Updated: Dec 5, 2022
Dec 16 2021
Author: Vince Wishart
What is a Men’s Group Exactly?
For me, when a men’s group was first suggested to me many years ago, it conjured up ideas of a bunch of wimpy men who went and complained about how they couldn’t deal with their lives or stand up to their dominant wives. I was looking through the lens of why it wouldn't work for me. Although I really needed help, I struggled to get there for some time. I procrastinated until life was increasingly difficult, and the mounting pressures of life finally burst the “damn” of my willingness. So I went. I was opened up to an entirely new perception of what is possible, and the effective results far exceeded my original ideas. I was very happy with the results.
I grew up in a household where sharing emotions wasn’t allowed. The emotional climate of my home was just “shut up and figure it out on your own”. Then entering the workforce as a young adult, I found the same approach to sharing my experience as a man:
Just work hard, make your own way in life. Alone. Never share that you are: emotional, mixed up, hurt, sad, confused, or anything else vulnerable in nature.
Being angry was good. It meant you were strong. My male role models were my uncle, my grandfather, and my step dad who demonstrated controlling natures with their tyrannical approaches to life. They also had their good points, but they did not have a handle on emotional responsibility. Get er done without complaining, nose to the grindstone, work hard for success, which doesn't involve happiness along the way. Happiness and fulfillment was to only to be experienced at the end of the job... yet they somehow seemed elusive, as the next jobs were right there, undone.
My stepdad represented the punishing God we were taught at church.
So, I was surprised to see that other men in a men’s group were facing similar life challenges as what I was facing.
The men called me on my $#%t in a way that was palatable and landed for me.
There was feedback that didn't sting, that I was grateful for. We really wanted to help each other and
We shared a common goal: to help each other grow to become the best version of ourselves.
My Takeaways from Men’s Groups and Community Group work:
I gained more clarity of my life’s purpose and the gifts I bring to the world.
I was able to see blind spots in myself through the group’s reflections
I’ve learned to communicate better in all of my relationships, improving well being for myself and others.
I learned to enjoy Be-ing myself more fully. I became Comfortable in my own skin.
My mindset improved dramatically
I developed Emotional Response-ability
Overcame shame programming
The men could see the good parts of me and spoke them into existence in my heart
Healed some of my traumas
I understood what it meant to be worthy of love.
I was able to become aware of my victim stance and brought in creativity and empowerment to replace it.
I achieved more success and made more money with my work
Why is a Men’s Group Important?
A men’s group is a group of guys getting together to talk about the parts of life we feel uncomfortable sharing with our family, or publicly. It's a place where we strive to become the best version of ourselves in a group of like-minded men who can hold us accountable to our goals.
The purpose is to provide men with a confidential space to share what’s happening in their lives and how they feel about it. Yes, men have feelings too.
I call it "The Man Cave of Vulnerability."
We talk through our man’s stuff and collectively support one another through our challenges. We come up with collective solutions through group conscience.
The greatest strength a man can have is that of vulnerability.
Discerning where to express that vulnerability is also important. And a safe and confidential men’s group is a great place to do that.
We talk about the challenges & opportunities we men are facing in a confidential environment. A member may bring a question to the group about something they have been mulling over and have not yet found a way through to a solution. Sometimes there are things we don’t feel comfortable bringing up with the other people we see in our daily lives. In a men's group we process these things and become more clear about how to address them in our families, workmates etc, and show up as clear, receptive, responsible men in those environments. Talking about our pressures in a men’s group, helps releive the burdens and shamewhen we find out so many others have similar struggles and each has understanding and wisdom from life experience to add to the circle. We learn to be grounded, and demonstrate wellness in our daily lives in the larger community. We learn how to respond to life rather than react.
This looks like a bunch of guys – generally 8-20 – sitting in a circle in a private quiet room where nobody can listen in to us. Each guy has the opportunity to share whatever he wants and to get feedback with safety and confidentiality. Small groups can feel more intimate, and larger groups have a wider range of potential feedback. Sometimes, when the need and desire arise, I facilitate Therapeutic Group Process. Through it all we discover that we are not alone, that we have the resource and connection to heal, grow, and create what we truly desire in life.
We will start with a check-in. A feeling word and a number. We go around the circle that way, giving everyone an opportunity to connect with their feelings. If one brother is going through an exceptionally difficult time, therapeutic interventions may be offered. These therapeutic interventions are something the group can benefit from due to our relate-ability with the focus person.
I am trained in different forms of group therapy, but it seems that a circle format in a popcorn sharing style with some gentle facilitation and therapeutic intervention from a trained professional seems to be the best format overall for most men's groups. This seems to create ease and openness. This format goes for an hour or an hour and a half then a break, then back for an hour and a half.
I also facilitate talking circles where an eagle feather or talking stick is passed in a clockwise direction. Whoever holds the talking stick or feather is the focus person, and we do not interrupt the one talking. Everyone is equal in a circle, including the facilitator. In this format, we stay present until everyone has shared and then we close the circle. This is typically a First Nation's themed format.
Who is invited?
Men anywhere for the online version. Men around the Slocan Valley or Nelson (in-person group) who demonstrate the following characteristics:
A desire for personal growth.
A desire for connection and community. Men who want to share the journey with others in a supportive way.
Men who are open to feedback, even if they believe it may sting.
Natural contributors. Men that enjoy helping others. A service filled heart
Consistent and reliable. Men who show up every time.
Committed to their group, life, work, and community
We have a space close to Win-law, in the middle of the valley for easy access for everyone from New Denver to Castlegar. Also one in Nelson.
I look forward to meeting you and sharing what we all have to offer at the next Men's group.
All My Relations
An experienced facilitator, NLP Life Coach, Registered Therapeutic Counsellor, community builder, Vince has been running men's groups for 6+ years. Read Vince’s Full Bio