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Centers hopes new therapist will help male survivors seek help

By Anna Tuckett
annasnewswriting.blogspot.com

A local domestic violence and sexual assault center said it hopes to see more men seeking help after its first male therapist was hired in October.

Citizens Against Physical and Sexual Abuse’s new therapist, Mark Radel, is a licensed clinical psychologist who treats survivors of domestic and sexual assault with psychotherapy.

James Boyd, who is in charge of marketing for the center, said even though Radel wasn’t hired based on gender, having a male therapist will help the center reach people who may have been hesitant before.

“Men represent a quarter of those affected by domestic violence and sexual assault,” Boyd said. “Yet we see so few.”

Radel agreed that having a male therapist at the center could potentially attract more male survivors.

“As a male therapist, I may not evoke as much detrimental anxiety with a male survivor,” Radel said.

A male survivor, he said, “may also feel that we can relate more and he may open up about the abuse or violence sooner in therapy, making therapy that much more effective.”

One of the center’s caseworkers focuses on diversity, with a special emphasis on men.

“I would encourage any man to come here just as I would any woman,” Boyd said.

Since starting at the center, Radel said he has only had contact with one male survivor.

Both Boyd and Radel agreed that the disproportionate number of men seeking help for domestic violence and sexual assault is a result of culture.

“Due to the social stigma from others as well as internal feelings of shame, male survivors often do not seek therapy services,” Radel said. “They may seek to cope in other ways.”

The center’s services include a 24-hour crisis hotline, counseling, transitional housing and legal help for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

More information is available at: www.capsa.org.

-mdl