Annual Report 1997
Manscentrum (The Men's Center) is a foundation independent of political, or religious ties. Its goal is to help and assist men in crisis and/or men who have problems which render their lives more difficult. The Manscentrum Foundation's purpose is to be responsible for the management, the quality, the finances, as well as the administration of Manscentrum's operation.
The Foundation's board of directors is comprised of: Peter Lundén (Chairperson), Erik Centerwall, Sven-Erik Carlsson, Eva Hunnarskog, Sigismund Bergelt, Olle Waller and Pelle Jansson.
This year the Foundation has engaged in three meetings with recorded proceedings.
The Foundation's accountant is Birgitta Johansson of KPMG/Bohlins Accounting AB.
This year the Foundation has been subsidized by the City of Stockholm's Resource Administration for School and Social Services, Stockholm County Council's Boards of Health and Healthcare, the boroughs of Sundbyberg and Lidingö, the districts of Vallentuna, Järfälla, Sollentuna, Ekerö, and Täby, the Order of Johanniter, the church parishes of Maria, Oscar's, Matteus, Enskede, Gustav Vasa, as well as by private individuals.
Manscentrum's operation is located in premises at Götgatan 83D in Stockholm. Three advisors - Per Elis Eliasson, Ulf Calvert and Örjan Rudstedt - are engaged with telephone call-ins, crisis interviews and public activities. One person from the Foundation, Pelle Jansson, handles Manscentrum's day-to-day routine and administrative matters.Besides their normal on-call operation, Manscentrum's employees have started and engaged in several different projects during this year. Manscentrum carries on group therapy sessions for abusive men, as well as parental education for prospective, or new fathers. Manscentrum's employees have also functioned as instructors and lecturers on different occasions. These activities are further described in the annual report. Manscentrum also participates in different studies, educational programs and investigations.
All men are welcome to contact the center regardless of where they live, or the nature of their problem. The only existing criterion is that the men must contact the center themselves. No journals are kept, and one has the possibility of remaining anonymous. Manscentrum does not have the resources to accept spontaneous visits. Therefore, all appointments must be made in advance by telephone.
Men whose problems are related to sickness, addiction, homosexuality, homelessness, or psychological illness already have well-developed channels for meeting their needs. Consequently, these men are not a target group for Manscentrum. These groups have been heard from minimally, therefore, and have subsequently been referred to more appropriate operations.
On-Call Operations Complete Statistics
Since its inception in March 1988 through all of 1997, the center has had contact with 5,950 men. The age-range among the men is between 16 and 76. Within this range about 70% of the men are between 30 and 50 years old.
Over 65 59
The problems, or difficulties vary considerably. The largest group, almost 40%, includes those who have marital problems, problems with cohabitation, or problems related to separation. Other problem areas include difficulties with the male role, sexual problems, problems concerning relationships with their children, problems with aggression, loneliness, incest, difficulty meeting and relating to women, etc. Often a crisis includes several of these problems.
Predominant Problem Number Approximate Percent
In Marriage/Cohabitation 1,130 19
In Connection with Separation 1,309 22
In Relationships with their Children 535 9
Anger/Aggression/Abuse 1,167 20
The Male Role 297 5
Problems with Incest 238 4
Bisexuality 15 -
Homosexuality 2 -
Social Problems 59 1
Minor Psychological Problems 239 4
Major Psychological Problems 59 1
Sexual Problems 169 3
Loneliness 57 1
Problems with Addiction 12 -
Infidelity 180 3
Grieving 50 1
Problems with Abortion 54 1
Bullying/Harassment 36 1
Rape of Relatives 14 -
Legal Problems 13 -
Use of Prostitutes 13 -
Other 302 5
Totals 5,950 100%
Of these men 13% are foreigners (773).
Of these 5,950 men, 3,475 booked appointments for further conversations (the rest received some form of telephone guidance). The advisors have met these men from between one to 15 times. In some cases, more than 15 times.
Characteristic of the men is that they have good social structures. They are unusual men. Many have an inadequate contact network, and don't know where they would have turned if Manscentrum did not exist. Most admit that they would not have turned to another source. Most of the men have friends and acquaintances with whom to speak, but want a professional assessment of their problems to help them find the way out of the crises.
The men who have sought advice have received tips about Manscentrum's operations from several sources: through friends and acquaintances, public authorities, organizations, etc. Over the last few years we have noticed an increase in men coming from family therapy, psychiatric offices, and similar places to which they turned with their problems. Those men who contacted Manscentrum in 1997 are accounted for in the statistics for 1997 to follow.
The problems men seek help for have changed through the years. The predominant reason for which men contact Manscentrum is still that they have problems related to separations and divorces. Even if men primarily seek help for the aforementioned problems, also included to a great extent are problems with violence and aggression.
Over the years the numbers of men who primarily seek help for violence have increased from roughly 7% in 1990 to 20% today. Together with other problems which include violence, the actual increase in men with violent problems is significantly greater than the 20% accounted for. This increase began to accelerate during 1993 and has not seemed to decrease in scope.
Men With Violence Problems
Men whose main problem is violence, or aggression towards other people represent a large category of clients. The victims of their actions are most often closely-related women, and in some cases, children. However, violence towards persons outside the family also occurs.
Today most of the violent men receive private interviews. A smaller group is offered group therapy. The form of therapy created at Manscentrum is based on a handful of ideas from the Canadian Center for Violence Intervention (CIRV) in Montreal. The method has been developed over the years, and leads in most cases to good results. The goal of the treatment is to get the man to abstain from all violence regardless of which situations, or provocations he believes himself to be subjected. This result is completely possible to achieve with most men.
A basic prerequisite for being able to help is, therefore, that the man is prepared to accept full responsibility for his actions. When a man has reached this point of taking responsibility for his actions, he has also come part of the way towards freedom from violence.
Our experience is that, in most cases, men know and share the opinion that it is wrong to hit. Violent men are no exception. Regardless of which evasions, denials, or defenses they give to explain violence, they condemn themselves severely deep inside. The defense is their way of avoiding their own, as well as the environment's, condemnations. It demands courage, urgent circumstances, and compassionate support to enable him to dare to see himself in the mirror.
An important stage in the treatment is to try to clarify the process which leads the man to turn against his own norms and to hit, for example, the woman he says he loves. This occurs, among other ways, through the man describing the series of events leading up to the moment of violence to make it possible to analyze the occurrence. Through this analysis the man can see and understand his own role, and which error of judgment led to the violence.
The prerequisite for a man to seek help is, in general, that the consequences of the violence threaten his environment in a concrete way. This occurs when the woman threatens to leave him, etc. This is when he may first be receptive to help. However, if he succeeds in avoiding the need to stand up for his actions, he also won't be able to work out what has happened. The risk is then great that he won't know how to avoid violence the next time.
In 1991 Manscentrum began, with a basis taken from CIRV, group therapy for violent men. The method can be described as unstructured group therapy in open groups. An open group is a group which fills up with new members when previous members have completed their treatment. Unstructured means, in this case, that inquiries and subjects are taken up in the order in which they make themselves felt in the man's life, and not according to a previously determined schedule. We have discovered that this method creates a high degree of enthusiasm in the men.
One of the fundamental principles in Manscentrum's model is that a violent man who succeeds in avoiding violence for about 10 weeks, while simultaneously working out the occurrence in group therapy, has come a long way towards determining for himself if violence will occur in his future life. We make an agreement with the man that he will participate in the group one time per week, ten weeks in a row. Recurrence of violence, or interruption means that he begins again from the start. He must fill out a questionnaire containing questions about personal circumstances and violence. In this way a picture is created, among other things, of how his violence looks. It is more difficult to escape when the violence is made visible. The path towards learning to live without violence is seldom straight and simple. A few men have completed the therapy after only 10 sessions. Most, though, have needed a longer time.
When a man has completed 10 weeks without interruption, he is asked whether he considers himself able to deal with his problems. He often experiences himself as having come a long way, but still feels insecure. He must then formulate what he needs to improve, and is encouraged to consider how many more sessions he needs with the group. The message to the man is that he himself is now the best judge of whether he can take responsibility for his needs, but that the group is still at his disposal. When the man finishes with the group, treatment is completed with a private evaluation interview. Among other things, one returns to the questionnaire, and re-asks certain questions. Comparisons with earlier answers provide a picture of how the man's capacity to handle emotional problems and the resulting violence has changed. On the initiative of earlier group members, the men are reunited yearly with their original group. These reunions are much appreciated. Time spent with the group is considered by most of the men to be a unique experience both by reason of all the pain entailed in taking responsibility for their actions, as well as the companionship experienced together with men in similar situations. The reunions also provide a picture of how the men's lives have taken shape. To the extent we know, only a few men have lapsed into violence. Most of them consider that their lives are better, especially that their self-confidence has increased, which is reflected in better relationships with women, in addition to other benefits. The result of the men learning to avoid violence can be expressed by the words "higher quality of life." Slightly fewer than half the men are still living in relationships with women they have previously abused.
The primary age range among the men is and has been between 20 to 55 years of age. Many different professional groups are represented. Both foreigners and Swedes participate in group activities, and their violence includes everything from one-time shoves to brutal abuse. As previously mentioned the group started in 1991, and has been filled since then. 54 men have through 1997 participated in group therapy. Of these, 9 have interrupted treatment prematurely. Their reasons vary from lacking motivation to insight that the underlying problems are too deep to be dealt with within the group therapy framework. In such cases, the man has instead received private counseling. In some cases, work schedules, or work in foreign countries have hindered a continued treatment. Those men who persisted have participated in the group between 10 to 39 times.
Manscentrum employed two counselors in 1990. In 1993 in order to cope with the increase in men seeking help, an additional counselor was hired on a project basis. Group therapy for abusive men was increased in order to be able to meet all the men with violence problems. This increase in operations was carried on in project form, and subsidized by Stockholm's Social Services Department. In December 1995 this project was made permanent, corresponding with an increased subsidy from the Department of Social Welfare, and is today included in Manscentrum's day-to-day operations.
1997 Statistics for On-Call Operations
During 1997, Manscentrum has had contact with 574 men. Of these men 328 sought Manscentrum for counseling. The others have received some type of telephone guidance. In addition to these men, 62 women have received counseling. One woman has received time for private conversation, while the rest have received telephone counseling.
In 1997 the proportion of foreign men was 11.6% (66 men). The number of foreign men during Manscentrum's existence has varied between 10 - 14%. The help-seeking men's age composition varies between 20 to 75 years. The majority of men are between 30 and 50 years of age.
Those difficulties / problems for which men seek help are to a great extent in accordance with previous total statistics.
Among referrals we observe marginal changes from previous years. Those who refer the most men to Manscentrum are Stockholm's Municipal Government and Stockholm County Council. Those men who have not been referred state that they have obtained contact with Manscentrum through the following channels: