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Men Healing Shame

An Anthology

edited by Roy U. Schenk and John Everingham
Book review copyright © 1996 by Bert H. Hoff

 


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Roy U. Schenk and John Everingham, editors, Men Healing Shame: An Anthology(New York, NY: Springer Publishing, 1995)(Springer Series: Focus on Men) Order on-line

 

 

This is a book that has affected me deeply. I was in emotional turmoil for days, and am still working through some of the powerful feelings it brought up in me. It focused me in, more than any other book or workshop, on the shame I feel for being a man and how much this shaming of men is built into our culture. I read the book a couple of weeks ago, and I am not yet in a position to be able to articulate some of the "stuff" that has come up for me. Iím working on it.

In the authorsí view, every man carries the cultural burden of shame for being male, perpetrated by the "male-bashing" in our culture in the last couple of decades. The primary focus of the book, however, is on personal shame and what I, as a man, can do about my own shame. In this respect, this book does a masterful job of pulling together the Menís Rights and the therapy/healing components of the "menís movement."

John Everingham opens the book with a superb, concise and insightful framework within which to thank about shame. There is a particularly valuable chapter, "Inadvertent Shaming: Family Rules and Shaming Habits," on the shaming that goes on in menís organizations and support groups, or between individual men. Itís a valuable piece to read when you have the feeling that things are going sour in your group or organization. Another chapter elaborates on grandiosity as being the shadow of shame. Other chapters focus on recovering from addiction and overcoming abusive parents. A large portion of the book is based on a workshop on shame by Robert Bly and psychotherapist Gershen Kaufman, author of The Psychology of Shame.

There is a definite New Warriors focus in this book which is not surprising considering that many of the contributors are connected with this program. A tendency to focus on New Warriors as having "the answer" is balanced by some authorsí recognition that there are other routes to initiation, and by 1uestions raided by other authors about the "shadow side" that arises in Menís Work.

This book is expensive ($39.95.) My first impression was that this was a book suited for therapy professionals. True, there is an academic flavor to some of the article. But it is a book that speaks to all men, I would say, based on the reactions of my own body and soul to it. I recommend it unhesitatingly.


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