, in many cases, would probably be that a man gets lost in the gray zone between social services and psychiatric care, or turns instead to a bottle of something.
Men who struggle with problems of violent or aggressive natures are finding their ways to the center in growing numbers. In 1997 these men accounted for close to 25 % of all visitors to Manscentrum. The victims in most cases are close relatives, mainly women and children. We also meet men who are violent to strangers on the street, in a bar, etc. In these cases, most victims are other men.
A man, violent to his spouse is, in most cases, clearly aware of his defeat and his feelings are shame, panic and sorrow. He feels caught in an evil circle and can´t find the way out. Yet he will not admit his missdeed, until his violence "hits back" on him in an unpleasent way. Police involvement or his wife leaving will probably cause enough despaire to make him contact Manscentrum.
The idea of battering men not responding to treatment seem to be videly spread. This is a far to pessimistic wiew on the problem. Most of them can stop being violent.
To change destruktive behavour the violent man must learn to stop blaming his violence on somebody else. He need to gain clear awareness of his contribution to escalated conflicts. He need new scills handling his close relations and he must learn how to manner his impulses.
At Manscentrum every contact starts with a personal appointment to find the appropriate way of treating each mans problem. Individual counseling is still the most common treatment for men who batter. Since 1991, men have also been given the opportunity to participate in a specially-designed group therapy program. The methods used were initially modeled on some basic theories taken from The Center for Violence Intervention and Research in Montreal, Canada. Manscentrum has, over the years, developed a good set of approaches that, in most cases, help men to stop being violent.
In 1995 Manscentrum took part in the creation of a Swedish network for studies on men. The network is a forum for scientists and others with an interest in men's lives. Manscentrum also plays an important role in the International Association for Studies on Men (IASOM).
Manscentrum is open Monday through Friday. Telephone calls are taken daily from 8:30 AM to 10:00 AM. The answering machine is on at all other times.
Telephones: +46 8 643 -11 83, or -1184, or -1186. Fax: +46 8 55603452.