Man up. Stop acting like such a girl. Boys don’t cry. Be a man. Stop being so bossy. Stop being so uptight. Your just a know-it-all. The endless phrases re-inforcing gender stereotypes have permeated our society for ages.
These phrases and concepts that suggest things like- men are incapable of feeling anything but madness, or that women are inherently weak, fragile, or sensitive, leave men and women and all those across the spectrum of gender, in vulnerable places for the kind of self-criticism and confusion that exacerbate addiction.
These same messages of expectation and judgment, sometimes subtle, sometimes blatantly traumatic, are just one of the factors that make gender-specific treatment for addiction more effective.
What shapes our experience? What creates our identity? How does gender play a role in the unique experience of addiction? We know that our experience and identity is a combination of biology, environment, and perspective.
We have also come to witness how society filters into people’s experiences in ways that sometimes don’t surface until there are in-your-face repercussions of assimilating what is not in harmony with one’s true perspective or authentic experience.
In Gender-specific treatment groups, and therapeutic direction specifically geared towards men or women, there are a lot of benefits to the healing process. They also more accurately and effectively get at the heart of the detrimental effects of gender stereotyping, and the suppression of personal empowerment that these messages and this environment can contribute to.
Some of the benefits that gender-specific groups, topics, and therapeutic direction can allow for are:
- Physiological, emotional, and relational issue unique to each gender are more openly and comfortably addressed
- There is often more comfort as trust and bonding among fellow same-sex clients is encouraged
- There is minimized sexual tension among male and female clients that can distract from the process of self-awareness and healing
- Less guarded support leads to more open discussion about social and cultural pressures that can result in substance abuse
There is often a greater sense of safety and support in a woman-specific group, that allows for greater ease and comfort, especially in working through trauma and abuse that has been in relation with a man.
Other subjects such as motherhood, workplace dynamics, relationships, and family life, are able to be explored in a more open and vulnerable way. Women are able to empower one another and build a stronger support system in a women-specific group, which offers the kind of preparation for supportive bonds of friendship necessary to long-term recovery.
Men have their own unique challenges and traumatic effects from various cultural roles and stereotypes. Often with the suppression of emotion often encouraged amongst men, there is a slower progression of opening up and vulnerability, so certain therapy methods may be more helpful.
In men-specific groups, as well as women-specific groups, the content, and therapeutic approaches can cater specifically to the emotional, physiological, and psychological needs of men.
Male sexual abuse is also a serious issue that is more comfortably addressed in a gender-specific group. Men-specific groups offer a compassionate environment for men to build friendships, and create a supportive network that sets them up for long term successful recovery.
Of course everyone’s experience, wherever they identify on the gender spectrum is unique, and in the realm of addiction, requires compassion, awareness, and fearless introspection, whether through detailed words or a sense of emotional uncovering.
Studies have shown that gender-specific groups can alleviate some of the discomfort and resistance associated with this process of healing, and can facilitate greater ease in the building of connection to self and others, required for cultivating freedom from addiction.
If you are struggling with addiction and are in need of gender-specific treatment click here. If your loved one is suffering from the perils of addiction and needs gender-specific treatment click here.
For more insight into the effectiveness of gender-specific treatment from one of Oasis Recovery’s highly skilled staff, who helps to provide this service watch the video below.
Because finding yourself, amidst a sea of imposing messages about how your gender should be presented, is exhausting, we can help.