TODD ZEMEK CONNECTION

Men's Groups for Better Relationships - Owen Marcus

January 01, 2022
TODD ZEMEK CONNECTION
Men's Groups for Better Relationships - Owen Marcus
Show Notes Transcript

Owen Marcus is the co-founder of Evryman.com - an organisation that assists men in learning to have better relationships. His approach is to help men access the truth, and practice being themselves more fully through taking part in supportive groups.

Owen's TedTalk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tQQGWry_7k&t=671s

What is Evryman?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWUzNz4Jw4Y&t=60s 

What Men Say About Evryman
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DN8udbgb22I

Grow Up : A Man's Guide to Masculine Emotional Intelligence
https://www.audible.com.au/pd/Grow-Up-Audiobook/B00R56HB9A?qid=1641036826&sr=1-1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=771c6463-05d7-4981-9b47-920dc34a70f1&pf_rd_r=CDGVJR559WERRK0SDG63 

Speaker 1:

Every week I have multiple couples come into my office and the most common pattern that I see between couples that really care about each other is that the woman is deeply hurt and very distressed about the fact that she can't access her partner. She feels neglected. She feels shut out and really frightened that she can't see a path forward to ever connecting with him, which is just unbearable for her. And what happens for the man is that he's coping with being overwhelmed himself and he has no other option other than the one skill that he's learned over a lifetime, which is to withdraw, to minimize and to shut down . It is not his intention to abandon her. His intention is to protect his intention is to protect her from how difficult things are for him. He's working off the theory that subconsciously at least that a problem shared as a problem doubled. And if whatever he he's going through privately is heavy and uncomfortable and confusing and painful, then he doesn't wanna put that on her. So the more intense things become, including the pattern of the relationship, the more he will revert to that one strategy of shutting back down. So what are men to do in this situation and, and what are women to do in supporting them? The work of Owen Marcus is extremely helpful in these situations. And Owen is the co-founder of an organization called every man and every man assists men in connecting more deeply. And honestly, in relationships, what I like about Owen and the work of every man is that they're so down to earth and that they're supporting mammoth how to access the truth by slowing down and accessing whatever's going on in their bodies. So that that's, that's not a choice. It just is what it is. They provide information about how to do that. They provide clear skills, perhaps most importantly, they provide an environment in which to practice with other guys who are gonna back them up with experiences that they've never had before. Owen's also the author of a book called grow up a man's guide to masculine emotional intelligence. I've personally attended a group that Owen was running and I've had personal conversations with him outside of this podcast. And I can certainly vouch for the fact he's the real deal, a sincere he's knowledgeable, and he's super devoted to helping in the most practical ways. So check out the show notes, to learn more about him, his book, and about every man. In the meantime, I get ready for a pretty personal chat about how men heal and grow and the relationship between individual therapy and group work. The combination of gaining traction and insight through individual therapy, having an environment where you can practice safely to develop that competence is really the gold standard. The patients that I see that make the most progress the most quickly are doing it in that way. Individual therapy can help and will bring about change in your life. But if you have a formal environment in which to practice socially, there's no quicker way to bring those skills online. If you're interested in benefiting in that way, check out my todd.com for the online groups that I'm offering. This chat's gonna be equally beneficial for men and the women who care about them. Really hope you enjoy meeting Owen Marcus. Hi Owen , how are you doing? Hi .

Speaker 2:

Good , Todd , how are you?

Speaker 1:

We're rolling already. Are you in ? Okay. If we just jump straight in,

Speaker 2:

I'm already , I'm all yours.

Speaker 1:

So before I introduce you, I thought I might just sort of set the scene in terms of how I came to meet you in the first place. Then I be keen to hear you a little bit about your story and we can start helping people with theirs from there. So the way I came to meet you was through my own therapy. Um , so I'm a therapist myself. I've done therapy on and off for 25 years or so, but it's not until two years ago that I started making some real progress. And I felt like I was coming home to a deeper truth. And I'd started with someone and , and maybe the third session, we started addressing some childhood trauma and I was so amazed, just associated completely. And it was a real watershed in my life because until that part , um, it was a mystery in terms of why am I shutting down in relationships? So hard, someone who's insightful and a bit of a new age sort of person and meditating and doing all those right things into terms of awareness. Why am I just shutting down so hard? And so I sort of progressed when I was dissociating less. I was noticing that I was still shutting down. I could be with myself, but I was shutting down in terms of, I couldn't really think, and I wanted to push this therapist away . I , I didn't want them close to me. <laugh> much as I'm begging for their assistance, cuz I'm so stuck with this. So that was from a schema therapy approach. And then I started doing , um, uh , internal family systems and I've been making some really good progress with that. But the therapist said, I think you might benefit from a men group . So I joined a men's group and you know, it , it was okay. But I had heard about , um , every man, the organization that you had co-created and I started the fundamentals program and was blown away by how tangible, what you were teaching was. So I've started recommending it to my students. And I've been going a bit deeper into your work , um, really appreciated your Ted talk. I'll put that in the show notes and recommend that to people as well. But what I've appreciated most is the relationship with the body and then the relational aspect of having other people and being the opportunity to practice those edges at where I would usually shut down. So I want , I wanna thank you for that and definitely recommend your work because I think it's so important for so many people in that regard . So that's, that's a bit of the context in terms of where I'm, where I'm coming from.

Speaker 2:

Well , it's a beautiful introduction, so , uh , yeah , I'm all yours.

Speaker 1:

What's been your, your story with this and, and one of the things that stuck out from the way you introduced yourself and your Ted talk was something of about , um , the combination of your struggle with dyslexia and Aspergers and in terms of the nature of the work that you do, I guess I understand the, the power of that. If there's any aspect of Aspergers that you'd struggled with, but I'd be, if, if you're open to it, I'd be really to hear about that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I mean, I struggled in many ways as a young kid and I didn't know what the problem was and I actually think that was to my advantage. I didn't have any diagnosis, you know, I'm 68. So I grew up in the , we'll say the sixties, you know , I was gonna elementary school and um , you know, I struggled , uh , um , but no, unfortunately put a label on me. I , so I just had to work harder. High school was better. I did better academically and socially, but still struggled all the way through college. It wasn't until graduate school that I was , uh , I took a speed reading course and the guy said , um , can you do the cross crawl ? I said the , what? He explained it to me and, and that's going cross lateral movement . So it's moving the right leg in the left arm, no matter how slow I did it, I could not do it or how slow I tried to do it. I could not do it. And as he explained, and you know, as you could find out that, that movement going from unilateral to cross lateral in our develop as a setup for being able to read. So everything started making sense in terms of my academic struggle. I still saw these other struggles I had. And then I'll say 20 years ago, I realized that it was probably Asperger's. And then I went on a questy heal at and started healing a lot of that. And then I go, okay, I'm still struggling with relationships. And then that's when I got into men's work. And I realized as I got into men's work that in working with other men in groups and first more as a participant, someone as a leader, but , um, that <laugh> , I think all men have some form of emotional Aspergers. I think we're were all a little frozen as you described yourself, we're all, you know , sort of deer in the headlights when it comes to our emotions, I was just worse than most. And out of that , uh , I got really, really tense. So part of my story and , and really the beginning of my healing was , uh , when was it like 1976? I think it was, I was in Boulder, Colorado, and one thing led to another and I land ended up going through a 10 series of Alling sessions, which is a particular kind of body work that's , um , developed by Dr. Alf . And then , oh , years ago she's long passed away, but it really releases the chronic stress and the factual system. And with that, the emotional stress associated with it. So I went through the 10 sessions once a week, nine months later, I was an inch taller and 20 pounds lighter and I wasn't fat. It was all sheer tension . So that just gives you a sense of, I tense . I was, but that physical tension wasn't from any real physical trauma, it was from all what I would call micro trauma of stress , uh, attachment injuries, dealing with, you know, having dyslexia and Asperger's and speech impediment and all these struggles of pushing myself through that and, and just getting really. And so when all that tension started to leave, I started opening up emotionally. And then fortunately, I just happened to be in Boulder then. And Ron ke who started the homey , uh, type of body somatic, somatic psychotherapy, Peter Levine was there and a few others. And, and I started with , you know , we're in their first classes, they , your trainings that they did and became friends with them . And they really like imprinted in me Experian also through the training of those trainings, you know, how to work with the body to get psychological change. And it was so powerful for me. And over the course of 40 something years of working with, you know, thousands of clients first in my clinic, and now with, you know, every man and men, I just see that particularly with men, when we can sort of work with their bodies, you know, either in relaxing 'em physically, or just bringing awareness to their bodies , uh, as you described , we, we start to make conscious and unconscious links and to our communication and to our relationships. And as all that builds , uh , we start to unpack our history and really create a new future. And as you said, one of the powers of these groups is you get a safe place to practice.

Speaker 1:

How did your life start to change?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. In Boulder , in the late seventies, remember one of the thing I was living in this house with a group of guys , um , and I was always a nice guy. Uh, and one day I came home and, you know, there was a group of guys and all, you know , every dish we had was in the sink dirty, and I just freaked out and I knew who , you know , and I knew it was like one guy that was responsible or supposed to be cleaning it up. And so I went into it room him and I got really mad at him . And it was like, I'd never done anything like that in my life. So I started having these that were really like breaking me out of my past as my body was letting go mm-hmm <affirmative> . So that was one way I started to change. And then , um, at the same time, I mean , I started my training and, and one of the things I had to do was a year of massage school and Boulder happened to have one of the best massage schools in the country. I think it probably still does. And I be was in that and ended up having a relationship with a cold student. And it was like an entirely different relationship with this woman, cuz I was different. I was different. And, and one of the things that was the most impressive , uh, I remember the first time we made love and it was like an entirely different experience. My orgasm, my whole , the whole, my whole body participated or before it was like, yeah, it was went bad. It was good. I mean, like they say, is there ever a bad orgasm, but this was like a full body orgasm. This was something that I'd experienced. But it was like before I was a bar and now I was a human and it just continued on from there.

Speaker 1:

I'm guessing that that's what brings guys to your work is relationships

Speaker 2:

You're right. I mean, I think most guys or the majority of the guys, I should say the most frequent one and probably the majority is some struggling relationship either. They just ended one or a marriage or they're tiering on ending one. And some guys maybe they invented one and had a series like me, ones that just weren't satisfying. And they realized that they were the common denominator that maybe working on themselves would , uh , help shift that pattern in them .

Speaker 1:

Most of the guys that I work are in their , with are in their forties and fifties. And they've had enough time to see that common denominator or there's been enough pressure either through not being able to successfully engage or being pushed as a result of not being engaged by an anxious partner. So if we to jump in there and then we sort of work backwards, one of the things I was interested in, what you talk of about is the third body in relationships. Can you tell us what that means?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. That actually comes from a poem of Robert Bly who just died. He was a poet and one of the founders of the first sort of wave of the men's movement. And he had a poem, a short poem called the third body, which describes a couple being in a, and there's a third body in the room and the third body is the relationship. It never really dawned on me that, you know , a couple creates another entity, some would say literally like a spirit, which is, you know, the relationship itself. And then I started taking ownership for that relationship. And as I took ownership for that relationship, the relationships that I had started improving, I was pretty passive. And I think like most guys, we sort of default to the woman being the emotional responsible party in the relationship. And you know, they sort of step up at least initially to sort of do that. But inevitably they get burnt out

Speaker 1:

In your Ted talk. You were talking about the model of masculinity that it just doesn't fit. What does that mean?

Speaker 2:

As you know, with every man, we hardly ever talk about masculinity. Most of our guys don't come in with that cuz they sound a presenting issue. But that said, I think culturally, we are impacted by it. And I think one of the ways that we're impacted by it is that there isn't a real model for masculinity in this culture or some would say a healthy model and it's not a conspiracy theory, but I just think ever since the industrial revolution, women have been stepping up because men had to be , be at work. So they had to go to the factory and you know, and ever since then men have been gone literally and sort of metaphorically women have sort of filled the gap, which is great. The consequence of that is that as boys we've learned how to be emotional from more of a feminine perspective and there hasn't been that masculine back to there , let alone really modeling how men show up emotionally. And so what happens in these, you know, trainings, but you know , we certainly see in these groups , you know, like on a weekly basis is guys get from other guys what that model is. You can put a group of guys or whatever, uninitiated, uneducated, just regular guys in a group with a certain set of agreements like confidentiality and our protocol, which, which sort of guides men through a natural process of uh , learning these skills and connecting what will happen is they will teach each other because it's my belief and really experience that innate in us they're instinctual. And so when we're given a safe place to just sort of practice and play with it, guys will start finding it and then like, you'll do it. I go, yeah, yeah, yeah. I want what Todd has and yeah. And it's like, like I never saw someone do that. Oh , that's what it is. Cuz it just, it just like resonates with a guy and goes, oh, alright , that's how a guy cries in a masculine. Well, that's how a guy gets mad without being an or whatever it might be.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I've um , it's been amazing to be part of that experience and to see how capable guys are that as opposed to the shutdown that does not take long for curiosity in that capacity to come to the fore. And it's been, yeah, it's been quite amazing actually.

Speaker 2:

You're right. I mean guys, given a few basic ingredients, most guys will really show up and , and I'm finding over time, you know, over the 40 some years I've been working with guys, they're showing up quicker and quicker.

Speaker 1:

What do you think that women would need to know? Cause a absolutely there's gonna be women listening to, to this being curious and wanting to support their partners. What, what would they need to know about some of these struggles?

Speaker 2:

We in general, men and women are told and sort of believe that men don't wanna connect, but that we really do wanna connect. We just don't know how to. And because of our culture being trained to be , you know , and as you said for yourself and , and certainly true for me, I think for most guys we're so disconnected. We don't know how disconnected we are and we don't know how to talk about it. We don't know. Okay . It's okay to talk about it and guys wanna win. We wanna succeed. We wouldn't get into a relationship unless we thought we could win at it . You know, unless we think it's gonna be successful. But when we start losing at it, it really impacts us. Now we don't show that and we don't speak, we fully know it. And so we shut down even more. And, and then the other thing is, is guys are so oriented towards performance. We're trained to perform. We're trained to, to succeed and be accepted and loved through our performance. And so a relationship becomes a performance act and we keep feeling at that performance and we creates more stress. And particularly with relationships, when we're under stress, we , we succeed less and less somewhere spiral for the guy and the relationship. And then it just starts falling apart. And my , I , I might have told you, my partner is a couple therapist and we do couple trainings together and , and she's sending, you know, all our guys to us, just , just because she doesn't need to work. She's trying to get the, these people. And particularly the guys connected sooner than later. And so the women, they , they love their partners, but they're frustrated and they try to do what they can to help the man. But they're trying in a feminine way and the guy loves his partner and will try that at least initially. But what I try to tell women, it's like, you love him. He loves you, you and it's like, you say, look, I'm gonna make this beautiful dress for you, cuz it's what I , I want and I'd wear and I'm gonna give it to you. And he, he puts it on, I'm a guy I don't wear dresses, but hell I'll give it a try. Cause I love you so much . And it just doesn't fit for the him . And so he gets frustrated. She gets frustrated and it's really a function of the cultural model, that third body having its own survival strategy that starts to sabotage the relationship. So it's a lot of compounding factors that are really beyond each person.

Speaker 1:

We've gotta say some of the faces that you are making in terms of imagining putting that dress on is pretty much exactly the face that I see of guys when they come in for their first session of couple's work. If we get safe enough and I'm able to ask these guys, do you feel like you're failing her? And how do you feel like you're failing her? If we are safe enough, tears are just like, there's just a , a rhythm to it. There's just a beat. And then it just dissolves. Um, I , I just see that all the time and carrying that sense of private shame that not only am I not winning, but I'm losing and I'm losing across the board.

Speaker 2:

Right, right on with the shame and despair because he has no game plan on how to win.

Speaker 1:

No, none, a pretty tough place to be in terms of disconnection and relationships. What percentage of guys that come to every man have reasonable, you know, response of relationships with their fathers. Do you think,

Speaker 2:

I think we get the whole spectrum. Uh , but I think you all onto something. I , I was probably a classic. Uh , I mean I had a decent relationship with my father, but what I realized as I started doing all this work was all the things that were missing. My, my father never said he loved me now. I knew he loved me, but did I ever hear it ? Did I ever get that secure attach? You know , that real, you know, I needed no , but I didn't really see anyone. I was getting it. So I had no cognitive conscious sense that I was missing something, but some part of me knew. And as you know, I made it my responsibility or my fault to , you know, the , the reason that I didn't get , it was something to do with me. Not because of how as being or behaving.

Speaker 1:

I mean, it makes sense in terms of needing a model of how you're gonna turn up as a man within yourself in the world and in relationships. But I guess it's, it's one of the things where a lot of guys wouldn't really consider a men's group as a means of improving their relationship. Like, like you're saying, there's , it's , there might be feminine demands or that that scene is a feminine thing. But having models and experiences that strengthen that are actually gonna be something that's actually really helpful in terms of fathers. Um, I guess that's why I've sort of picked up on the commentary bad asperges. And I think that there's a really respectful sympathy to the struggle of guys in terms of bit being deaded to their own inner a world, and then not having had much practice at responding to others, but definitely in the relationship with my own father, there's a lot of a ton of transgenerational trauma. And , uh, as a result of that, a lot of reactivity, lot of struggle with empathy and , uh, yeah, it's a , it's a very complex , um , it is challenging . Can

Speaker 2:

You just say a little more about that trans uh , generational ,

Speaker 1:

Um, in this circumstance , uh , basically world war II , PTSD , you know, someone who had , uh , been shattered and was trying to hold themselves together , uh , in a way that, you know, really wouldn't permit much in the way of, of tenderness, you know , or safety or co-regulation or any of those, you know, human basics, you know , very common story, but I guess I've got a , a very personal interest in , um, some of the consequences of that and how that's rebuilt.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And I think you're right on with that. I think it becomes generational. And now the whole set of research around epigenics really explains how that's possible. I was doing a , a training mastermind and I was in , um , Montreal and we were going into one of those restaurants where everyone that surge was blind and the restaurant's black, I mean, blacked out completely dark. So you're eating in , in complete darkness. And so it's like a blind experience Uhhuh <affirmative> . And so you go in by putting your hand in front of the person in front of you and you just, you , they walk you in and they sit you're down and you're there for a good hour or more. And it was a psychologist. That's a well known psychologist, written all these books and he says, I can't do it. And I go , okay , cuz he was like , I , I , I said , no problem. And then we talked about it later and he said, it was like a flashback to his ancestors being put on those trains in Germany.

Speaker 1:

Wow.

Speaker 2:

And you know, and so he , you know, he knew enough of what it was about, but still it was like it was his own trauma and that stuff does make a difference. You know , the more I work I do with people, particularly men, the more I see what takes us out inevitably and maybe not initially, but almost is a physiology of trauma and it could be the trauma for another generation. It could be what I call it . Like microtraumas series of stressful events that has that same impact that creates that PTSD or <inaudible> that you talked about

Speaker 1:

In terms of the intensity of those sort of responses. That again, that's where these groups are so helpful in dissolving any shame around that, turning it into a , a virtue and a , and a strength. It's not just because I have this protection that that's a pathology and that if I'm carrying trauma from multiple generations, then it's not an easy task.

Speaker 2:

That's no, it's not. I think you touched on something that's really important. What's his name? Steven PO just says this, that one of the things that he does and sees big reflect from is telling therapists to explain this to people that these are my words, your survival strategy, how you compensated it, got you through that event or that trauma, but now it's advertising you. So that's not a bad thing actually was a good thing. And right there for some people that's just dissolves a shame. But when you , you know , sometimes you need to go a little further or maybe in a group, you hear some other guy talk about it, you see the group honor that man and not shame him. And then everything starts to let go. Like we're watching Ted lasso now.

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah , yeah , yeah , yeah . I'm a fan.

Speaker 2:

Yeah , yeah. Yeah. I mean it's and we just saw that episode where, you

Speaker 1:

Know , I know how you guys like football

Speaker 3:

<laugh> right. <laugh> we do now <laugh>

Speaker 2:

Uh, about , you know, where he's, you know, finally decided to do therapy and he shares about, you know, his father committing suicide. So , um , yeah, it , it , it's often when a guy can hear another guy go through his process, it just creates all of these responses in him that starts to first Desham it give him a new model and really allow him to have his experience, which is the first thing that has to happen before he can change.

Speaker 1:

It's really lovely, actually the , the prospect of self leadership and that he's starting to emerge bravely, but the leadership, it then shows for others, you know, that, that sense of the other guys sort of following he's like , oh , actually, now that you mention it

Speaker 2:

<laugh>

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Right. And that's, and that's what we see in our groups all the time is, and it's surprising how, you know, one guy will do something say reveal something that's very in , in the outer culture, shameful take the risk and some stoic guy that you would not think would be the first one honor. Em ,

Speaker 1:

What happens when guys go into vulnerability? And I know I've heard you talk about victimhood. I think that's a really important point as it relates to, to shame and to stuckness and to vulnerability being a strength and a skill, just interested in your commentary on that.

Speaker 2:

We've all been victimized. But the question and is do we remain a victim and remaining a victim is sort of being stuck in the flight response, even though you might be disassociated and not fleeing, that's your orientation where you could be orient the other way. And the flight response where you're like , uh , Terry real called the grandiose kind of for personality , you know , the bully, but that's more the extrapolation of the fight response that victim response in my world is someone that doesn't feel he has agency because he didn't and he never got it. Certainly air on more that side than the bully side, you know? And I was one of, of them , you , that guy becomes very sensitive, which is, you know, has a lot of great upsides, but the downside is that he still, you know, he judges himself as not being brave. Others might not really feel him. He's not taking the risk that he might want to take or should take to really succeed li and what happens in the group is a lot of things. I mean, he could be encouraged, but one of the things that will often hap happen for these guys, he has a safe place to get mad because in being that quote , victim and being sort of stuck in that flight often, there's this core belief that I can't, or shouldn't get mad because if I get mad, my father will beat me or, you know, something bad will happen that, you know , was a seed that was laid in his child or maybe even another generation mm-hmm <affirmative> . And so when he in this group in a safe place can act out as anger and often in a genuine way, a genuine way where he might be mad at a guy in the group. And so we on packed that and we , you know, we let 'em get mad. And for years it was me. They , these guys would often get mad at because I was the older guy, I was the guy that started to do so I was the quote authority figure, but of also safe . And so, and they see other guys get mad at me. And inevitably, most of these guys at some point would get mad and often at me, but for a lot of these guys, it was the first time in their life. They ever lost it. I remember years ago we had, you know, many groups who put 'em all together. One night, we were over 30 guys in this big circle. And, and I said , okay, we're gonna talk about addiction. Everyone went around, really got honest about how much I drank or smoke or whatever. And then, you know, I just waited cuz track of the , for a while . And then I said, don't call him Sam. I said, Sam, you love your beers more than your kids. And I knew that would him off one because in one way it was true. But because he loved his kids and, and you know, we'd sort of set it up the whole night was sort of set up , not intentionally, but for him and he just jumped up. And so I stood up and this big guy, and I'm not a big guy, got this close , started yelling at me, screaming. He just lost it. And you know, most of the guys in the group are like, he's gonna kill Owen. And a couple of my senior guys say , no, no Owen has that under control. Don't worry. And you know , I went out for a couple minutes and suddenly he collapses in my arms and starts sobbing and saying, I love you. And he could never get mad. And he certainly couldn't get mad at his father, but once he did that , his life started to change. And so until then he was a victim and you know, and he was a victim to his ex-wife. That was an alcoholic. His ex-wife, he , she was still controlling him and he would never stand up to her until that happened.

Speaker 1:

I think it's , uh , I really common phenomenon in terms of that defensiveness. So I having a similar situation, you know, when people start yelling and screaming, consulting rooms, everyone else starts freaking, but this guy basically, you know, screaming to, you know, telling me to go myself and then he storms out. Um, and then I walk out into the car park and he's just, you know, just collapsed in tears. Um, very, very similar. Beautiful. Yeah. Beautiful.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Yeah , yeah. And it takes skill and courage to do what you did to hold that space and not, you might feel something, but not go into reaction just to , just to , to receive that, not your fault, but just let him have his experience because you know, he's, he is doing what Peter Levine and Steven POEs would say in terms of completing that trauma. I mean, until then it's been stuck in his body and his psyche. And finally he got to do the fight response. So after that, he could really downregulate,

Speaker 4:

You are listening to the Todd semi connection for information on speaking workshops, supervision, and therapy. You'll find everything you need@toddemek.com .

Speaker 1:

So I guess when we sort of have some of these lifetime firsts and we get a little bit of safer, then we've got options to get creative, start developing new skills. So one of them that I , I know that you've spoken about is that the power of asking or stating rather than receiving, rather than having to, to map out a trajectory or an outcome, just the power of presence through having language around just stating something of where you are or making a request.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. It's , we'll often stay in our groups, ask for what you want. It doesn't mean you're gonna get it, but the power isn't asking. Yeah. A lot of guys, as you said, are inferred, you know, we will map it out. We will wait until the right opportunity comes or someone else or partner says something or initiate something. But we won't , uh , you could say we we're stuck in freeze . We're the victim . I mean, there's a lot of ways to interpret that. But part of it's cultural, we could be assertive in some arenas, but often in these interpersonal arenas, we aren't

Speaker 1:

Tell us about the rock formula.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So it's our OC . So our is to relax , uh, and to , to relax, you slow down. So everyone tells guys to relax, but they don't tell us really how to do it. And so again, we're given another performance task , but without any support in how to do it, what we've learned and you know, science shows us is when we can slow down our physiology. And the simplest thing to slow down is our breath. Uh , I mean , you know, when meditation slow down in our mind and so we just slow down and naturally what happens when we slow down, we start to relax is we start to slow down, relax. We start to feel. And, and that state of feeling might be a little scary or uncomfortable. And it's like, we're literally, or metaphorically running from some . So as we slow down, what we're running from, starts to catch up to us , uh, and that's where, you know, training or having a mans scoop to help support you makes it easier. And then once you slow down, they owe is for opening up , you vulnerable, you know , vulnerable to your own experience, which pretty much happens naturally if you're slowing down. But with that vulnerable to someone else's experience. So you become empathetic, you allow other experiences to be impacted by you and you start to feel their emotions. You start to co-regulate with them then to see is you reach out to connect. You take that risk and you, you connect, which is what you were just saying, Todd, about, you know, not being passive in your relationship, but actually proactive and taking the risk of maybe reaching out to connect or asking. And, you know, that is also scary because you might reach out and not get a response

Speaker 1:

At a theoretical level. You're gonna get the , the question of what does it mean to be a man. So I'm , I'm imagining that's been an interview question for you countless times outta the of years . Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And I keep my answers keep changing. <laugh>

Speaker 1:

I guess , um , when I , when I sort of think of this stuff, often I echo goes my own experiences and echo goes of the experiences of friends. But I , I do remember a friend of mine talk , talking about a fight he had with his girlfriend and , um , and she was really distressed and she, and , uh , and he said, well, what do you want to from me? And she says, I just want you to be a man. And he says, well, what does that mean? And she says, well, if you dunno , I'm not gonna tell you. So there was, there was definitely a clear expectation, but he was pretty confused about exactly what was

Speaker 2:

Required. Well, and I think women are, and I think men are, and I think the culture is too, because I don't think it's a , a conspiracy theory, but I do think that we really haven't given men a model. And again, it , in my view, it needs to be a top down model, like a , a theoretical model. It can have that as a component, but it needs to be a more instinctual somatic, bottom up kind of model that you pick up the through modeling through attachment through what we had when we were in the tribe. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, and I think being a man is being connected to your own experience. So being a man is really being human first, second , um , you know, leaning towards certain particular traits that men would have have more than women. Uh , one of 'em is something I call , uh , assertive vulnerability, the ability to be vulnerable, which we normally think is more of a feminine quality, but it's, it's not, it's equally a , a masculine quality, but also assertive, which might be the more masculine part. If it's, if it is a more masculine thing where you're open, you're vulnerable, but you're not a puddle on the floor crying, but at some point you get up as you're crying, you know, a as you're in that experience of being vulnerable and it might be subtle, it might be extreme. And you assert yourself, you take a risk and you stand up for some <affirmative> in one way. I think that's sort of instinctual in that we go back of the hundredth gatherers, you know , we're the ones out there taking more physical risk, getting the game, bringing the game back, being the warriors, the protectors. And there's some of , I think instinctual about a man taking a risk and women want that. I mean, when I was younger, I couldn't understand why women were so attracted to the bad boys, to the, the ones that mistreated them . But then I realized I perfected being a nice guy and initially having women really like me, but then women saying something to what you said , like directly indirectly, I need you to be a man. I realize that these bad boys, you know, they were taking risks and they were challenging the women and maybe not in all nice or healthy ways, but they were is energy there. And people want that. And women want that for men want energy , you know, and different women want it in different ways and all that. But I think most women, if they were really aware and, and slowed down, they would go, yeah. I mean, there's something to that. And when, when they see that in the man something's gonna happen, they might be repelled , but they also could be retract , attracted where , uh , you know , a nice guy it's like, you just sort of pass by and then you're not really seen .

Speaker 1:

So, you know , even if it's reactive or it's angry or it's, it's not that healthy or that conscious, at least it's real. And there's something to relate to . There's an emotional truth to be involved with. Yeah , yeah, exactly. So in, in these groups, there's an opportunity to practice and to desensitize and normalize something new. I guess one of the things that motivated me, I I've been thinking about doing a men's group myself for , for some time, but I kind of avoided it because of what I'd seen with, you know, new agey yogurty sort of off. And it's just like, I can't <laugh> , I can't, I've been there, have done that. I'm , I'm just not interested. And so I definitely wanted something that was gonna be a little bit more earthy than that. The O the other thing was with my patients, I was seeing that people who had both, some traction in their individual therapy and a group were able to kind of use that as Ridge to make more rapid change out in their life. And that was really compelling. What are your thoughts on the relationship between group work and, and individual?

Speaker 2:

I , I think you , you nailed it. I think it's , um , synergistic, generative, complementary , and exponential . I'm always encouraging these guys to get in groups if they're not. And when they do, I see that change and, and we're getting more and more referrals from therapists and, and the feedback that they're , because like you said earlier, I think these guys need a place to practice and they need to, you know , with that build intimate, vulnerable relationships beyond their primary relationship and beyond the therapist. So they, so that, you know, they , they , they start at those levels, but it's like, okay, give fertile ground to plant more seeds and let those seeds germinate and produce. And then what happens is without much effort, those skills start to generalize.

Speaker 1:

I guess we get so stuck. I mean, part of it's our resources, you know, either time or money, but we go gets so stuck of the idea of one to one therapy every week or fortnightly, you know, often we don't think of that as groups as being part of the mix, but I think it's, I think it's extremely important.

Speaker 2:

I think so. And, you know, I've been teaching more and more therapists. We did. So for a whole east coast, the us association for group therapists, and I've had some group therapists clients, and yeah, I , I it's really great that groups are coming back in general and then men's groups are coming back and you're right. I mean, that's why I created a new model. They ended up being every man's model that was not new ag was not the old MiFi biotic man's work stuff, or you're running around in the woods, naked beating a drum. No, we're just right . A guy sitting, you know, in a room when it , before COVID, and now we got all these virtual meetings, which actually works better than I would've thought where, you know, they're just being real and, and we're focused on, you know , what's happening in your body, what's happening in your emotions. And , and we're not training these guys to be therapists. We're just training them to be men. And what happens is they is they get trained to be men. They show up more powerfully in the group for themselves . And for other men,

Speaker 1:

I , I laugh for the idea of the running around naked sort of thing. That was , was one of the things that put me off. I I'd done a , um , a tantra weekend once <laugh> and they , um, they divided the men and the women and the men. We were all in instructed to grab our balls and beat our chests and yell at the top of our voices. And, and the instructors like , grab your balls, grab your balls. And it's just like, this is just theater. This is, this is not stretching out into a new version of me. I was doing MMA at , at the time. It was like, if , if you , if you want to get real well, come and have some contact, but this is just, just game playing .

Speaker 2:

It is ,

Speaker 1:

It felt any , felt anything but real

Speaker 2:

Right. And , and in my experience about , I agree with all that. And then, you know, a lot of trainings create deprivation, sleeve mm-hmm , <affirmative> , you know , lack of sleeve food, you know, a bootcamp kind of deal. And so you wear the guy down, you get more change, but it's stayed dependent. It's not the normal state. Hmm . <affirmative> where our groups are . Normal state guys come in. There's no challenge. There's no beating down. You're just sitting there virtually or real being yourself. And so whatever you get there is very easily generalized the rest of your life

Speaker 1:

Through some of those experiences. Well, I'm , I'm wondering in terms of, to be candid, like the groups I have got the most out of have had a great combination between a little bit of psychoeducation and then the personal experiencing , um, I'm also part of a , a group, which is just more of a , a free flowing support group and my energy kind of flags for that. You know, maybe I've got compassion, fatigue, maybe on my co bit narcissist. And I want more attention for myself. I don't know , but I tend to get more out of having a little, the combination of a little bit of focus and then the opportunity to practice got thought about that in terms of the idea of, you know, a long term group. I'm , I'm imagining that the ideal is that we're not, you know, I've got respect for AA by the way, but it's not, mm-hmm <affirmative> , um , necessarily that you're gonna have group meetings for the rest of your life. It's gonna be dependent upon where you're at and what serves you.

Speaker 2:

I , I would agree with you that when I have my clinic, you know , I've often asked to go speak to different support groups, and I never saw as a way to , from a business just to, you know, be a service, but was interesting. Cause I go in say , you got this disease condition, whatever, sorry you do, but let me give you some alternatives about how you could heal it. They didn't wanna hear that because it was like, I started to realize if they healed it, they would have to leave the group.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Right.

Speaker 2:

Um ,

Speaker 1:

Like a , like a fight club sort of phenomenon. Right, right . Yeah . Yeah .

Speaker 2:

<laugh> and , and so, yeah, and , and , and I imagine myself in those situations and my energy would be drained. So yeah. A good men's group is not a, it has a support group part of it , but it's not the traditional support group. You know, our groups, you have a, you know, a set of agreement . We give them what we call the GLT group leadership training , uh , that gives 'em direction. And, you know, after a group or guy gets some traction, you know, they it's creates a momentum. They keep building on those skill sets where they just not hanging out BSing or, or just talking about their problems. And then , and in a more meta level, what happens is that most of us guys don't do anything. We don't get off our until we have a problem. That's kicking us off our. And then we go do something often in crisis. Well, you know, that's just how guys are. And they get into the group or in our train , whatever they get into the, the whole environment of what we're doing. They start to get better. And often, as we were saying earlier, the relationship gets better. And so they're scratching their head, like, all right , why I joined this group is now solved. What are do I do next? And the problem with most traditional groups out there, they're focused on the problem or someone called the wound. They, you know , the group hits a glass ceiling because unless you have a problem in this group or support group, you can't be in the group. And so what I saw pretty quickly in my groups was that is a guy or the group would evolve. We would have to evolve with him. Mm-hmm

Speaker 1:

<affirmative> .

Speaker 2:

And so over the years, I started to see three basic phases of development, personal development, and, you know, group development, you know, in the , in the first phase, you know, the guy comes in and, you know, he's, he's in pain and he wants to escape the pain of discomfort. And then the next phase, you know, so we , you know, we deal with symptom, he feel safe, whatever that is. And then he starts to drop down into doing the hard , to really not just addressing the symptom, but addressing the cause. And that's where the real work is. And I've never been interested in just addressing the symptom. I'd rather for myself and others, have it be longer, get to the cause. And then at , once you get to the cause, then it starts to become sustainable. And then the third phase, you can call , call a lot of different things. You can call it the ascent back up, you can call it integration or reintegration, but at that point, you , you're not motivated by the removal of pain. You're actually motivated by the creation of something new. And if you don't give the guy that kind of support one, he'll either leave or he'll sabotage the group because, you know, it's like he's outgrown the group. And so the group in some way needs to support that man in the whole group and shifting from the predominance of dealing with the pain, to dealing with creating some .

Speaker 1:

So we start to move towards growth, start to move towards new skills, talking earlier about the victimhood in terms of relationships and shutting down. But I guess that would also apply to life, purpose, money, creation, leadership,

Speaker 2:

Exactly.

Speaker 1:

Those qualities. So as we heal more, there's more space, energy, time, resources to start devoting to that. So that would be a great thing to have backing in terms of where you are backing away from those challenges. And to know that you're not alive . And then part of it wants to shut down,

Speaker 2:

Right? And as you know, there's still work when you're creating something in your life, you take a risk and you make mistakes, you need support.

Speaker 1:

Yep . Residual is gonna get re triggered.

Speaker 2:

Right? Exactly . But , but your work is being catalyzed by the , the work or the creation, the contribution you you're doing in the world, not from, you know, healing or past

Speaker 1:

For a lot of these guys, as they develop some of that safety in some of those bonds, there'd be some pretty decent friendships that come out of this at a new level. And it would re reset the bar of what friendship means

Speaker 2:

Right on. Yeah. Not , not a lot of the guys see that in the front end, but they experience it. I mean, one of the things that happens is that guys start to change so much that a lot of their old friends just don't feel right. It's like, you know, going back into your closet and putting on old clothes, they might still fit, but you don't wanna really wanna wear 'em. Yeah . Uh , and the other side of that is see , like in these virtual groups, these guys were all over the world, or at least all over, you know , the us and, you know, several months into it, they were flying to see each other. That's awesome . Yeah . How close? Not every group, but several the groups were cause they , you know , they developed such a bond virtually , uh , that, you know, it's like, I want to be in person with you. Yeah. And so,

Speaker 1:

But I'm , I'm noticing some changes in my own friendships. And this is early days. I only started as fundamentals, like the less than eight weeks ago now. But I'm noticing that the way I'm turning up with my existing friends and over the last couple of years, I've changed and grown, I've lost probably the majority of people I thought would be with me for life, just recognizing capacity and accepting for them , for who they are. So I, I guess if I'm , if I'm honest, I had some concerns that of , of the people remained, you know, if I was more myself, would I literally lose everybody, but it's, it's been amazing in terms to their capacity and their , their ability to sort of step up and it's growing. So there's other people starting to come into that space at a similar level. So yeah, I , I thank you for every man and for its contribution to, to my growth as well. It's been really tangible. And then, you know , when we think about therapy often it's a very slow burn, especially if we're starting from scratch, what I've received has been incredibly tangible , um, very, very rapidly. So I'm actually now referring patients to their man fun fundamentals , um , coming up oh , great . And , and will continue to do so

Speaker 2:

It's our goal is to, is to have, and we'd love any feedback to make it that , you know, the entry point for grooves for every man and sort of, you know, the basics, you know, the , not everything, but the , the , you know, what are the , the key components that, that we didn't get as men that we could give men that would get 'em started on ultimately their own path. Yes . It's sort of the, every man path in some ways, but really it's their own path. And it's, you know , how they wanna apply the skills that we're gonna be giving them .

Speaker 1:

So for the guys that they're listening, you've got a book. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I mean that the book , uh , is grow up a man's guide to ask emotional intelligence. It's real simple. It's you me just looking at the nine states that I saw in a man's natural maturation and essentially what would happen is cuz of stress trauma or lack of attachment or culture, we would not have a key component. We would skip over that part of our maturation. And that becomes a hole that keeps stucking us in. So it's about, okay, where is that hole or holes for you? And what can you do to sort of fill that hole? You know , that's something I wrote a few years ago, I'm gonna process already a new book , more about, you know , what we're doing with every man. And it'll be a while before that to help. And so every man, yeah, we have that website and it's every man, but the second E missing , uh , we couldn't afford that. So it got left out. Um , and you can go to the website. It explains basically what we do, but the core of what we have is membership and it's right now , uh , $28 us dollars per month. And with that, you get access to what we call our digs, hop in groups, which are free. You get discounts for the virtual and live courses. You get other , uh, things that we, but now what we're having guys do is that program that you did a four week course , uh , an immersion course in the fundamentals of, of every man where you're not just learning, you're learning it experientially. And you're learning it for groups because everything we do with every man in some way has a group experience. And then that sets you up to be in a committed group, an ongoing group often for most guys, it's virtual now , uh , which is an hour and a half to a few hours a week with a , you know, a small group of guys. You know , we give you a set of guides to do every week. So you just become more effective and efficient. You learn these skills in the process, and then you , you know, you got your group community, you got the general community and we have closer a thousand guys and every man and this just so far been word of mouth , cause we haven't done any outbound marketing yet. It's just working on getting the machine built

Speaker 1:

You . I can , I can see why based on the , on the quality , uh , I guess it's one of the upsides of COVID , um , in terms of reaching out for connection and doing it via zoom, you know, sometimes I'll have people say, oh no, no, that , that couldn't be as powerful as doing it in the, in , in the real world. But that's just not true. <laugh> when people engage with what in what's inside them, it's in instantaneous and it's every bit is powerful.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I would've thought that. And you know, I knew that we had to get into the virtual, but I didn't think it could be as powerful , uh, as it has been. And I remember, you know, we do these global calls every few weeks with thought leaders. And, and I remember when we started right after Cole guys would come back from putting 'em in a breakout group and we'd ask 'em what happened. And inevitably they would say cuz they were all new guys in the beginning. Oh , I didn't know anyone, but by the end of 10, 15 minutes we felt like best friends. I ended up telling these guys things. I told anyone. Yeah . I mean , can I get their number? I mean , it's like,

Speaker 1:

That's true.

Speaker 2:

Yeah . It , yeah . It's like COVID and all that I think made him hungrier. But yeah , it was really how intimate the virtual world can really be. Yeah . When it's done this way and not, you know, social media

Speaker 1:

And practically, if you look at how many opportunities are there for guys to connect at that level, if you look over a 12 month period for so many guys, how many opportunities do they have, where that happens and it's possible for a lot of guys, there's just none, you know, it would be incidental or in incredibly brief. And they wouldn't be attuned to seeing that as a priority or, or to following it up. And so this is where you , you know , years and decades can go by of isolation.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And as you know, and the stats show us as we get older, it gets worse and worse. And you know, I've started many men's groups and supported other men doing it. And if you're more of an entrepreneurial kind of guy, you can do it. But for a lot of guys that want a group, but they don't know how to do it, where to start or the community's too small or they think too conservative or whatever. Yeah . The great thing with every man, you just join every man, you need to do fundamentals and will help put you in a , in a virtual group with other guys and you get great diversity, what you probably wouldn't have in your community. And you develop these real relationships that if you want, I mean , after say a year, doing it and getting the skills up, you go, all right , I'm ready to do a live one in my community. And I know how to do it now where yeah, most guys we found would not do it, even though they wanted it. It , they go , they , and we've been doing this for a few years. They go, well, if you know some guy in Wichita that wants to do it, I'll join his group, but I won't start it.

Speaker 1:

I think there'd be a natural progression for a lot of guys. For sure. I've actually got a friend that's, that's done that. Not so far away. So as we wrap up, if I put you on the spot and you had one message for men who are struggling and are connecting with the message, the struggle with shutting down, and then perhaps a , a message for women who are, are looking to connect with guys who are struggling in that way, what would be the message that you would give to each,

Speaker 2:

Take the risk, you know, reach out. And it's not even that you're asking for help, which maybe you are, but like you were saying, Todd, I mean joining every man is a pretty simple thing and you can join. Well, you there's a few things on the outside without even being a member and even being a member, you can join and you can come to a drop in group. You don't have to do anything. We get new guys. All I do is this witness. You can start in a very passive way and join for a month. It's $28. If you don't like it, you can leave. It's not much of a risk. And I think you're gonna find you're not alone. Cause we did this big survey of about a year ago. We brought in this fellow that, you know , had a big survey company and he worked for the large corporations out there and he did this very extensive interview. Or, and then he interviewed, I dunno , good, 20 guys like an hour each. And he came back with this huge report and it was very impressive. And the one thing that he found from these guys is that these , you know, men feel like they don't want to be alone. They feel like they're the only one and that's , and they're failing in life.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm <affirmative>.

Speaker 2:

And what happens is when these guys join, like every man, they realize that they're not the only one they're not alone. And, and actually just being themselves, even if they judge themselves as being really screwed up is actually a contribution for other men. <affirmative> and that's a hard concept for most guys to understand like, well , right , I'll join, but I'm, you know, I'm probably really weird. I'm really screwed up or what could I ever contribute? Mm-hmm <affirmative> and what guys find is the biggest contribution that we can make to our groups, I would say to anyone, but we'll just keep it with our groups is to , is being present and being yourself as imperfect as that might be. That's something you know, how to do , uh , with every man is create environments where guys can do that.

Speaker 1:

It was pretty blown away in one of the first breakout groups, just divide into small groups. Everyone would take a few minutes each and this one guy starts talking and it was just like, if I looked at a transcript, it's just like, that would've come from me. Like this is a carbon copy of like, how did that come outta your mouth? <laugh> you know, the tone, the content, the cadence. It was just, yeah, it was just like an echo of something I hadn't said

Speaker 2:

<laugh> and it's so beautiful. And so as he was staying there , what were you feeling?

Speaker 1:

Um, my jaw dropped a little as , uh , as I was now and uh , um, yeah, maybe a little more at home or a little lighter or a little more , uh , optimistic , uh , and drawn towards the group. Yeah, definitely. Uh , just a sense of belonging as, as opposed to the naked guys in the , in the Bush.

Speaker 2:

Right. Right. And, and to answer your question about women, I, I would just encourage women to support men to give it a try. I mean , what we find, even in the best relationships though , is the emotional authority. So the guy will go, you know, will take the , you know , the book or the , the website and go, honey, what do you think about this? You think I should do this? And I haven't met a woman yet that said no. And most of the women are the biggest champion, but really, yeah . Women love men. Be it loving the son , the loving the , or, you know, our partners loving us. They want us to succeed for yes , selfish reasons because they want us, but they, they also want us just not to be suffering so much. They're often at the wits end because they've run out of everything that they have to help us.

Speaker 1:

I would also recommend participation for therapists. I've trained in gestalt therapy many years ago. That's been part of my thinking. I've run a number of different types of groups, but I've certainly got something outta this. And I definitely recommend it to any therapists out there as well. And I gotta thank you for the recommendation of tuning into Terry Re's workshop yesterday, which was really stunningly helpful. So for therapists , uh , definitely every man provides some resources there that are really wonderful.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Um, two days yesterday I was talking to , um, Sue Johnson. She's gonna , we're gonna do a program with Herre, who's a friend of ours. Who's gonna do a program with ours and it's a ,

Speaker 1:

Still a crew that you're assembling.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I mean, and what these people see is that we're really trying to help guys than we are, and it really supports all these other kinds of therapies. You know , we had Dick Schwartz on , uh , I'm just really happy and impressed with how therapy's changing too. It's getting out of that cognitive and analytical model with the top down and more the somatic emotional, you know , experiential model and, and all those therapies are the ones that are so hot. Now

Speaker 1:

It's starting to, to mature both the sophistication and the tenderness.

Speaker 2:

Any effectiveness .

Speaker 1:

Yes. Yeah . <laugh> that too . <laugh> thank, thank God. Yeah . So yeah ,

Speaker 2:

It's

Speaker 1:

Great

Speaker 2:

To be part . And , and I think that's one of the reasons that therapists is so interested in what we're doing is that when I was learning this stuff 40 years ago from these guys that were on the fringe, I knew they had some, and I'm so happy that these therapies are really taken hold. I remember Peter Levine back in, you know, like the early eighties, he was really fringe and now trauma work is like the hottest work out there.

Speaker 1:

Just thank you so much for, for what you do. And thank you for, you know, for the benefits of anyone I'm listening to this. And, and for my patients, quite frankly , um, they have the same reservations that I had. So being able to introduce them to you through, through me , um, I think would be a really, really helpful thing. So yeah. Can't thank you enough for that.

Speaker 2:

Well, thank you Ty , for having me on , thank you, you for joining us and thank you for , um, willing to be the , uh , the Guinea pig for your patients. <laugh> not many men would do that. So I mean, that sets you apart for , as a unique therapist and , um, you know, and I'm the same way. I don't usually recommend something unless I've tried it myself.

Speaker 1:

Sure. Well, it's, it's uh , through necessity, but it's a , it's a passion too. So

Speaker 2:

Me too. <laugh>

Speaker 1:

But yeah , a million thank yous.

Speaker 2:

Oh , thank you .