Greg Hasek, a licensed clinician with more than 20 years of experience, helps men heal from addiction and trauma. He also has a special focus of leading men through the healing process after experiencing an abortion decision. Through his extensive experience working with men, Hasek understands men cannot sit in a circle and share their feelings like women do. It just doesn’t work like that and even people with the best of intentions in helping men heal from abortion cannot expect them to go through the same healing process women do.
During a discussion with Support After Abortion focused on helping men heal from trauma, Hasek tells a story of an Asian nation who experienced a devastating tsunami. After the disaster, psychologists sent to help noticed that the women who had all experienced the loss of a child had gathered on the beach to sit together, sharing their feelings, hugging, and crying. The psychologists couldn’t find the men anywhere. Eventually, they found them in the countryside and asked them why they weren’t supporting the women at the beach. They said they needed to get wood to rebuild homes, obtain material, and do the physical work. They didn’t have time to sit and share their feelings; they had tasks they needed to do.
This isn’t to say men don’t hurt from trauma or have a need to share with others their hurt. Greg shares the story to show that men often do not express their hurt in the same ways that women do. They aren’t wired for that kind of healing process and those of us in leadership, healing programs, churches or pregnancy centers who are trying to reach men cannot expect these men who have experienced trauma to sit around and talk to each other like women do.
Where are the men?
Have you ever watched men on a golf course sitting across from each other sharing their feelings? No, they walk next to each other, they don’t put themselves in a vulnerable position eye-to-eye.
“We can’t put guys in a group to look at each other and share their feelings. They are more likely to feel comfortable doing something active,” said Hasek. “It needs to be more action-oriented. We need to create curriculum that is not only focused on how to help men grieve differently but also that is more active.”
Men not only grieve differently than women: they think in a completely different way. Hasek says that when you ask a man how they feel about the abortion experience, they often don’t connect to the baby. Instead, they connect to the role that they lost. Men will say that the child would have been at the age to throw a baseball or go to a game together. Men connect to the loss of the child not so much in a physical way like the woman usually will, but more inside of a role they would have had when the child started to grow up and could share in physical connections.
Today’s culture tells men they shouldn’t hurt from abortion, much less be involved in one at all. That’s a woman’s issue, culture screams. And many men who come to Greg Hasek for counseling are going for something other than abortion such as a sex addiction, PTSD, or other trauma. Hasek has found that 30 to 40 percent of his patients who have an addiction also have an impact from abortion. They need healing from trauma just like women do but in a completely different way.
While we won’t be able to have a ropes course or physical activity, we will have experts like Greg Hasek at the Unraveling Roots of Men’s Trauma conference and his presentation is available to watch online. . We’ll be exploring this issue, as well as others that are overlooked when it comes to men healing from abortion trauma. They need to connect to their emotions in order to start healing and connection to feelings isn’t always easy for men.
Reaching men on a emotional level to heal from trauma
Have you heard men say they don’t ever cry except while watching movies? That’s because video and music are being used to connect the viewer to the situation, integrating the right and left brain to work together.
“If I can tell men aren’t connecting emotionally, I will bring video and music into our counseling session because they connect with the right side brain where a male’s trauma is stored. Say I show a video regarding abortion laws that is male-focused, those defense mechanisms will come down and the male starts to feel the emotions while watching the video. The video and music cause the right and left brain to integrate, causing the man to connect with his emotions.I can’t get to that point by just talking about the abortion,” explained Hasek.
Biology matters and organizations need to look at how men are wired and work with their nature instead of forcing them to sit in a room across from other men and sharing their feelings like women do.
At Support After Abortion, we are developing new curriculms to help men heal from abortion with input from experts like Greg Hasek. We are aiming to get at both the heart and mind of a man who has experienced abortion. We currently have extensive content to help men who are wanting to explore healing from past abortion wounds at our website.
If you or someone you know has been impacted by abortion, you are not alone. Call our confidential hopeline at 844-289-HOPE (4673). Women, this is your call: if your partner, male loved one or friend has had an abortion, visit us at www.supportafterabortion.com to learn how to create a safe space, and create dialogue so more men can receive hope and healing after abortion.