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#7802 - 04/06/06 03:14 AM Need advice
JediKnight Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 6
Early in my recovery I went to a workshop that was sponsored by two therapists with good reputations who claimed specialty knowledge of male childhood sexual abuse. I had no reason whatsover to believe that this workshop would be anything other than safe. If there had been any mention of any nudity whatsoever, I would never have attended.

There was a private pool at the site of the workshop. Much to my surprise the therapists suggested that a naked exercise in the pool would be beneficial. I was uncomfortable with the thought of such an experience, but was convinced by others that the experience would be safe considering who the therapists were. So I went along with the exercise, albeit reluctantly.

During the exercise, the retreatants, about nine of us in total, were each asked one by to one to stand up on a pedestal in front of the entire group and discuss what they found most shameful about their bodies. Not surprisingly, they all talked about their penises. I still remember the anguish in the face of one insecure man as one of the therapists mentioned how the retreatant's penis had a big head. When the time came for me to get in front of the group, I was simply too emotionally paralyzed to do so. I was the only one from the group that did not stand on the pedestal, and when I declined, there was no attempt by anyone to force me. This was clearly a difficult moment for me, but neither of the therapists ever sought to discuss this experience with me afterwards. For years I maintained a friendship with the man whose anguish in front of the group had been so palpable, but neither of us ever discussed what happened. It was in a very real sense, something that we had agreed to do and something that we both knew would get a lot of people in trouble if we ever told. I told no one, not even my wife!

Years later, a friend in recovery told me his story of having been pursued by a counselor that he trusted. This led me to confide in him my story. My friend asked me details, that previously had been hidden by my shame. My friend asked me specifically what I saw. It was at that point in time that I told him that I had noticed that the therapists appeared to have much larger endowments than the retreatants. When he asked me, "Are you sure they were not experiencing erections?" my whole body shuddered. I had never seen these men as individuals who would use survivors for their own sexual jollies.


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#7803 - 04/06/06 04:32 AM Re: Need advice
RICK57 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/31/03
Posts: 1611
Loc: ENGLAND
Jedi - I only went to a shrink/therapist/counsellor for about 6 sessions! I was never once asked to take my clothes off! Either it's some sort of new age thing, or ???

I wasn't there, but ... is it still possible to contact them now and ask exactly what the point was (your choice)?

Best wishes ...Rik

_________________________
*Never look down on anybody unless you're helping them up.
*I was seeking a way of expressing my anger - I found hope!
*There are many battles before the war is won! It can be won!

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#7804 - 04/06/06 04:39 AM Re: Need advice
John Oarc Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/10/06
Posts: 633
Loc: Louisiana
I am not sure about this but it sounds like fear or shock therapy. Facing your fear, exposing it, I have no idea though. I would say that opening up is good but I don't think exposing myself to a group of men would do the trick. I hope you find a good T, mine was great and it took a few to get to him. Don't give up.

Keep posting,

_________________________
Whatever It Takes, God


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#7805 - 04/06/06 05:23 AM Re: Need advice
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16270
Loc: Waldport, Oregon
Jedi,

First of all let me say welcome to Male Survivor. I hope you find what you are looking for here. I have found this to be a very supportive community of brothers.

Having said that, my post below is what one could call brutally honest. I guess what you said has triggered a reaction in me, but I feel I should share my thoughts with you and the other participants here. Please know that I applaud you for coming here and asking this very difficult question. That probably took a lot of guts.

Now, about your experience at the "retreat". I'm so sorry those "professional" men put you through that horrific experience. In my mind what they did to you and the others was nothing short of abuse. It was completely unprofessional at best and criminal at worst. I'm sorry. That's just the way I feel about it.

We were abused as boys and grew up seeing the world as an unsafe place on several different levels. We experienced shame, guilt, and fear for years if not decades afterwards. I cannot imagine finally working up the courage to seek help only to be put through such a humiliating experience. It's no wonder you made the pact with your friend never to talk about it. I think if that had happened to me I'd have been put off therapy for life. It would have been just one more unsafe thing in a world that's unsafe.

As we work through these issues it becomes much easier to put our childhood sexual abuse and resulting traumas into perspective. It takes time, but after a while we begin to feel as if we are getting our lives back again a little bit at a time.

I hope your experience here on the discussion board is a positive one and that you find help and friendship here.

Lots of love,

John

_________________________
"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting 'Holy Shit! What a ride!'" ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#7806 - 04/06/06 11:34 AM Re: Need advice
Morning Star Offline
Member

Registered: 12/21/04
Posts: 1124
Loc: Home
I think this should be reported to the appropriate medical council.

_________________________
~ It's over!...Let go of Thy Past, Remember Thy Self ~

Why Don't People Heal, by Caroline Myss; 30 days to clean up your vibrations - Abraham-Hicks

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#7807 - 04/06/06 07:10 PM Re: Need advice
ScottyTodd Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/12/03
Posts: 1561
Loc: Pennsylvania
Jedi - I've worked with some of the most noted therapists specializing in male survivors and none would include that type of an exercise nor suggest it's use. The fact you are providing therapy/healing for men who were abused (forced/ coerced/bribed/ etc.) sexually then invite them to an experience that may (does) put them in an environment where force/coercion/intimidation/ etc. exists sexually (even if that force is mentally self-inflicted)is dangerous and possibly re-traumatizing! I would report the incident to their reporting agencies or the group that sponsored the event. I'm sorry you were re-traumatized in a place you had trusted to make you well!!

Howard

_________________________
If you think you can or you can't - you're right!.......anon
It's never too late to have a happy childhood!.....anon
You're very normal for the abnormal situation you've been through..............S. Todd

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#7808 - 04/06/06 08:56 PM Re: Need advice
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Jedi,

To my mind what you are describing is abuse on the part of the supervising therapists. The whole idea of therapy is to keep the survivor as safe and secure as possible as he recovers, not to shock and traumatize him.

I can't imagine that any genuine therapist would have done this, though I take your point about the reputation of these two.

I think their reputation should be further stimulated. Report them!

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#7809 - 04/06/06 10:47 PM Re: Need advice
JediKnight Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 6
WalkingSouth, MorningStar, ScottyTodd, and RoadRunner:

Thank you for your validating responses. THe story does not end here though.

I did contact a counselor as a result of this issue. I went back to the very therapist who had referred me to the workshop to begin with. I had truly expected that he would tell me something to the effect, "This should never have happened!!" but I received no such validation. INstead, I was blamed for not having brought these issues up at the time that they happened. SInce he was friends with the therapists who had facilitated the initial retreat, I became concerned that maybe he was covering up for them. I went home and wrote my therapist a letter, where I confronted him with the anger that was swelling within me.

I will share that letter and my therapist's response (in redacted form of course) in my next post.

Thanks again for all your supportive replies.


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#7810 - 04/06/06 11:42 PM Re: Need advice
JediKnight Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 6
The following is a redacted excerpt of the letter that I sent to my therapist:


> I had every reason to expect that XXXXXX would be a safe workshop, and I
>had absolutely no inkling that the workshop would involve total body
>nudity and gross de>

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#7811 - 04/07/06 01:37 AM Re: Need advice
Steven Heath Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/06/06
Posts: 81
Loc: New York City
Jedi....i am not a therapist and am certainly not up on the latest techniques of therapy.....but, and this is just my opinion, in my mind......you were abused again by these therapists......i find it absurd that anyone or any group would believe that possibly humiliating yourself by being naked for a group of men to stare at could in any way be theraputic.....healing......or safe for that matter....i am truly sorry that you had to go through this......i hope that you can find some solice in knowing that the friends i have found here in the short time i have been a member of MS seem to have one thing on their mind.....support......steve


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#7812 - 04/07/06 10:38 AM Re: Need advice
JediKnight Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 6
Has anyone else had the experience of having their therapist try to cover up the mistakes of their colleague(s) at your personal emotional expense?


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#7814 - 04/07/06 01:40 PM Re: Need advice
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Jedi,

I am not a professional therapist, so this is just my gut reaction to the problem.

It looks to me like your T is trying to avoid the issue that he did not really know what the retreat would be like before you went to it. He is implicitly taking the line that it is up to you to decide whether you will go to this or that retreat, and afterwards he is willing to discuss with you the results of the retreat or any raw issues you may have. He's saying that he isn't responsible for what does or doesn't happen on the retreat.

But the fact of the matter is that if he refers clients to these retreats he should have been very clear about what happens. Otherwise he is just sending business to his pals and to hell with his clients.

I have thought about this thread a lot, and I don't see any way in hell that a survivor's recovery would be promoted by standing naked on a pedestal (!!!!) in front of others, all also naked, talking about what he dislikes about his penis and having one of the facilitators provide a commentary! This is just voyeurism on the part of the facilitators so far as I can see. Or shock therapy? I hope you will take Scotty Todd's advise and report this incident. You will be saving other survivors a similar experience.

It's terrible you got two of the rotten apples in the barrel. But I hope you will not be put off therapy because of this or be too badly retraumatized by what happened. ALL of the Ts I have worked with have been great and they have helped me so much. I feel sure that this applies to the majority of the others as well.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#7815 - 04/08/06 02:51 AM Re: Need advice
JediKnight Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 6
I believe ScottyTodd really hits the nail on the head when he says:

"The fact you are providing therapy/healing for men who were abused (forced/ coerced/bribed/ etc.) sexually then invite them to an experience that may (does) put them in an environment where force/coercion/intimidation/ etc. exists sexually (even if that force is mentally self-inflicted)is dangerous and possibly re-traumatizing"

I believe that all survivors are potentially at risk for the type of experience that I had. Risk factors include small group size and facilitators that are lionized by all of the group participants. Everyone in the group realized that the therapy was controversial (ie we cannot tell anyone), but we trusted implicitly anything that these therapists suggested.


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#7816 - 04/08/06 02:59 AM Re: Need advice
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Jedi,

One positive note in all this: You yourself decided that this was no good for you and you refused to participate. Others just followed the lead provided. You respected your own boundaries and stood by them. Well done!

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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