Introductory Practitioner Interview Series

Working with men who have been sexually abused

The Living Well Introductory Practitioner Interview Series has been developed to support those meeting and working with men who have been sexually abused in childhood, and their partners, families, and friends. At Living Well we are aware that men who have been sexually abused or sexually assaulted are not only starting to speak of their experiences, but looking to access professional support to deal with the impact of child sexual abuse on their lives and relationships. We are also aware that whilst there has been a long history of developing services and support for women who have been sexually abused, development in relation to working with men who have been sexually abused has been quite limited. So too have opportunities to share knowledge and skills in working with this group of men and their partners, families and friends.

This series of practitioner videos draws on the practical knowledge and skills of professionals who have between 3 and 30 years of experience working with men who have been sexually abused or sexually assaulted. They are part of an expanding series of online resources that Living Well are developing to support practitioners and aid in professional development.

Our intention in interviewing the practitioners has been to create a practical resource that shares knowledge and skills in a way that is accessible and practically useful. In hearing the diverse practitioners speak and reflect upon their practice, we hope that workers are encouraged to increase their knowledge and interest in supporting men who have been abused and their loved ones and see how valuable, rewarding and do-able the work is.

The practitioner videos

Engagement

Disclosure

Gender power identity

Understanding trauma

Safety, trust and shame

Advocacy, control, hope

Managing overwhelming feelings and thoughts

Assisting men

Justice

Partners

Group work

Challenges

If you are considering working with men

Useful support

Living Well wish to acknowledge the generosity of the clients, practitioners, specialist services, and funding agencies who have supported the development of the 'Introductory Practitioner Interview Series'. Thank you to Cameron, Cate, Heather, Kaye, Kent, Merilyn, Mikel, Noel, and Penny for sharing your extensive knowledge and learning. Thank you to the Canberra Service Assisting Male Survivors of Sexual Assault (SAMSSA) and to the Melbourne Northern Centre Against Sexual Assault (Northern CASA). Thank you to Victim Assist Queensland, Department of Justice and Attorney-General and to the Commonwealth Department of Social Services, as funders of Royal Commission Community Based Support Services and to Pixel Frame for technical support and guidance in compiling the video material.

Department of Social Services 

The practitioners

Cameron

Cameron Boyd B. Soc Wk PhD. is based in Melbourne. He works at the Northern Centre Against Sexual Assault, as a Counsellor/Advocate with people who have been sexually abused. In 2013 he completed his PhD at Deakin University, looking at how psychological measurement has produced and shaped professional understandings of the effects of child sexual abuse. Cameron has worked in a range of counselling, community, and research settings over the last 20 years, focusing primarily on issues affecting people who have been subjected to abuse and violence.

Cate

Cate Harvey has worked as a Specialist Counsellor (Male Sexual Assault) with the Living Well service since 2009. She is a social worker who has a particular interest in how grief, loss, and traumatic life events can shape lives and impact on relationships in both positive and in negative ways. She has broad clinical experience in assisting people who have experienced family and domestic violence, including sexual assault and elder abuse, across a range of government and community settings and within both health and legal contexts. Cate holds a Bachelor degree from Macquarie University, a Bachelor degree in Social Work from the University of Queensland and Postgraduate Diplomas from the University of Sydney and from Queensland University of Technology where she also teaches in both the undergraduate and postgraduate Social Work and Human Services programs.

Gary

Gary Foster's B. Soc Wk PhD. work and research interests centre on addressing the problems of violence. He is the founder and manager of the Living Well Service that provides assistance to men who have been sexually abused in childhood or sexually assaulted as an adult, as well as to their partners, families, and friends (www.livingwell.org.au). Gary's doctoral thesis 'Male Rape and the Government of Bodies' examined the limits of current understandings and governmental responses to the problem of male rape. He was a police officer in the Metropolitan Police for 15 years, coordinating a domestic violence unit and designated chaperone, investigator responding to sexual violence. Gary has presented at national and international conferences in relation to working with men subjected to sexual violence. He has co-authored Living Well: A Guide for Men and developed the Living Well app.

Heather

Heather Lord is a clinical social worker who has worked at the Living Well service as a Specialist Counsellor (Male Sexual Assault) since 2011. She has over 30 years' experience working in community services, hospitals, government agencies, and in private practice. Over the last 10 years she has worked specifically with women and men who have experienced childhood sexual abuse or sexual assault as an adult, and also with their partners, families, and friends. She has broad clinical experience working with people who have found themselves in vulnerable circumstances due to family and domestic violence, sexual abuse and assault, poor physical health and mental health, substance addictions, often with poor socio-economic consequences and with impacts on family and personal relationships. She is particularly interested the effects of loss and grief and in the complex nature of trauma, and in assisting people to understand the impacts of these in their lives and to address these. Her work is based on the belief that people who have had traumatic experiences can draw on, rediscover and learn many personal strengths and skills, and that they can move on to connect with others in new and positive ways, to have meaningful relationships and to lead fulfilling lives.

Jack

Jack Dalby has been a counsellor at SAMSSA since 2006, providing counselling and support for male survivors of sexual assault, mostly with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. He is currently the manager of Canberra Rape Crisis Centre's support service for people approaching the Child Abuse Royal Commission. Jack’s background is in psychology. He has worked as a manager in the homelessness sector, and has many years experience in the Australian Public Service, most recently working on the development of community referral frameworks and the Family Violence Strategy for the Australian Department of Human Services.

Kaye

Kaye Rigby B. Ed. (Psych) is a Counsellor/Advocate at the Northern Centre Against Sexual Assault, Melbourne, Victoria. During her time as a youth worker, Kaye found she was receiving a large number of disclosures of sexual assault from the young people she was working with. Kaye was drawn to helping these young people find a way to make sense of these traumatic experiences and to reconnect with a sense of hope for their future. Her passion for making a difference in this area has continued to grow since that time, and I have for the past 10 years been employed as a Sexual Assault Counsellor/Advocate – a role which also involves community education to help raise awareness and contribute to cultural change.

Kent

Kent Smith is a Mental Health Social Worker in private practice. He has worked as a counsellor and family therapist for over 30 years. His major areas of interest and professional expertise are; working with refugee survivors of torture and trauma, working with people who have experienced interpersonal violence and abuse, working with combat veterans, and working with couples and families who have been impacted by trauma. His interest in working in the area of trauma is based on his belief that this is actually a very hopeful area; people who have experienced horrific events do not need to experience the effects of these events to be a 'life sentence' but can instead go on to lead healthy and fulfilling lives with deep and meaningful connections to other human beings.

Merilyn

Merilyn Hay is a Counsellor Advocate at the Northern Centre Against Sexual Assault in Melbourne, Victoria, where she has worked for twelve years facilitating the process of assisting people work towards healing from sexual assault trauma. She has worked for approximately twenty-five years in counselling and community development in Victoria and remote locations in Western Australia, South Australia, and Northern Territory with Indigenous communities. Merilyn has extensive experience working with people who have been subjected to violence, both recent and historical. Her therapeutic work is strongly influenced by a feminist philosophical viewpoint which informs the work she does with people impacted by sexual assault trauma. Merilyn says her strong sense of social justice was influenced by family and community and further developed in political activism and her professional work commitment.

Mikel

Mikel Azure S.E.N. B.th. Dip.Min. GradDip. CommunityCouns. was introduced to counselling skills and values at the family meal table, listening in on the conversations of his parents who were both counsellors. He developed an Existential Model of counselling as a major component of his B.Th. studies, and applied this as an integrated element of his professional role as a minister of religion for the next twenty years. It was here that he first encountered courageous survivors of childhood sexual assault, who introduced Mikel to the scale and complexity of the challenges survivors of sexual assault wrestle with daily. Their achievements in the face of those challenges left Mikel with an abiding respect for their resilience and a deep appreciation for the possibilities of healing which can exist despite the impacts of profound trauma. From 2011 until June 2014, Mikel worked as a counsellor advocate and an anti-violence educator at the Service Assisting Male Survivors of Sexual Assault (SAMSSA) at the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre. During his tenure at SAMSSA, Mikel applied mindfulness, existential and somatic therapy components within an overarching Trauma Therapy framework. Mikel works in Melbourne in private practice.

Noel

Noel Haarburger has been a faculty member and trainer at GTA (Gestalt Therapy Australia) since 2001, and works in full time private practice as a psychologist and [sychotherapist working with individuals and couples, as well as offering supervision and workshops to allied health professionals on the topics of trauma, addictions, shame, and self-compassion. He now also practices and teaches equine assisted psychotherapy at Equine Psychotherapy Australia (EPA). He has worked in a wide variety of counselling and psychological services services since 1995, including most recently the role of Senior Psychologist at Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre for 4 years. Previous to this he has worked in family counselling, drug and alcohol, sexual assault, problematic gambling, men's behavioural change programs, and the psychiatric disability fields. Noel has a special interest in Trauma and Body Work, as well as integrating Buddhist psychology and non-dual approaches into his work. He has completed advanced training in 'Somatic Experiencing' and is student of the 'Diamond Heart approach', a western psycho-spiritual school that integrates mindfulness, western depth psychology, sufism and buddhist approaches to personal and spiritual development.

Penny

Penny Gordon has a 30 year career as a psychologist, during which time she has worked extensively across clinical and organisational fields of psychology. Penny is a highly regarded trainer and facilitator, and as well as regularly presenting professional development programs, has also taught across a range of post graduate university courses. In terms of the provision of therapeutic services, Penny has specialised in supporting adults who have experienced significant trauma as either an adult or a child. This area of work also includes working with a variety of professionals who are vulnerable to secondary traumatic stress due to their continuous exposure to other people's trauma. For the past 17 years, Penny has worked in her own consulting business supporting organisations, teams and individuals to work effectively as possible in their fields of endeavour.

Note: The practitioner reflections and comments shared here are for information purposes only and are not to be considered an endorsement of a particular course of action. Living Well encourage practitioners and prospective clients to engage with qualified health care professional to obtain assistance that is adapted to meet each individual’s particular needs and circumstances. We welcome feedback.

 

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Last modified: Monday, 10 April 2017, 2:04 PM