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Big news: The Next Step Counseling is moving to Western Massachusetts. Our new office is in Florence, MA, a section of Northampton. Here is the contact information:

The Next Step Counseling & Training, P.O. Box 60447, Florence, MA 01062, USA

Phone: (413) 584-0727

We are currently winding down the practice in the Boston area and accepting new referrals in Florence.

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Mike's Update –August 16, 2012

It seems clear that I am not going to be keeping up with updates on this page. Sorry. I will retain it as an archive of sorts. There is some newer material on the Writing page.

All the best,

Mike

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Mike's Update –August 25, 2008

This, I think, is the longest I’ve gone between updates of this page. It’s a combination of writer’s (blogger’s?) block and extreme busyness. So there is much to report. To keep me from being overwhelmed by it (risking the return of the block) I’ll write as much as I can now, post it, and then, if necessary, add more in a future update. The items will be in no particular order.

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I’ll begin with some sadness. This year has brought the loss of several important allies to survivors:

Timothy Fleming, longtime advocate for abuse survivors, died on February 13, 2008 at the age of 53. The notice of his memorial included the following, “Our beloved friend Timothy was killed suddenly when he was struck by a car in the early morning hours on his way to a bus stop... He was a Franciscan friar, hospital chaplain, advocate for abuse survivors, author, gardener, Patriots fan, massage therapist, and actively recovering person.”
Timothy’s 1990 doctoral dissertation was titled, A Silent Multitude: Sexual Abuse Survivors in Ministry.
He will be greatly missed.

Jan Hindman, was a powerhouse - a towering figure in the field of sexual abuse and recovery. She died in September 25th,Her loss will be deeply felt by many of us.

This is a quote taken from the Web site of The Hindman Foundation, “It is not enough to shed tears for those who suffer the tragedy of sexual abuse, nor will much be accomplished nurturing hatred and devising punishments for those who sexually abuse. Only by sharing knowledge, providing training, exchanging ideas, and challenging traditional beliefs and biases can we respond effectively to sexual victimization.” — Jan Hindman

Learn more about Jan and her work at: http://www.janhindman.com/index.shtml

Michael White. The work of Michael White was of great importance to psychotherapy. The notice of his death in the New York Times included the following:

“Michael White, a social worker and family therapist who developed an innovative and highly practical technique using storytelling to help patients of all ages deal with childhood traumas, died on April 4 in San Diego. He was 59. The cause was a heart attack... Mr. White explored the power of shaping personal accounts and memories in facing the lingering effects of childhood inadequacies and other obstacles in patients’ lives. (The) technique ..has since become known as narrative therapy.
Michael Kingsley White was born in Adelaide (Australia). He worked briefly as a probation and welfare officer before earning an undergraduate degree in social work from the University of South Australia in 1979.
He then became a psychiatric social worker at Adelaide Children’s Hospital before starting his private practice at the Dulwich Centre. He further refined his ideas in a book published last year, “Maps of Narrative Practice.” Mr. White often traveled abroad to present case histories and refinements of narrative theory and was on a similar journey in San Diego when he died.
In the 1990s, Mr. White applied (narrative therapy) to Aboriginal communities in New South Wales, and found that storytelling could be an incisive tool in helping tribesmen come to terms with dispossession and forced relocation from their ancestral lands.”

Although they are gone, the work of these three fighters for justice and recovery remains with us.

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Now for happier matters.

This year’s trip to Australia and New Zealand (March 28th - April 30th) left me inspired, impressed, emboldened, and exhausted. As usual, I met and worked with extraordinary people, survivors and their allies (professional and personal). I continued to learn from the experts about the power, creativity, and courage of the human spirit.

I am deeply appreciative of the individuals who worked so hard to organize the male survivor workshops and professional training days. They include:
Maxwell Clarke and Carolyn Worth (of SECASA in Melbourne). Max coordinated my entire itinerary for the second time. He will now take a well-earned break from these labors. Thank you, Max, you’re a star. Carolyn, manager of SECASA and a force of nature, was steadfast in her support of the project, even when times were rough. I am in awe of her dedication and energy. In addition, I must thank two Peters. Peter Pa’apa’a, also of SECASA, who (along with Max) provided deft and loving assistance at the residential weekend workshop for male survivors in Maldon, Victoria. Peter has also taken on the task of coordinating my 2009 return to Oz/NZ. Thank you, Peter. I also thank Peter Worth, Carolyn’s husband, for his generosity and good cheer in the face of a major invasion of his home by Yanks.

Dale Tolliday organized the 2 professional development days and the 2 day male survivor workshop in Sydney. Despite being tired, under the weather, and jet lagged from his trip to China, and facing extreme time constraints, Dale was unfailingly cheerful, positive, and professional. He and Eric Hudson provided brilliant and loving assistance at the men’s event.

Gary Foster in Brisbane was a delightful host and handled the details of the events with unusually good cheer. His dedication to male survivors is creating important changes in Queensland.

The folks in Darwin, Naomi Brennan (and Naomi’s delightful family), Louise Page, and Gregory Goodluck continued the Australian tradition of excellent hosting, professional dedication, humanity, generosity, and fun. Thanks, too, to my good friends Sue Moore and Geoff Bahnert for lending me their home while I was in their city.

Finally, my Kiwi mob in Christchurch, especially Ken Clearwater and John Prince of Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust organized another moving and brilliant weekend for male survivors.

These individuals and their agencies have my deepest thanks. And there are many more individuals in Australia and New Zealand who deserve my gratitude. I hope I’ve been able to express it to you individually. I love you all.

So here’s what went on: In Melbourne, Thom Harrigan and I co-led a day long professional training on working with male survivors of sexual abuse by clergy. The group who attended were diverse, dedicated, and interesting. I hope this will be the first of many such events, and that it will lead to a network of professionals who work in this area.

The participants at the second male survivor residential weekend workshop in Maldon, Victoria,blew me away with their openness, courage, honesty, and mutual support. The emotions expressed and the creative ways that the men moved through their fears impressed me deeply. This was a diverse group that didn’t let arbitrary differences get in their way. Most impressive are the tangible ways that these men have continued to support each other since the workshop. Staying connected and sustaining the momentum established at workshops is not easy. These men have pulled it off brilliantly. E-mail communication has been unwavering; so have in person support and connection. The results of this dedication are outstanding. Considerations of confidentiality prevent me from sharing details. I wish I could - you would be as impressed as I.

The impressive work by male survivors and the professionals who work with them is certainly not limited to Victoria. Again and again, in Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin, and Christchurch, I was reminded of why I continue to do this work, the bravery, creativity, and power of survivors, and how important is the the work of recovery. So much good work is being done throughout the work. It is real and it matters.

Before I left Australia plans were underway for events in 2009. In addition to the folks who put together this year’s events (all of whom said they want to put together future events), interest was expressed by people from Western Australia, Tasmania, South Australia, Auckland, and Hamilton, NZ. If a significant number of these actually becomes reality, 2009 will be a busy year. Although dates haven’t yet been fixed, it is likely that my 2009 visit Down Under will be in February/March. Anyone interested in participating in any of these events, or in organising or helping the organisers can get in touch with me or with Peter Pa’apa’a at papaa@optusnet.com.au

New Zealand continues to impress. Ken Clearwater and his colleagues at MSSAT are bringing about big changes in this small country. And the work isn’t limited to Christchurch and the South Island. Services and groups for male survivors have been created on the North Island, coordinated by Mike Holloway in the Hamilton area (smaffezs@xtra.co.nz) and Dave Passell in Auckland ( Ph: 098371809 ). Look toward the possibility of future workshops and other exciting news on the North Island.

Another example of the importance of MSSAT is that when I was in their office in Christchurch, we were paid a visit by Helen Clark, New Zealand’s Prime Minister. She is an ally (and a significant one) to survivors.

Contact MSSAT for more information on upcoming events being planned for New Zealand: mssat@survivor.org.nz

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A group that gives me renewed hope for young people is Teen PCAR. An offshoot of Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR), it is a group of teens who have take on as their mission educating the public about sexual abuse. They call themselves RYOT (Rallying Youth Organizing Together). Through their adult advisor, Cindy Stine, they provided me with several hundred rubber bracelets that say “It stops with us.” These items are now being worn by male survivors and professionals throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. You can learn more about these terrific teens by going to the Resources page of this Web site and clicking on Teen PCAR.

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I have had the privilege and pleasure of spending time this year with my good friend and colleague, Naoko Miyaji, MD, PhD, while she was in Boston on a Fulbright Fellowship researching male sexual victimization. She is a world class thinker and I believe that her work will bring about important changes in the way we think about trauma and recovery. Her paper that offers a new model of thinking about “the geopolitics of trauma” is well worth reading.
You can request a copy from her at: MIYAJI.N@srv.cc.hit-u.ac.jp
I shall miss her wisdom and insight now that she has returned to her teaching and therapeutic duties in Japan.

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There is further impressive work coming out of Southeast Asia. Alastair Hilton, an English social worker living and working in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, has completed his research project and has produced the results in the paper, “I Thought it Could Never Happen to Boys: Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Boys in Cambodia”. Alastair isn’t able to provide copies of this paper, but if you would like to read it, I can send it to you as an e-mail attachment. Just send me an e-mail requesting a copy. Please note that the size of the attachment is 2 MB. If you wish to communicate directly with Alastair, you can do so at alastairhilton@hotmail.com

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You can view a fascinating series of four Oprah Winfrey interviews with social activist, author, and lawyer Andrew Vachss on YouTube. They are intense, so be forewarned. The link to the first of the four is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-CA6 RmeBY&feature=PlayList&p=B8DBC2CB28E4C60E&index=0&playnext=1
You can locate the others from that one.

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Speaking of Oprah, I was recently interviewed by David France for an upcoming article in O Magazine. The topic is female partners of male survivors. It will be included in the October issue, which is due on the newsstands September 16th.

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And further media stuff. I’m going to do a radio interview in September that will be broadcast on four stations in the Cincinnati, Ohio area: WYGY, WKRQ, WSWD, and WUBE. I’ll let you know if/when they provide the dates it will be aired.

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Gift From Within, the excellent organization that provides PTSD Resources for Survivors and Caregivers, has issued a call for “true personal stories” about how friends and loved ones were comforting at the time of their trauma, comments from friends and loved ones that were appropriately helpful, or comments that were unintentionally hurtful. For more information or to contribute your story: http://www.giftfromwithin.org/html/truestories2.html or contact Joyce at JoyceB3955@aol.com

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We held our 18th annual weekend workshop for male survivors at Kirkridge Retreat and Conference Center in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains (August 15th-17th). Participants came from as far away as Washington State, Kansas, and Georgia. About half were newcomers to Kirkridge, and the rest were veterans of previous weekends. All of them contributed profoundly to the power and joy of the event. Once again, I left uplifted and deeply moved (yes, and tired).

I continue to be impressed that groups of men who met at Kirkridge weekends continue to meet regularly as support groups, some for a number of years - in New York State, Pennsylvania, and the Washington, DC area. They have realized that isolation is the enemy, and there is no such thing as having too much support. Guy’s, you rock!

Not only do we have the dates set for 2009, but the folks at Kirkridge are interested in having us offer an additional event - a weekend workshop for male and female survivors together. We’re excited about this prospect, and will let you know when details
(like dates and female co-leader) have been decided.

In the meantime, the dates for next year’s men’s weekend (#19) are August 21-23 2009.

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That’s all I can manage for now, folks. Please be well, stay safe, and try not to isolate.

Mike

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2003

2002