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    Changing the Conversation

    Marc Dones

    Marc Dones
    Marc Dones was a trainer for t3 and the Center for Social Innovation supporting human service providers in delivering recovery-oriented, trauma-informed services to people living with substance use disorders, HIV/AIDS, and other related challenges. Previously, Marc worked at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, focusing on youth violence prevention and reduction as well as systemic responses to youth homelessness. Marc was also the Director of Project Management for Child and Adolescent Services at the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. They served on the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth and co-chaired the Administration Committee. Marc is a graduate of New York University's Gallatin School with a concentration in Psychiatric Anthropology. In their spare time, Marc hangs out with their dog, rides a bike, and is generally impractical. Marc's favorite color is chartreuse.

    Recent Posts

    Advancing Justice: Act Now!

    "Peace proposals unaccompanied by a sworn covenant indicate a plot." —Sun Tzu, The Art of War

    "We are all just trying to be holy." —Richard Siken, Snow and Dirty Rain


    If we’re going to talk about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I want to talk about the tactician. I want to talk about the general who methodically moved the war banner of racial equity across the country—who died in the fight.

    A.O.: After Orlando – Fragments

    Inexcusable, the slaughter in this world.
    Insufficient, the merely decent man.

    At the Restaurant, Stephen Dunn


    There’s a certain kind of loss that is supposed to accompany terrorism. A loss of innocence and the sort of sudden and caustic realization that you are not safe—that safety in this world is an illusion, anyone can have access to your personhood at any point. You’re supposed to think to yourself, How could this happen?

    Holiday Tips for Supporting People with Substance Use Disorders


    The holiday season can be tough for many, especially those experiencing homelessness, trauma, and mental health and substance use challenges. Marc Dones shares his tips for supporting family and friends living with substance use disorders during the holidays and throughout the year.

    Remembering on World AIDS Day

    If something is to stay in the memory, it must be burned in: only that which never ceases to hurt stays in the memory. —Friederich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals

    Loneliness is violence in slow motion. —Robert Glück, Jack the Modernist


    A few months ago I met an ex of mine at his apartment. As dinner led to kissing because sometimes dinner does that, he put a hand on my shoulder and said, I want you to know I’ve tested positive. I said, Ok, because I wasn’t sure what else to say. Later he texted me about how he had felt shame and fear, and I asked if I had ever made him feel that way. He said, No, but then he didn’t text me again which of course meant Yes.

    But What Do I know?

    I remember when I was first doing clinical training we had an advanced psychopathology course every Wednesday after rounds. When we started, we looked at the syllabus and there were a number of familiar texts: the DSM-IV-TR, and Adult Psychopathology and Diagnosis. But sprinkled throughout the texts were other readings: Nabokov, Dostoyevsky, Rilke. After we’d had a moment to look it over the teacher said, You will no doubt notice that there are a number of texts that you have not seen before. This is because I assume that your clinical training to be largely complete. Otherwise how would you get here? But now you have to learn what things actually look like. And, over the course of my career, I have found that anywhere a psychiatrist would go a great writer has been there before and has described it better.


    I can no more remember

    What brought me here

    Than bone answers bone in the arm

    Or shadow sees shadow—

    Billy the Kid, Jack Spicer


    The other day I said to someone, The thing about trauma is that it just puts you in this place of chronic mourning. You just spend a lot of time mourning losses that were a long time ago and what you will lose in the future as a result. I was thinking about a time I was sitting in my therapist’s office and felt like crying when I said, What would I be capable of if I didn’t have to spend so much energy managing my own mind? Who could I have been?

    To Hell and Back: The Myth of Survival

    look at your face your face
    is old but suffering is

    —Anne Carson, Red Doc >

    The holidays are here again and so are all the articles about what to be thankful for, how to be thankful, the importance of being thankful. I am supposed to be thankful for the job I have (which I love), the winding path that got me here to a place where I am able to do work that I find so valuable. Which means I have to think about all the things that happened to me that put me here. I have to think about the things that were wonderful and the people who gave me so much to feel gratitude for—and I have to think about the people who took so much from me, and in such irreparable ways that I could not do this work without being able to source my passion from my hurt. But it also means that I have to acknowledge, again, the depth of that hurt.

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