Moving Beyond Dwelling in Suffering: Situation Specific Theory of Men’s Healing from Childhood Maltreatment

Contributor: Danny Willis
September 14, 2018

Authors – Danny G. Willis, DNS, RN, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN; Susan DeSanto-Madeya, RN, PhD, CNS; Jacqueline Fawcett, PhD, ScD (Hon), RN, FAAN, ANEF

Year First Published – 2015
Major Concepts

Moving Beyond Suffering

Dimensions of Moving Beyond Suffering

  • Breaking Through the Masculine Veneer,
  • Finding Meaning,
  • Choosing to Live Well,
  • Caring for Self Using Diverse Healing Methods,
  • Engaging in Mutual Process Perceived Humanizing

Desiring Release from Suffering

Dwelling in Suffering

Experiencing Wellbeing

Typology

This work is a situation-specific theory – a relatively specific theory developed for a specific population with a specific health-related phenomenon. The population example here is adult male survivors of all forms of childhood maltreatment (physical, emotional, sexual abuse and/or neglect) and the phenomenon is healing from the effects (aftereffects) of childhood maltreatment.

Brief Description

The situation-specific theory of Moving Beyond Dwelling in Suffering was developed from the general nursing conceptual model The Science of Unitary Human Beings (SUHB) of Martha E. Rogers. Findings from a hermeneutic pheonomenological study of men’s healing from childhood maltreatment were the basis for this situation-specific theory. According to Rogers (1992), SUHB posits human and environment energy fields as given together. The SUHB is based on four postulates – energy field, openness, pandimensionality, and pattern. Rogers’ described the human and environment energy field patterns with three homeodynamic principles: helicy (continuous, innovative, unpredictable change), resonancy (continuous change from lower frequency waves to higher frequency in human and environment field patterns) , and integrality (continuous unfolding mutual process of human and environment energy fields).

Pattern Manifestation – Situation of Childhood Maltreatment: Pattern manifestations of the situation of male childhood maltreatment, a worldwide situation, is represented by societal understanding of male childhood maltreatment. The situation is influenced by the environment, societal norms, and culture. In the second decade of the 21st Century, there is an under-development of the science of men’s healing from childhood maltreatment and humanistic care services worldwide for male survivors of childhood maltreatment.

Pattern Manifestation – Events of Childhood Maltreatment: Represented by experiences of childhood maltreatment.

Moving Beyond Suffering: Reflects the SUHB homeodynamic principle of helicy (continuous, innovative, unpredictable change). Moving Beyond Suffering is discovered in the narrative reports of the experiences of healing from childhood maltreatment expressed by adult male survivors of childhood maltreatment. Moving Beyond Suffering is characterized by five key aspects: Breaking through the masculine veneer, finding meaning, choosing to live well, caring for self using diverse healing methods, and engaging in mutual process perceived humanizing.

Desiring Release from Suffering: Reflects the SUHB homeodynamic principle of resonancy (continuous change in the human and environment energy field pattern from lower frequency waves to higher frequency waves). Desiring Release from Suffering is discovered in the reports of the experiences of Moving Beyond Suffering to Experiencing Wellbeing. Desiring Release from Suffering is characterized by key features: Openness to change, mindfulness, intention, perseverance, and optimism.

Dwelling in Suffering: Reflects the SUHB homeodynamic principle of resonancy. Dwelling in Suffering is discovered in the reports of the experiences of human and environment situations/factors that slowed the process of healing. Perceptions of these situations/factors reflect the barriers experienced in the healing journey toward Experiencing Wellbeing. Dwelling in Suffering (perceived as barriers in healing) are: hiding behind a masculine veneer, lack of insight, being stuck in distress and escaping through behaviors labeled ‘dysfunctional’ or ‘maladaptive’, mistrust, perceived unsupportive statements from others (including therapists), environments perceived toxic or negative for healing, and inadequate resources specific to male healing from childhood maltreatment.

Experiencing Wellbeing: Reflects the homeodynamic principle of integrality (continuous mutual process of human and environmental energy fields). Experiencing Wellbeing is discovered in the narrative reports of men’s healing experiences. Experiencing wellbeing includes: experiencing compassion for self, experiencing peace, meaning and purpose in life, mutual process.

Primary Source

Willis, D. G., DeSanto-Madeya, S., & Fawcett, J. (2015). Moving beyond dwelling in suffering: A situation-specific theory of men’s healing from childhood maltreatment. Nursing Science Quarterly, 28(1), 57-63. DOI: 10.1177/0894318414558606

Authors

Danny G. Willis (1966 – )

Dr. Danny Willis has an established program of empirical research and/or policy, philosophical, and methodological writings on the topics of boys’ and men’s experiences of trauma and abuse (hate crimes, bullying victimization, child witness to violence, and all forms of childhood maltreatment), boys’ and men’s healing in the aftermath of marginalizing and traumatic violence, qualitative research methods (descriptive and hermeneutic phenomenology, qualitative description), and a central unifying focus for the discipline of nursing (facilitating humanization, meaning, choice, quality of life, and healing in living and dying). His research has been funded by internal and external grants, including the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR). His research led to the development of a situation-specific theory of men’s healing from childhood maltreatment (abuse) published in Nursing Science Quarterly with Dr. Susan DeSanto-Madeya and Dr. Jacqueline Fawcett: the Moving Beyond Dwelling in Suffering situation-specific theory.

Susan A. DeSanto-Madeya

Susan A. DeSanto-Madeya, Ph.D., RN, CNS is a clinical associate professor at the Boston Susan A DeSanto-MadeyaCollege Connell School of Nursing. Her research interests focus on palliative care. In 2016, she was named a Sojourns Scholar by Cambia Health Foundation, as part of its initiative to advance palliative care in the U.S. Dr. DeSanto-Madeya will lead the creation and implementation of an Interdisciplinary Palliative Care Certificate Program at Boston College for graduate students from nursing, social work, and theology and ministry. The program aims to provide them with increased knowledge of the core principles of palliative care across disciplines; an appreciation and respect for the unique and complementary contributions of each discipline in collaborative care; and a comprehension of the interdisciplinary processes needed to care for people living with serious illness—and their families—throughout the illness trajectory and across care settings.

Jacqueline Fawcett

Jacqueline Fawcett is a professor in the Department of Nursing (Nursology) at the  University of Massachusetts Boston. Although she has conducted two major programs of research during her career, one guided by Rogers’ Science of Unitary Human Beings and the other guided by Roy’s Adaptation Model, her passion is meta-theory, that is, the nature and structure of knowledge in nursing, which is the focus of this book.