Thursday, April 2, 2009

NAMI's Neighbor Offers New Support Group

NAMI is all about supporting its neighbors, especially when they are offering a new support group to help people in our region.

Our neighbor in the North Hills of Pittsburgh -- Spiegel Friedman Psychological Associates -- is providing a new support group specifically for male survivors of sexual abuse. Here is what Dr. Jeffrey Freedman shared with us below:

It is estimated that 16 percent of males – or roughly one of every six – are sexually abused prior to the age of 18. More often than not, the perpetrator is someone who is well known and had been trusted.

The effects of abuse reach far beyond physical violation. For these survivors – both boys and men – the safety of their world has been violated. As children, they often isolate themselves and keep private the experience of being abused. It is common for them to have overwhelming feelings of shame and fear. Without caring attention, these children can grow into adulthood with heightened feelings of anxiety, depression, and symptoms associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Many of these men report experiencing a number of disturbances including: confusion between sexual orientation and gender role, the fear of intimacy, eating disorders, sexual and substance addictions, aggressive behavior, self-harm, self-blame and self-hate.

Childhood sexual abuse does not stop with the violent act; its emotional, social, and physical effects can, without help, continue to plague the person well into their future.

Spiegel Freedman is offering group therapy for males with histories of childhood sexual abuse. Group treatment will begin in April and run for 10 weeks on Tuesday evenings. These groups will be facilitated by Jozef Spiegel, Ph.D. Dr. Spiegel, is the author of numerous articles, books and plays, including the award-winning publication, “SAM: The Sexual Abuse of Males.”

For information, call (412) 367-9800 or visit

In addition, NAMI Southwestern PA is hosting a workshop on Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) at its annual conference on Saturday, April 18. Visit our website for registration information, and download our conference brochure for more details (see page 10) on the PTSD workshop.