Introduction

Welcome to men's work and welcome to your Handbook!

This handbook has been created to respond to three needs:

  1. The need for Vancouver Men's Evolvement Network to express its philosophy in a tangible format, so that others could understand and see who we are.
  2. The need for men's organizations to be more visible, responsive and available to the community of men looking for men's services.
  3. The need to create a format or methodology whereby men's groups could do good work, and have a structure in place so groups could maintain themselves through the inevitable ups and downs of group work - the realization being that the simple good intentions that bring a group of men together are not enough to keep it together when things start to get heated.

Of course any 'leader-less' men's group is ultimately self-defining, and creates its own experience, and thus is free to use or discard any procedure it chooses. Other manuals on men's work recognise this self-authority and do not offer a structure to the degree that this one does. The 'prescription' laid out in this handbook is intentional and defines a philosophical orientation to group work that, it is felt, will help create a healthy, safe and beneficial group experience.

The 'approach' that this handbook attempts to describe/establish is as follows:

At first glance all of this might be overwhelming to someone approaching group work for the first time. But remember, this is a 'process', a journey undertaken in the company of men, who, like you will be learning things as they go along. I applaud your courage for stepping into this place, and I invite you to begin your journey into men's group work with hope for a good outcome, with openness towards your fellow travellers and your Handbook for Starting and Keeping! a Men's Group - your guide through unfamiliar territory.

Felix Markevicius