THE MEN'S CENTRE - LONDON [est. 1985]
Counselling and Psychotherapy for
angry/abusive or violent men and
for men and women with emotional,
relationship and sexual problems.
West hill House. 6 Swains Lane. London N6.6QS
Welcome to The Men's Centre. Established in 1984 the Centre was the first dedicated, professionally staffed, treatment centre in Europe for men who are abusive to those they love and which placed the safety of women and children at the centre of its practice without sacrificing our concern for men's long term mental and emotional health.
We have published regularly about our work and its theoretical and clinical foundations since our first article in the journal ' Free Associations' in 1989.
In the thirty two years since we began we have worked with thousands of men. We have also helped others to set up and conduct intervention programmes with supervision from Centre staff. We have trained programme conductors across Europe and been employed as consultants by Local Authorities and Probation services wishing to establish intervention programmes. Our follow up research shows that our work is as successful as any. We have conducted and published research into the origins of abuse and the effective treatment of abusive and violent men.
It is important to note that, although we were once, we are no longer members of Respect, the national co-ordinating body for programmes for abusive men. We broadly subscribe to their principles concerning the protection of women, but we have serious differences with other policies and principles and their organisation model. In our opinion, they have become increasingly dedicated to their survival as an organisation to the detriment of their original aims; stopping the abuse of women. Like many movements that start with passion and voluntary activism Respect is an exemplar of the process by which they segue through organisation to bureaucracy, control, standardisation and enforcement. They have adopted a corporate business model which, in effect, industrialises and commercialises domestic violence. This is a far cry from the passion and commitment of those pioneers whose efforts raised public awareness of men's abuse of women and who were motivated by cause rather than career. Prioritising organisational income regardless of the political or social consequences sends a damaging message to men and society about male power, control and abuse. We take, as evidence of this, Respect's public acceptance of the claims of symmetry in women's abuse of men and men's status as victims. This subversive view is gaining ground in public consciousness and requires a strong and robust challenge. In our opinion it is based on faulty research, a desire to promote political acceptability, to generate income and to undermine and subvert the progress made by thousands of activists in raising consciousness of the scale and destructiveness of mens' abuse of women. This has serious and deleterious consequences for any movement dedicated to stopping men's abuse of women. There is not an abusive man who does not claim that he is a victim of his partner and acceptance of symmetry simply supports this major form of denial.
Since Mary Wollstonecraft published A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792, we have witnessed successive movements dedicated to furthering and cementing her views. Every single one of them from the Sans Culottes to the bra burnings of the 1960's has been followed by a softening and a backlash which led, eventually, to a reversal of the original aims. Invariably this has started with men challenging their status as perpetrators and garnering political support, usually from male politicians, for their protest at being located in such an unenviable position. In our view Respect is repeating history in eschewing its original aims - the protection of women - in favour of organisational survival.
We work with parallel support workers for women who are either employed by authorities we work with or who work directly with the Centre. All workers are professionally trained and are members of appropriate professional bodies.
Our work with abusers is founded on an integration of orthodox psychodynamic theory and a feminist understanding of the gender politics of male abuse of women and children. Politically, we believe that men's abusiveness is representative of the worldwide reality of men's dominance of women and the expectation of submissiveness and obedience.
We believe the psychological roots of men's violence to women and other forms of abuse are to be found in the ways boys and girls are taught gender role expectations of males and females and the asymmetry in male and female psychological development.
Men who attend the Centre are required to pay for attendance on a programme or for individual treatment. At the moment assessment for treatment costs between £125 and £220 for self referrals. Attendance on a once weekly group programme costs £210 per month for self referrals. The charges change from time to time and can be discussed if you telephone. We try to charge at a level that most can afford. If you wish to discuss attendance on a programme please phone 0207-267-8713.
Minimum attendance on a groupwork programme is 36 weeks, which does not include holiday breaks. Although we believe this is sufficient to enable most men to achieve self-control in relation to their abusive and violent behaviour, it would be misleading to claim that this is sufficient time to achieve the changes in the internal emotional world required for real peace of mind. In fact, many men decide to continue their treatment, either in groups or individual analytic treatment, after they complete the anti-abuse programme, to pursue more general therapeutic goals.
As an analytic psychotherapy centre we also offer treatment for most kinds of personal problems apart from violence and abuse. We work with men and women either individually or in couples and we design treatment programmes for each depending on the nature of the problems. The charges depend on a number of factors but as a guide you can expect to pay around £150 per session for individual or couples therapy and between £130- £210 per month for weekly group therapy.