reating A New Men's Group

Group Formation Process

1. Ads are placed in small weekly papers which offer free community service announcments. Flyers are given to therapists, libraries, community agencies and friends.

2. Coordinator(s) conduct phone interviews, to survey the prospect's suitability for participation in a group. If a man is in need professional psychotherapy a referral is made.

3. When eight to ten men have been identified as having compatible needs, agree upon the first night and a host. The meetings rotate at the homes of group members.

4. Ground rules such as commitment, confidentiality, attendance and punctuality are explored at the first meeting


Nature of Group

The group is primarily a support group, though it may also provide therapeutic benefits. We are to listen and speak from the heart from a place both of respect and integrity. We may also consider arranging group activities outside of regular meeting times, but these are secondary and optional to weekly meetings.



Each member will check-in for 5 minutes or less.
All members will honor this need for brevity. Any man may remind another if they go over. The host for the evening will act as facilitator and check in first.

* Where are you tonight?
Focus on feeling states such as the basic four: happy, sad, anger and fear. Other words are available at

* What do you want from the group?

* How do you want to share?

* How do you want other members to respond? Do you want them to listen without comment, to give perspective to your issue or to provide insight based on their own experience?

Remember: unsolicited advice often disempowers others.





* Can all group members agree to meet weekly at a certain time and day weekly?

* Will every man commit to arriving on time?

* Will every man commit to be attending without missing for a trivial reason? Work and family conflicts are sometimes unavoidable.

Meeting Places

* Can you host for your rotation?


* Members should err on the side of caution in respecting each other's privacy.



After meeting a while experiment to meet the needs or your group.

* Expressing Feelings

* Listening Circle/Wisdom Circle is a more formal yet more focused format.

* Listening Circle/Wisdom Circle Format.

Begin by lighting a candle and placing it in the center of the circle. Place an object such as stone or stick next to it. This is the Sacred Center, a place of raw energy, located metaphorically in the center of the circle. Each person draws upon this energy as needed, and contributes as needed.

When a man wishes to speak he picks up the object becoming the center of attention. There is no interruption or cross talk. After speaking, he returns the object to the center. Pauses between speakers speak volumes!

Adapt an invocation after the candle lighting. Here is one:"We call upon all those who have lived on this earth, our ancestors and our friends, who dreamed the best for future generations and upon those whose lives are built; and with thanksgiving we call upon them to teach us and show us the way."--Chinook Invocation

The host/facilitator then asks each man to answer, "What quality would you like to bring into the circle tonight (e.g. compassion, integrity, playfulness)?

Bring in a topic or intention to focus the discusion.The theme or topic can be specific to the group or individual needs.


* Held issues. The host/facilitator asks if are the unresolved issues between members. Other members act as mediators.


* Check out. how are you feeling now? What are you reactions to the evening's activities?


* Group Hug. This is a ritual closing.


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Copyright 1999 Stan Feldman, East Bay Men's Network

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This page was last updated Thu Feb 1 23:20:00 2001 EDT