Please read the ground rules, ask for clarity if need be, and discuss anything you wish to add, change or challenge before we begin. As we all take ownership of the ground rules, we meet on a level playing field and we can safely explore our lives together.
1: ALWAYS TALK ABOUT MENSPEAK MEN’S GROUPS
This is not Fight Club. Whatever you disclose will be treated in the utmost of confidence, though tools, techniques and tips picked up in a group are best shared far and wide. The more men we support, the better our world. So invite new men along or point them to this page.
What is said in our men’s group, stays in our men’s group. Phrases like “I saw this on TV…” or “My friend said…” are fine, as long as no one can be identified. This is often referred to as the Chatham House Rule, and we take this very seriously.
Respect your self, everyone’s truth, boundaries, feelings, perspectives and stories beyond judgement and projection. Respect the space when others talk, and listen. Respect of other people naturally follows on from self-respect.
4: TAKE PART
Authentically take part in the group with words and in silence. Better to say “Pass”, for whatever reason, than to resort to banter, put up a smokescreen, perform, or use any other tactics to hide from what you might be feeling, thinking, or whatever might be triggered inside. We practise authentic presence and connection.
5: BE HONEST
Be honest with yourself and the group. That way you can own your feelings and work them through, rather than quietly internalise, suppress, then dump them on to someone else down the line. We get to know our shadows, we consciously break limiting cycles and we set ourselves free. What a relief!
6: OWN WHAT YOU SAY
Use “I” statements, rather than “you”, “one” or “we”. What you say may not be true for every other man. Depersonalising avoids ownership of feelings, experiences, opinions and issues making change an uphill battle. “We” seeks validation and acceptance of other men, as more important than, “my” truth.
7: STAY IN THE PRESENT
Be clear about what is present now, in this moment and what was true of the past. Reflect this in your language, so “always” and “keeps on” might be less accurate than “had” and “used to”. Live the change you want to be and make the space for your change, with the power of conscious words, thoughts and intentions.
8: DON’T BULLY
This is a safe, inclusive space. Neither aggressive, nor passive-aggressive behaviour is an option here. No one’s safety will be compromised. Men can learn how to better question, disagree, challenge and learn about others with clarity, honour and respect. Be aware of when you feel vulnerable and such defences come up.
9: DON’T DRAMATISE
When someone tells their story, let them own it from their experience without projecting how good, bad or ugly it is. Give them their space with it. Hijacking, or making a meal of a man’s story might tie him to it in the present. Let him name it, have it witnessed, learn from it then let it go.
10: EXPERIMENT WITH WHO YOU ARE
Whether you are an introvert, extrovert, passive, aggressive, shy or confident, you can give any unexpressed parts of yourself a test-drive here. Ask for feedback, then take the most authentic you out into the world. Who a man presents to the world is not necessarily who he is, so let’s explore who we really are.
11: NAME WHAT’S TRIGGERED
One man’s story is another man’s emotional reaction, so best name it, work it through and let it pass. Carrying it home and allowing it to get a hold of you feeds it well and keeps it in the present. We name it, we don’t shame it, or blame it. Then we can live beyond it.
12: LIVE BEYOND THE RULES
Boyish rebellion might be less efficient than manly exploration. Playing small to be ‘liked’ in the group may be less valuable than playing big, possibly being challenged and growing with the experience. Explore your survival rules, restrictions and our boundaries to claim your authentic perspective and position in your life.
Feel free to copy, distribute and use this document as you wish, referencing © Kenny Mammarella-D’Cruz “The Man Whisperer” (Newsweek) as the source and tell me where you’ve used it with a link.
I first attended Kenny’s Men’s Group in August 2014, and was warmly greeted by a friendly bunch of men sitting in a circle. After several group questions, I started to relax and felt more connection. Each man expressed themselves with the encouragement of the group and Kenny made it safe for others to follow. Kenny’s sharp wit and guidance eased the group tension if things got heavy. Definitely the best led men’s group in London.AC, 55
Kenny’s brilliant – friendly, intelligent, incisive, challenging, honest and down to earth. It’s nothing to be afraid of, which was my concern.SM, 37
Kenny is insightful and sharp; he has a no-nonsense, straight to the point style that wakes you from your delusional slumber in the way a bucket of water would a sleeping man. Not for the faint of heart i.e. those requiring ‘mummying’ or ‘there-there, let me support you in your victim stories’ type of counselling. I learned a lot, felt empowered and swallowed hard as my newly found awareness sunk in and the extent and pervasiveness of my stuff hit me and hit me it did… If its time for a change and you want to break with the old script, and you are GENUINELY committed, then he will get stuff shifting…MR, 35
It’s very well run, professional and relaxed, a good vibe and accepting, lots of laughs.JE, 51
Every time I go, it is a different experience. Sometimes it is good just to listen, sometimes to share. I usually feel charged, earthed and grounded when I leave. Great to be in a safe, strong, challenging and supportive circle of men.JS, 47
This is not a therapy group, not an encounter group, not a w*nk group or a place to pick up men for sex, not a group for or against men or women, not a religious or spiritual group, not a political group, not a group of anything apart from whatever the men present make it. Such boundaries are designed to keep our circle clean and free of expectation and ulterior motives.
Disclaimer: All activities are undertaken entirely at the participant’s own risk. No responsibility will be taken and no compensation discussed for loss or injury. By taking part, each participant accepts full responsibility for his own safety and well-being. (If in doubt, please seek professional advice before participating). May the force be with you!