St. Paul military veteran turned social worker Hector Matascastillo will soon lead a first-of-its kind domestic violence group therapy program for male veterans. The new 18-week Change Step program launches Monday, Sept. 10, at the Domestic Abuse Project building in south Minneapolis.
The program was created because, Matascastillo says, veterans often do better working with other veterans.
“The model of a veteran providing services to another veteran, caring for another veteran, mentoring another veteran is still the best model, peer-to-peer works the best and we are applying it within our own agency,” Matascastillo said.
Matascastillo says the group is for male veterans who have either been mandated by the court system to attend a domestic violence course, or for men who choose to attend on their own voluntarily. He says there haven’t been any previous programs like it in the state. Others, usually based at the VA, have focused on anger management.
Change Step was named for a familiar military marching command that cues soldiers to switch feet in unison.
“Change Step is a preparatory command for the command of ‘march’, and we hope that after 18 weeks of coming through our program, when they do their maintenance plan, we are giving them the command of march but to march in a different direction,” said Matascastillo.
You can find more information on the program here.