Treatment of Compound Grief and Loss Trauma – effects of Psychotherapy and Mixed Martial Arts


The subject of male victimization by their intimate partners has received far less attention compared to female victimization. This paper reviews literature on male victimization to highlight the reasons for low attention on the topic, incidence and prevalence of male victimization, effects of such victimization and treatment approaches for male victimization. Studies reviewed were obtained from online databases provided via the school’s library. The subject receives less attention due to perception of the male gender to be the stronger gender . Yet, evidence suggests a high prevalence of male victimization with such victimization being linked to PSTD and depression. Use of psychotherapy along with complementary physical activity provided in martial arts has shown positive outcomes for male victims of IPV.


Aspects such as society’s expectations of men present challenges to effective treatment of traumatic experiences in men. For instance, societal stereotypes that lay great emphasis on men’s strength hinder them from revealing issues that society perceives to be forms of weaknesses (Real, 1997; Bader, 2009). To be inducted into masculine social roles defined by society, boys must contend with prohibitions concerning revealing their feelings and perceptions that consider dependence to be a form of weakness (Bader, 2009, p. 34). Such aspects present challenges for men to reveal victimization by their female counterparts since society perceives such exposure to be a sign of weakness. Men who expose their victimization by women are likely to face ridicule thus discouraging other men from revealing victimization meted by their female partners. Accordingly, it becomes a challenge to treat men who experience trauma from such victimizations due to their unwillingness to disclose their suffering.

Due to the consideration of men to be the stronger gender, most of the public discourse and research on violence between intimate partners has focused on the emancipation of the female. Since the 1970s during the rise of the second wave of the feminist movement, the male has encountered a heightened assault on his biological underpinnings (Badinter, 1992). The female was conceptualized to be the oppressed gender that needed special interventions to ensure equality in society. Even with the changing status of the female role in the modern society, expectations of the man have remained engraved in the historical perceptions of men to be physically, mentally and emotionally strong (Real, 1997; Bader, 2009). Confronted by the harsh and suppressive outcome of women’s liberation movements, man no longer understands his place in society and his place in relation to women.

 Problem statement

Arising from such societal perception of the male and female, research has traditionally focused on the plight of the female victimized by a violent male partner. Men victimized by their female partners have received far less attention. Yet, cases of men’s victimization by their female partners have become more common (Hines & Douglas, 2010a). There is paucity in not only research on the male as a victim but also in literature on the male psyche (Brooks, 2010). Additionally, most of the research conducted on men’s issues has seen a majority of participants being Caucasian male thus providing little evidence to support opinions that transverse across males of all races (Sartre, 1946; Brooks, 2010). The current literature review thus firstly aims to identify the reasons behind the lack of adequate research on victimization of men by their female partners. Secondly, the review seeks to highlight the efficacy of group psychotherapy complemented with physical activity provided by mixed martial arts in treating compound grief and trauma resulting from victimization by female partners in North American male.

Research questions

To address the purpose of the study, the review presented will attempt to answer the following research questions:

  • What could be the reasons behind the lack of research and literature on the male psyche?
  • Is the phenomenon of male victimization by intimate partners prevalent in modern society?
  • What are the psychological outcomes of male victimization by their intimate partners?
  • What treatment approaches be effective in addressing cases of males victimized by their intimate partners?
  • What are the challenges that prevent implementation of programs that seek to alleviate male victimization by intimate partners?

Source of the problem

The problem seems to stem from the emphasis placed on women’s issues. The female condition has been of great interest to academics and society in general since the women’s liberation movement (Badinter, 1992). As a result of this movement, very little importance has been given to male victimization issues. Many men fear revealing their victimization by females due to societal stereotypes that emphasize the strength of the male. Disclosure of such victimization is likely to result into ridicule thus discouraging men from disclosing their experiences with violent female partners (Real, 1997).

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