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Doing it Differently
- Engaging men Men generally have a ready aptitude for technical subjects and are notoriously difficult to engage in valuing and developing softer “touchy-feely” skills. This has a definite evolutionary basis. I have developed a highly effective experiential approach to one-to-one therapy, workshops and other presentations which engages men powerfully, showing the rewards of such attributes in all levels of professional and personal life and exciting the passion of men for ongoing personal growth.
- An experiential approach My workshops engage participants in various emotionally challenging exercises followed by reflection on the experience. In this way, participants are encouraged to explore their past experiences and the way that they do things well or otherwise without being shamed or made wrong. This opens up the possibility of trying something new, being open to strategies for doing things differently and making changes based on a deeper understanding of why they act in the ways that they do. Effective experiential learning involves encouraging participants to take emotional “risks”, allowing themselves to move beyond their usual “comfort zone” creating a very powerful stimulus for learning and personal development. The process involves sharing with others in pairs, small groups and the whole group. An essential requirement is the creation of agreements and boundaries to facilitate open communication.
- Gender differences acknowledged My approach recognises the way that men and women experience life in profoundly different ways based on our different evolutionary inheritances and acknowledges that some aspects of ancient biologically-based male behaviour do not work well in modern civil society. An understanding of this promotes the development of much more enriching relationships between men and women in the family context and male-male and male-female relationships in corporate and community settings.
- Uncomfortable feelings are not necessarily bad A non-pathologising approach to understanding uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, impulses and behaviours enables an understanding of their origins, an appreciation that they often can serve us (should we chose to listen to their message) and provides an empowering framework for change based on respect and deep compassion for self and others. This contrasts with the traditional psychological and psychiatric approach which tends to make all uncomfortable experiences “bad” and to be avoided and eliminated without question.
- Getting men to open up I espouse a male-friendly framework for understanding that trust, appropriate interpersonal boundaries and free communication form the basis of all rewarding human relationships and how these three elements can be understood, learned and created. This is of particular importance where open reporting of critical incidents is an essential component of a safe, low risk workplace culture.
More on Doing it Differently
- The essence of mature adulthood My model of understanding mature adulthood places particular focus upon understanding the nature of responsibility (in the context of self, family, community and the environment), the role of gender in shaping human behaviour and the development of a holistic personal spirituality (including what that means, how it may or may not relate to religion, and how to create it).
- Making sense of feelings Men often struggle to access and/or share their emotions. I have developed a readily understood model through which men can gain an understanding of how feelings (often unconscious) underpin and often critically shape all human actions and behaviours. The model allows men and women to make sense of and give meaning to their experience of the four basic uncomfortable emotions namely sadness, anger, fear and shame and to work with these feelings to enrich the quality of their lives and relationships.
- The impact of shame This largely unexplored and overlooked emotion dominates the lives of many men and women and has traditionally been widely used as a method of hierarchical control. Its negative impact on men is particularly intense and deserves much deeper exploration and understanding.
- What does it mean to say “I love you”? A male-friendly model for understanding and creating deeply rewarding, genuinely loving, primary relationships based on unconditional love, intimacy, a shared journey, commitment, romance and sex. The first four elements of this model are also applicable to the development and maintenance of all other meaningful interpersonal relationships.
- The “four archetypes” model of healthy manhood Based on the archetypes of the king, warrior, magician and lover (originally developed by Moore and Gillette), this model provides an intuitive and often humorous vehicle for engaging men in understanding the elements of healthy male psychology.
- I have done my own work I have been deeply committed to developing emotional intelligence, self awareness, my own personal and spiritual growth and living as a responsible citizen in this rapidly changing world. My personal journey as a man, father and relationship partner has taken me to many places, some wonderful high points and some immensely difficult and painful lows. In facing these challenges, I have deeply questioned what it is to be a healthy man and rewritten some important elements of the usual script. The journey and the dark places have been great teachers and I have become deeply wary of “wise” men with no scars!