Meeting 4-1
Focus: Playing

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.

The focus for this meeting is to explore ways of playing together and having fun.

This will usually require some fore-thought on the part of the leader for the play-activity; he will need to consider what kinds of things are appropriate - what the impact will be - any costs involved? - if an outside activity is it legal (eg fire/beer on the beach?) - how will it affect others? - is privacy important? and so on.

However spontaneous play can be a lot of fun too. Someone may come in with that particular 'mood' and make a spontaneous (unplanned) suggestion to the group to devote some time to some lighter stuff/play for a part (all?) of the meeting rather than staying with heavy issues all the time. This can be an excellent way to zoom us into another place of consciousness and be very enjoyable at the same time. Hopefully it won't be used as an avoidance tactic; if a man is into an issue, he may need our support this week as well (or is he avoiding play? - go figure…!).

The group may want to plan ahead - say every 5th meeting will be a fun activity of some kind, and each man in the group will get to plan it in turn. This can be an exercise in trust, if it is to be a surprise; and can also be an exercise in examining boundaries - do I go along with this or not? - why? - is it a group rule that I can pass on any exercise?

Follow-up to any play activity

It is also a good idea to have a follow-up meeting focusing on issues that came up during play.
What was expressed? What behaviours were there?
What was the intention? How was it experienced?
How did it feel? - was my experience different from yours?
Where was I in resistance? Why?
Why do men take risks/get hurt in play? etc…


  1. If the fun activity is a game, do we want to make it co-operative instead of competitive? (Men know how to compete - and that can be fun - but we end up with winners and losers -this can be a good source of'issues' to follow-up; Do men/we know how to be co-operative? What comes up here? Why?)
  2. When was the last time you played? Why? Who was it with? How did it feel?
  3. Would you like to play more? What kind of activities? How can you make that happen? Who can you ask? When are you going to schedule it? Are you worth it?
  4. Is play/fun/laughter important?

Follow-up Exercises

  1. Share your experiences and feelings you had during the play activity.
  2. Is there any correspondence to past play activities (or lack of them) in your life?
  3. Are you able to own what came up for you? Did any other man experience it that way?
  4. How much of what came up for you was a judgement of another man? Why? Did it remind you of a past experience?
  5. How much of that play activity was spontaneously you? How much did you just let yourself go? - Why? - How did it feel? What did you stop yourself from doing? - Why? - How did that feel?