MOMENTUM 2020: Beyond Victimhood
The 2020 Canadian National Men’s Issues Conference


UPDATE: MOMENTUM 2020 IS CONFIRMED AS AN ONLINE EVENT! REGISTRATION REDUCED TO $20.20!

Pleases use the button below to register. Upon registration, you will receive an email from Zoom with conference access information.





CAFE is excited to host MOMENTUM 2020: Beyond Victimhood – The 2020 Canadian National Men’s Issues Conference, to be hosted virtually via Zoom video on Saturday, December 12, 2020. This is the largest annual Canadian conference of its kind. MOMENTUM provides a platform to address a range of critical issues and timely current events, while working together to chart a path forward, building on the tremendous progress that has recently been made.

This exciting full-day event is being offered at an incredibly reduced price of only $20.20! Don’t miss this unique and affordable opportunity to hear from our group of international experts and meet with amazing activists from across the country.

Join us for an all-star packed event. The following early speaker information is available. Speaker biographical and presentation information will be updated regularly.

The schedule for MOMENTUM 2020 is available below.

9:00 am – 9:15 am – Opening Remarks
9:15 am – 10:10 am Steve Doherty
10:10 am – 10:20 am Break
10:20 am – 11:15 am Denise Hines
11:15 am – 12:10 pm Panel: Tim Goldich and David Shackleton
12:10 pm – 1:00 pm Lunch break
1:00 pm – 1:45 pm Workshop by Lloyd Robertson
1:45 pm – 2:20 pm Jean Jacques Desgranges
2:20 pm – 2:30 Break
2:30 pm – 3:20 pm Panel: Geoff Thompson, Michael Healey
3:20 pm – 4:00 pm Samuel Paul Louis Veissière
4:00 pm – 4:50 pm Panel: Dan Bilsker, Dan Singley
4:50 pm – 5:00 pm Conclusion

The following early speaker information is available. Speaker biographical and presentation information will be updated regularly on this page.


Denise Hines
Denise Hines, World authority on family violence and the physical and mental health of men who sustain partner violence from their female partners, as well as their experiences in help-seeking.
Presentation: Male Victims of Domestic Violence: Abuse and Help-Seeking Experiences, and the Changing Landscape

Dr. Denise Hines, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Work, College of Health and Human Services at George Mason University. Dr. Hines’ expertise includes the causes, consequences, and prevention of family violence and sexual assault, with a particular focus on under-recognized victims of violence. As the former director of the Massachusetts Family Impact Seminars, she also has a specialization in translating university-based research for policymakers. Dr. Hines’ work on under-recognized victims of family violence has been supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, while her interpersonal violence prevention work has been supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education.


Dan Bilsker
Registered Psychologist, UBC Assistant Professor, Spokesperson for the BC government Stop Overdose BC Campaign.

Using a Positive Psychology approach, Dr. Bilsker will focus not on the ways men suffer (workplace deaths, suicides, etc) nor on how men cope self-destructively (excess anger, alcohol abuse, overdone stoicism, etc) but rather on how men can learn to cope better (aggression vs assertion, anger modulation, self-compassion, connecting to others, sustainable fitness, values clarification, establishing goals and plans, etc). He will integrate the findings of a Resilient Coping study done with paramedics.

Dan Bilsker is a Vancouver-based Registered Psychologist, Clinical Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia and Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University. He received the Scientist-Practitioner Award from the British Columbia Psychological Association and was Chair of the Innovative Methods Working Group, Mental Health Advisory Committee for Veterans Affairs Canada from 2009-2010. He was appointed by the British Columbia government as a spokesperson for their Stop Overdose BC Campaign, which aims to de-stigmatize mental health and addiction.


Steve Doherty
Executive Director, Youth Without Shelter, Toronto’s shelter for homeless young people.

Steve Doherty is Executive Director of Youth Without Shelter. Steve’s career has been devoted to children’s mental health and family treatment as well as developmental services for over 25 years. Steve has managed residential treatment facilities and day treatment programs including the first substance abuse treatment program for youth incorporating both harm reduction and family therapy. Steve is a former instructor in the child and youth worker program at Sheridan College. He is a graduate of Saint Mary’s University in Halifax and has presented at local, provincial, and national conferences. Greatest YWS inspiration: the youth who despite their struggles find a way to keep moving forward. He launched his career 24 years ago as a Child and Youth Care Worker at the George Hull Centre. Steve has counselled youth with addictions using a harm-reduction approach to treatment, and believes strongly in a strength-based model of care.

Steve Doherty presentation description:

During my 27-year career in social services, I have seen the slow movement toward the desire for male service providers to become a version of themselves that can only be properly described as a feminized version of masculinity. This trend seemed to gain popularity following several high profile events such as the Columbine mass murder. The approach, which became popular, was to eliminate the identified negative aspects of male identity and behaviour. Young men and boys were told they were the reason for everything from domestic violence to systemic imbalances in power existing in society. If we are to ever have a more egalitarian society, maleness must surely be tamed and eliminated. Maleness became a negative thing and no thought was given to how this affected young men by promoting self-loathing and poor self-images.

Young men and boys continue to be overly identified with behavioural disorders such as ADHD, Conduct Disorder, and ADD. Young women on the other hand were more often labelled as suffering from Depression and anxiety disorders. Girls are sad, boys are ‘behavioural’. Mounting research has shown that clinicians who make the diagnosis are highly likely to view negative behaviours differently between young men and young woman. The Pygmalion Effect has influenced outcomes in a negative way and this has led to under servicing of boys when it comes to mental health supports.

The stereotypical view of males working in mental health and social services is represented in popular culture as void of all negative masculine attributes. Feminized males are seen as desirable when working with children and youth. The win-lose scenario proposes that males are bad and must change to be more feminine. This view is not helpful given the extensive research showing in fact men and women are different and this difference isn’t simply a matter of cultural norms and expectations shaping behaviour.

Men and women are different. What is needed is men who are confident in their own gender and who can display positive role modelling for young men while still maintaining their masculinity. This isn’t to be confused with machoism, but rather a confidence in who males are and how they can move in the world in a positive way without having to abandon their unique way of being. The opportunity to positively influence young males will allow for an enhancement of positive outcomes by preserving the potential positive self-image of young men and avoidance of self loathing.


Jean-Jacques Desgranges
Lawyer, and Bencher with the Law Society of Ontario
Presentation: Beyond Victimhood

This talk will centre on Jean-Jacques’ story and how he went from being a “victim” and using that for many years as an “excuse” to being where he is today, having finally “launched”. He will also broach how the present system encourages one to be a victim such that you can benefit from all the program offers – government and other, AND how men are victims of the exclusion they suffer from these programs. Then he will suggest possible solutions to go beyond that.

In his late twenties he earned a degree in Music – for which he was awarded the Governor-General’s Silver Medal for academic achievement, and Bachelor’s degree in Education. After teaching for a few years, Jean-Jacques undertook legal studies at the University of Ottawa, earned an LL.B. in 1995 and after very successful articles in Hawkesbury, was called to the Bar of the Law Society of Upper Canada in 1997. He has been practicing law in numerous fields including administrative law, agricultural law, commercial and corporate law and family law. He was also a senior policy analyst at the Canada Revenue Agency. In 2019, he was elected a Bencher (the governing body) of the Law Society of Ontario. He has been active in many non-profit organisations and sits on the Boards of a number of community foundations in Ottawa such as the Fondation franco-ontarienne, Fondation Jean-Claude Bergeron (bursaries) and the Fonds Richelieu Fondateur. He is the proud father of a daughter who is presently travelling the world.


Geoff Thompson
Director of the Manitoba Men’s Resource Centre, the only Canadian shelter for men fleeing intimate partner violence
Presentation: Exploring the Masculine in Psychotherapy

I’ve been working as a therapist in the not-for-profit sector for the past 6 years at one of Canada’s only male oriented centres. Over these past 6 years I’ve spent the majority of my time working with male survivors of developmental trauma. This kind of trauma can include, but is not limited to childhood sexual abuse, emotional, physical, and psychological abuse, severe neglect, and the loss of connection to one or both parents.

Over the course of my career I became fascinated with the ways the men would connect to their therapeutic experience. Many of them came at a time of desperation or total collapse in their personal life and were seeking answers to very big questions. They had been socialized to believe that displaying vulnerability was akin to weakness, but were now in marriages on the brink of collapse due to a lack of emotional presence. They were being asked to do something that they did not understand or knew how to do.

In order to serve men better I began researching as much as I could about healthy masculinity and what compromised it. In my search I discovered writers such as Matthew Fox, Robert Moore, Douglas Gillette, and Robert Bly. A combination of psychologists, poets, mystics, and social observers who all had something to say about the state of past and present masculinity. Using what I was learning I began to tailor my therapeutic approach and began to notice subtle, but powerful shifts in the way they began to present in session. They were more focused on their present issues and willing to consider solutions. They were becoming more open to engaging with their partners on difficult topics and spoke with more clarity on the issues that were important to them.

In this presentation I will share with those in attendance 3 inspiring lessons I have learned while helping men heal from trauma and establishing a reconnection to their personal, professional, and spiritual lives.


Daniel Singley
The Center for Men’s Excellence
Presentation: What’s Right with Men? The Art and Science of Strengths-Based Men’s Psychology

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe common barriers to focusing on men’s strengths in a mental health setting
2. Cite key evidence-based approaches to the identification and development of strengths with men in counseling and program development
3. List useful resources to support the development of positive masculinities in boys and men

The first 30 or so years of study in psychology regarding men’s issues largely took a deficits-focused approach in addressing concerns ranging from suicide, homicide, depression, absentee fathers, and domestic violence among others. However in the past fifteen years or so, the field has begun to focus scholarly attention on “what’s right with men” and this presentation will provide an overview of the current state of the art in strengths-based masculinities in psychology. Blending advances in the fields of positive psychology and men’s issues, the presenter will discuss common barriers and ways to foster an environment that overtly calls for a view of males which balances ways to manage areas of difficulty with ways to identify and develop men’s areas of strength. Hope Theory, Values in Action Strengths Survey, the Gallup StrengthsFinder 2.0, the Positive Psychology-Positive Masculinity paradigm, and Generative Fatherhood are a few areas of research, theory, and practice to be discussed.
Format: Blend of PPT, didactic, some multimedia, and Q&A

Daniel B. Singley, Ph.D., ABPP Bio:
Dr. Singley is a San Diego-based board certified psychologist and Director of The Center for Men’s Excellence. His research and practice focus on men’s mental health with a particular emphasis on reproductive psychology and the transition to fatherhood.


Samuel Paul Louis Veissière
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Co-director, Culture, Mind, and Brain Program, McGill University
Presentation: Traditional masculinity,and the mental health of men and boys.

Sexually dimorphic evolved differences between men and women are well-documented in the behavioural sciences. Men on average are more likely to engage in risk-taking and less likely to engage in pro-social behaviour as compared to women. Taken to extreme, these behavioural traits have placed men in all known societies at higher risk of early mortality, criminality, suicidality, loneliness, and committing sexual violence. Recent guidelines for the treatment of men and boys published by the American Psychological Association recognize these differences, but exclusively attribute them to socialization and a cultural package they term ‘traditional masculinity’, which they describe as comprising additional harmful traits such as misogyny, homophobia, and stoicism.

Drawing on anthropological data from the evolutionary, ethnographic and historical record, as well as recent surveys on contemporary attitudes toward men, I argue that the APA makes wrong causal assumptions about the aetiology of problematic masculine behaviour, and accidentally contributes to a cultural shift that is detrimental to both men’s and women’s mental health, gendered relations, and the well-being of our societies at large. After discussing the importance of recognizing — and working with — the biology of sexual dimorphism, I argue that “traditional” idioms of masculinity in many cultures evolved as protective measures against problematic male behaviour and misogyny, and ways of promoting equitable complementarity between the sexes. I make a particular case for the “stoic” virtues of self-control, temperance, endurance, and service to others, and their similarities with principles of cognitive-behavioural therapy known to promote good mental health and flourishing.

After reviewing recent evidence of wide-spread stigma against males (including male self-stigma) among younger North Americans, I conclude with a discussion of the importance of addressing sex-specific strengths and risk factors for the equitable education of both boys and girls, with a renewed emphasis on character education, mentorship, and gendered rites of passages.

Bio

Samuel Veissière is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Co-director of the Culture, Mind, and Brain Program, and an Associate Member of the department of Anthropology at McGill University. An anthropologist and cognitive scientist, his work examines social and evolutionary dimensions of cognition, mental health, and human well-being through a variety of projects including placebo effects and hypnosis, hyper-sociality in smartphone addiction, social polarization, gender and mental health, and the study of cultural evolution. Dr. Veissière has worked with such varied populations as street children and sex workers in Northeast Brazil, indigenous peoples in the Arctic and the Amazon, children with neurodevelopmental disorders, people who intentionally conjure friendly auditory hallucinations, and Tibetan Buddhist monks in the Indian Himalayas. He has published broadly on novel theories and experimental findings on the social nature of attention, cognition, mental health, and healing, and on the impact of the internet and new technologies on human sociality and well-being. His essays and Op-Eds on evolutionary dimensions of contemporary social issues have appeared in Psychology Today, Areo Magazine, Quillette, The Post Millenial, Le Figaro Vox, and Causeur, among others.


Lloyd Robertson
Lead Psychologist with the Collaborative Centre for Justice and Safety at the University of Regina.
Presentation: The Male Self

While the self has been described as the most precious thing we own, the male self has been described as “toxic.” Drawing on original research into mapping the self and into the stigmatization of men, Dr. Robertson illustrates this male self and the challenges men face in self-construction in contemporary society. Workshop participants will learn how they can take charge of their own self-construction. Clinicians and organizations working with such men will understand the importance of creating a supportive culture that will permit this to happen.

Lloyd Hawkeye Robertson is Lead Psychologist with the Collaborative Centre for Justice and Safety at the University of Regina. He is the author of The Evolved Self: Mapping an understanding of who we are.


Tim Goldich
Author, “Loving Men, Respecting Women; The Future of Gender Politics”
Presentation: Men: Playing to Their Strengths

Articulating their victimhood, as feminists have done, works for women because our gender conditioning makes us respond with empathy. But articulating men’s victimhood, as MRAs do, has not worked and will not work for men. Tim Goldich will unpack the reasons for this, and offer an inspiring vision of a new, gender-equal advocacy approach that goes right past victimhood and builds on men’s strengths.

Tim Goldich is a gender equalist who coined the phrase, “It all balances out between men and women.” His 2011 book “Loving Men, Respecting Women; The Future of Gender Politics” is a comprehensive, carefully argued exploration of the evidence for this contention.


David Shackleton
Author, “Daughters of Feminism: Women Supporting Men’s Equality”
Presentation: The Utility of Grieving in Dismantling Victimhood and Restoring Healthy Agency in Men

In the two years serving as Executive Director of a Men’s Centre in Ottawa, David has interacted with hundreds of men who are struggling with massive, undesired life changes. Divorce, custody battles, false allegations of abuse, intimate partner violence, and the realization of endemic bias against men in police, court and social service institutions. There is a tendency for men to become stuck in angry victimhood, outrage at the injustice that has entered and now dominates their lives. The anger of MRAs (Men’s Rights Activists) is emblematic of this trap. Escape from this trap is achieved through grieving, coming to emotional acceptance of the facts of their new reality, and the crafting of a new vision of what they want to create in their lives. This presentation will outline this process, discuss the theory behind why it works and describe how it can be presented to men in ways that they find accessible.