Therapy Outside Normal Environments. Nick Cardone
Nick Cardone is a Counselling Therapist in private practice living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. For over 15 years, Nick’s has worked in community-based, not-for-profit, publicly funded, and private practice mental health settings with adolescents and adults.
This diverse background has informed his current focus as a therapist, which is that men and boys have unique needs when it comes to mental health and addictions work. He believes that, while stigma is indeed a barrier, more importantly, that the social constructs of masculinity play a deeper role, and the way we offer therapy needs to better align with the unique needs of men.
Nick has just completed a 2-year pilot project, funded by the Movember Foundation to address these special mental health needs and the shocking statistics around men and suicide. The T.O.N.E. Project (Therapy Outside Normal Environments) was a 3-month group that used outdoor, adventure and experiential methods combined with expressive modalities like art, music, and writing.
Attrition rates in mental health settings (group, individual, etc.) across North America are high (research says between 30 and 60%). The TONE Project had an attrition rate of one, which is pretty staggering (This works out to be 2.9% of total participants).
Nick’s primary goal is to share this vital work with clinicians and clients alike – that there are other ways we can work with the men and boys on our caseloads: whether sitting solo by a campfire with a journal, rock climbing, volunteering at a community garden, or creating music – men have other options for how therapy happens or where it takes place.
Nick, I like doing therapy like this (walking around outside) but I’d really prefer doing therapy over some greasy bacon and eggs.
One of Nick’s former clients
What Led to the Specialization of Trauma?
Nick began as a teacher working within a mental health program. His experiences there, including being witness to suicide and his subsequent reactions to that event, not only gave him pause but influenced his work with men and boys.
A Crucial Early Mistake
Nick talks about how he learned to be more creative when it comes to working with men and boys, and how his initial view on what therapy should look like was somewhat limited.
- Do your own work in terms of what you think or feel masculinity means to you.
- Look into the resources for men that are presently available in your community.
- Be open to trying different things/resources/techniques with your clients. (In other words, be open to thinking creatively about where you can do therapy, and what therapy might look like for your client.)
Nick’s Go-To Books
- Power of One: Using Adventure and Experiential Activities Within One on One Counseling Sessions, Maurie Lung, Gary Stauffer, Tony Alvarez
- Dying to be Men: Psychosocial, Environmental, and Biobehavioral Directions in Promoting the Health of Men and Boys, Will Courtenay