Father of two, Ben Fox set up his first men's group in 2004. Now he's studying counselling and has set up manhood.org.uk to try to spread the men's group message. Here he introduces the site.
Manhood.org.uk is an umbrella organisation set up to support the development of self-help men's/blokes/dads' groups. From one end of the spectrum, it is as a means of improving their emotional health and the other end, their general wellbeing and the chance to make some (or more) friends.
They are groups of similar people (of the same gender) who you will learn to trust, love, listen to and laugh with. They can last for years — if you want them to.
You can share your thoughts and experiences (no judging) and respectfully challenge one another. Turn up (not to compete or perform) but to listen to what we are thinking, feeling (hopes & fears) and saying, there and then. Each group is self-sufficient, but maintains ties with the entire network.
Traditionally, men have been less willing to discuss their emotional needs. Research indicates that there are many areas in which men have difficulties including isolation, loneliness, compulsive competition and lifelong emotional timidity.
It is a 'space' for men to get a greater understanding of himself and other men, or it can be about how to be a better dad or work mate or just to cope with day to day life. Blokes in these groups talk about their kids, work, money!, the wife, their dad — almost anything. The group might just sit and chat on a regular basis (once a fortnight for 2 hours, with 7-8 blokes, works well for most) or it might combine it with an activity of some sort; whatever suits your group.
You might see yourself as; a Dad, a father, a bloke, a man, a geezer, a hero, a wimp?! - you can start a group or be part of one. We can supply all the tools of how to start and build a group; we have made the mistakes and learnt from them, so we can show how to give your group, the best possible chance of success.
It is worth highlighting that we are not seeking to make comparisons between men's and women's wellbeing/emotional health. Also a note of caution - these self-help support groups are not for those living with mental health issues or those who want or need one to one (or group) specialist therapy or counselling.
Page created on July 2nd, 2007
Page updated on December 1st, 2009