Meeting 2-3
Focus: Intimacy

The basic structure of this meeting is the same as Meeting 1.1 - refer back for more information.

Some issues may have come up during check-in that the group may wish to spend more time on rather than moving straight into the 'focus'; or perhaps some issue is still to be dealt with from the previous week. When it is appropriate the leader moves the group into the main focus for this meeting.

5) The Big Bit in the middle - the leader announces the focus of the meeting

Focus: Intimacy

"A men's group, at least an emotional support group, can define its success by the level of intimacy it reaches."

"The more we are able to share and reveal about ourselves, the deeper will be the support and healing we will find through group. Each of us has the opportunity to experience 'enlightenment', the release of burdens/secrets too long carried, and the healing of wounds too long untended."

"This can only happen, however, if we are able to set up a 'safe space', a space where we can reveal those inner issues without shaming or abuse. This depends on our ability to successfully negotiate and establish healthy ways of 'doing' group. As we are able to do this, men will take risks in sharing their stuff, and if they are not shamed/abused for it, a greater sense of trust develops, and the group will move into deeper & deeper levels of intimacy."

"With deeper intimacy comes greater vulnerability - the 'closer' we are to someone, the more they can hurt us - hence our need to work at and establish healthy group guidelines. This is a dynamic process of learning through experience, and if we are smart enough, and open to it, it can work for us."

Exercises

  1. Is intimacy a normal human need?
  2. Where do we usually get our intimacy needs met?
  3. Does intimacy, or fear of vulnerability keep men out of men's groups?
    1. Are men 'supposed to be' invulnerable?
    2. What isolates men from each other? Speculate.
  4. Has another man ever 'shamed' or abused you?
  5. What was your experience of intimacy with your father? Mother?
  6. Are men able to get intimacy needs met appropriately in men's groups?
    1. Compare to personal relationships - why are we sometimes manipulative?
    2. Is this likely to happen in men's groups?
    3. How can we establish healthy & appropriate relationships?
  7. What are your earliest recollections of intimacy? What was the 'felt sense' of that experience?
  8. What is your most recent recollections of intimacy? What was the 'felt sense' of that experience?
  9. How have you tried to get your intimacy needs met in the past?
    1. Was it a healthy way? If yes - what were the benefits?
      If no - who suffered?
    2. What have you learned from this?
  10. How do you make choices around relationships now?
  11. Have you ever experienced the 'come here, go away' syndrome when you're developing a relationship with someone?
    1. Compare this to the need for human warmth and the fear of vulnerability.
      Are you able to recognise what's motivating you in a relationship?
    2. Do you think this will happen in a men's group?

Notes for Meeting 2-3

It can be surprising to some that our relationship issues are quite often paralleled in our men' s group, and played out on a new stage, with new players, and yet the theme remains the same. Intimacy touches the core of our experience as human beings from our earliest moments. Too many men experience isolation and lack of intimacy in their lives, or perhaps it could be said are unable to establish and maintain intimacy. Why should this be so? Is this an innate human characteristic? Is it a culturally learned response? A prescribed way for men to be in our culture? If so, who wins?; who loses? - Why? Should it be changed? Are men's groups about changing it? How? (Explore!…)