Guidelines/Protocols for Men’s Groups

We meet to explore and share what it is to be a man. We exclude nothing and in so doing we examine the relationship we have with ourself, and with the other men, women and children in our lives. In the presence of other men we co-create a safe environment where feelings and thoughts can be openly disclosed. Together we establish an atmosphere of support, encouragement and healing. These guidelines are designed to help you in your journey to a deeper consciousness of the mysteries, the beauty, the possibilities and responsibilities of manhood.

Be Present in the Moment

Your life is lived only in the present. The “here and now” is the only place where personal change can happen. Share your thoughts and feelings as they are “right now”. Bring your full wisdom to the group.

Speak Your Truth from the Heart

Make “I” statements, not generalisations, or “we” and “you” statements.

Own Your Feelings

Do not blame others for how you are feeling –you alone are responsible for your ecstasy or pain. Avoid taking responsibility for the feelings of others. Honour your own process and that of others.

Do Not Blame or Shame

Criticism of yourself or others is hurtful. ‘Dumping” on others is not acceptable. Take responsibility for the health and effectiveness of the group so that relationships within the group can flourish and be nurtured in the process. We are invited to treat each other with complete acceptance and respect.

Give and Receive

Freely ask for what you want. Fearlessly respond to the call of others. Often what we find missing in any group is what we alone can provide.

Stay Around When Times Get Tough

Stay with your discomfort in order to better understand your own personal process – accepting not avoiding deep or unfamiliar feelings.

Talk Less and Listen More

Learn from the silences and the spaces between the words and actions. If you don’t wish to speak, you may “pass”. Use reflective listening skills, “hear” what others are saying, empathise, feel what’s happening in the other, it’s not about fixing or solving others problems.

Do What is Right for You

Make sure you are getting what you want: the group is also for you. You are the only one who has the “inner knowing” to decide how you are in the world. Take full responsibility for your own journey. Only you can find your own truth.

Challenge Yourself

Reach for your true goodness and greatness. To be whole you need to face your shadow self – the dark side of your nature. You need to also accept your true beauty, pleasure and ecstasy. If you are developing a new way of responding to others then tell the group what you are doing so that they will not be thrown by your new behaviour.

Honour Yourself as a Man

Honour your masculine heritage. Honour your male and female lineage. Treat others as equals regardless of gender, age, race sexual preference or spiritual practice.

Allow Yourself to Make Mistakes

Feel free to laugh at yourself. Laughter is great medicine.

Commitment

Make a commitment to regularly attend and be an active part of the group. Make a commitment not to harm yourself, not to harm others, not to harm the environment in either a physical or verbal way.

Confidentiality

What happens in the group must be exclusive to the group. What is said in the group stays in the group. Without confidentiality there can be little trust, little intimacy, and ultimately little personal growth.