Moving Forward

“Moving Forward” Program to Join ServiceNet

 

 

Destructive behavior can wreak havoc in people’s lives, resulting in ruined relationships, job loss, physical endangerment, health problems, trouble with the law, and more.  Twenty years ago, the Men’s Resource Center of Amherst founded the Moving Forward program.  Since 1989, this state-certified batterer intervention program has improved the lives and wellbeing of thousands of individuals. 

 

On July 1, the Moving Forward program will become part of ServiceNet, a leader in behavior health services in the Pioneer Valley. With Moving Forward’s 12 staff members’ combined 149 years of experience in the domestic violence field and ServiceNet’s history of developing and implementing progressive and innovative mental health programs, there will be greatly increased support for men in our community who are working to overcome violence.

 

Moving Forward offers two programs— MOVE groups and Working It Out.  We offer both programs because they are two different problems: one happens behind closed doors in intimate relationships and the other is generalized to all people.

 

MOVE is a 40 week Batterer Intervention Program and offers counseling and intervention for individuals acting violently or abusively in their intimate relationships. The goals we share with clients are how to stop physical, emotional, verbal, economic or sexual abuse toward their partners.  During this program, clients are encouraged to stop blaming others for what they do and to take full responsibility for their behavior. They are taught to recognize potentially explosive situations before they erupt,to choose specific alternatives to abusive behavior, and develop empathy for their partners and children.

 

Working It Out is a 10-week anger management class for men and women.  This group examines the difference between anger and abuse, and provides participants with perspectives and skills to express their needs and wants in respectful ways, thus improving the quality of life and interactions with others.  It also explores how women's experiences and expressions of anger may differ from men's, and how to deal with anger directed toward them by others. 

 

Eve Bogdanove, LICSW, Director of Moving Forward (as well as interim Executive Director of the Men’s Resource Center) feels that “people who use violence and control in their intimate relationships can and do change, not all but many of them.”  In fact, research shows that 50% of men that complete the 40-week program do not have a recurring physical incident with their partners; therefore, safety for domestic violence survivors increases. 

 

As Eve further explains, “Abuse of power, whether in intimate relationships (domestic violence) or in our larger social world (racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, etc.) erodes relationships.  Moving Forward staff are committed undoing the negative consequences of these imbalances.  We believe that abuse injures all parties: survivors, witnesses and perpetrators.  Our work is about helping people heal in the complex family systems that support our greater social fabric and community.  Much of this work involves redefining what it means to “Be a Man” and creating a space that is safe, secure, and welcoming for men to recover their humanity.” As another staff person notes, “It is incredible to watch people heal from having been violent or abusive in their intimate relationships.”

 

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