Center offers help for men who batter

By JANICE PODSADA

Herald Writer

LYNNWOOD — Domestic violence doesn’t have to escalate from threats, yelling and intimidation to hitting.

A batterer doesn’t have to wait for the police, a judge or a court order to change his behavior.

"You can call," said Dan Reynolds, who treats men who are batterers.

Reynolds, 53, is the treatment director of Options Evaluations and Treatment in Lynnwood. Although the majority of men he treats attend the year-long counseling program under court order, he has worked with many who call voluntarily to ask for help.

"Typically what they say when they call is ‘my wife and I are having some problems,’ " Reynolds said.

Andre, 28, (who asked that his last name not be used) credits the program with saving his marriage.

When he sought treatment a year ago, he’d spent his first night in jail. He was angry with his wife for calling police. His attitude toward Reynolds’ program was that it was a lot of "mumbo jumbo" he didn’t need or particularly want.

"I had a lot of resentment toward my wife; she locked me up," Andre said. "It was Dan who said, ‘No, you locked yourself up by your actions.’ "

The first six months of the program, patients attend a weekly two-hour group counseling session, which is limited to no more than eight men. The cost is $35 per session. Reynolds also treats men in his program who physically abuse their children.

The second six months, patients attend a two-hour session once a month, said Reynolds, who is certified by the Department of Social and Health Services.

"What we do here is men’s work," he said.

Andre agreed.

"We go in there and get feedback off one another," he said. "When’s the last time you had a man ask for help?"

The group setting also made him aware he wasn’t the only man who kept his emotions under wraps.

"The feeling is you’re able to keep your manliness and talk about your feelings. At first, most men consider the other men wimps when they start talking about their feelings. But that’s what we’re here for. I got a raise at work. It compounds and you can see how it changes every aspect of your life."

In the course of treatment, Andre realized that the values he learned from his father didn’t work.

"I grew up in a strict household. My dad was king. You didn’t ask questions. I never learned to identify feelings — I feel lonely. I feel neglected. A lot of people are never taught that."

Reynolds, however, never forgets who comes first.

"My primary patient is the victim," said Reynolds, who keeps in close contact with the wives and girlfriends of his patients to make sure they are safe.

Domestic violence is epidemic, and according to many studies its incidence is increasing, especially among the young. Younger victims — teen-agers — report having been abused by someone they’re dating.

Reynolds’ program isn’t only for men who batter. It’s for men who’ve grown up as the victims of, or witnesses to, domestic violence. More than 70 percent of the men he has treated say they grew up in an abusive family.

"In my opinion there isn’t any man alive who can’t use what we do here," Reynolds said.

Chalk it up to the Mr. Macho, Mr. Fix-It roles, king-of-the-castle society asks men to fill, Reynolds said.

"Men don’t have very many venues to show weakness, to ask for help without feeling inadequate, whether they’re abusive or not," he said.

In his group, Reynolds tries to provide that venue.

He knows some of what boys learn in the home. Growing up, he watched his parents brawl.

"It was a battering match every day."

When Reynolds reached adulthood, he waged a continuous war with his own anger.

"I’ve never been an abuser, but growing up I was a very violent man," he said. "I feel a connection with the men."

But feeling a connection doesn’t mean he’s easy on the guys, said Tammy McElyeac, domestic violence coordinator with the Mountlake Terrace Police Department.

"They call him In-Your-Face Dan," said McElyea, who refers many batterers to Reynolds’ treatment center.

"It’s one of the major programs I refer to," McElyea said. "He’s very clear on the importance of victim safety."

Reynolds began the program five years ago after working with men in his alcohol and drug-abuse treatment program, some of whom were also batterers and clearly needed additional counseling.

About 73 percent of the men who begin treatment with Reynolds complete the program — if they make it past the sixth week.

After about two months in treatment, Andre decided to listen to the "mumbo jumbo."

"I figured since I was paying for this I might as well listen. I wanted a piece of the serenity he (Reynolds) had," Andre explained.

"He never once said you shouldn’t be angry. But you need to know there are many different ways to handle anger. Grab your keys and split. Take a walk. Let it ride for a day. Put your thoughts in a letter to the other person," he said.

The number of men who reoffend isn’t clear. As with many treatment programs, statistics tend to be anecdotal. Counselors can keep track only of the men who return to enter the program a second time.

Reynolds admits he’s on a crusade.

"We’re going the way of the Romans if we don’t put a stop to this," he said.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

Former president Donald Trump is seen with a bloody ear as he is assisted off the stage during a campaign rally in Butler, Pa., on Saturday. MUST CREDIT: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post
Pops, screams and then blood: On the scene at the Trump rally shooting

Isaac Arnsdorf, Jabin Botsford | The Washington Post BUTLER, Pa. - The… Continue reading

Biden, Democrats, Republicans denounce shooting at Trump rally

Reaction pours in from government leaders

A bloodied Donald Trump is surrounded by Secret Service agents at a campaign rally in Butler, Pa, on Saturday, July, 13, 2024. The former president was rushed off stage at rally after sounds like shots; the former president was escorted into his motorcade at his rally in Butler, Pa., a rural town about an hour north of Pittsburgh. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
FBI investigating failed assassination attempt against Trump

Former president ows to remain “defiant in the face of wickedness.”

x
Man charged with hate crime in knife attack at Ezell’s in Edmonds

The suspect, 47, waved a knife at two workers while yelling about getting rid of “the Hispanics,” charging papers say.

Firefighters and EMTs with Sky Valley Fire tour Eagle Falls while on an observational trip on Wednesday, July 10, 2024, near Index, Washington. (Jordan Hansen / The Herald)
Beautiful but deadly: Drownings common at Eagle Falls, other local waters

Locals and firefighters are sounding the alarm as Eagle Falls and the Granite Falls Fish Ladder have claimed five lives this year.

A view of the south eastern area of the Lake Stevens that includes lakeshore and UGA that is a part of the city's annexation area on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020 in Lake Stevens, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Lake Stevens fight to take over sewer district could end soon

The city and sewer district have been locked in a yearslong dispute. A judge could put an end to the stalemate this month.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.