Band of Brothers: Group Therapy for Men
Historically, the “band of brothers” has been an important part of the journey of boys into men. In human history, our maps of culture have often been explored in same gendered societies where initiation rituals have informed and validated the passage into adulthood. This activity often involved telling stories and being led by elders into new practices, which opened new spiritual and emotional realms to the initiates.
While group therapy has many important uses in many different situations, it is a natural resource for helping each of us find ourselves as we are entering some new life phase, leaving an old one, searching for a path with heart, or trying to put the pieces back together when things have blown up.
I undertook my Tuesday Evening Men’s group in 1999, because I had seen enough men in couple and family therapy to realize that our difficulty in managing emotional conflict was a serious disadvantage when we are being asked by articulate partners or our own children to account for our choices, demands, privileges, and maybe what we think and feel about our troubles and difficulties.
I have now seen many men, both gay and straight, in group therapy, and focused my professional interest around better understanding the role that cultural practices play in creating disharmony and difficulty in men’s lives. I’ve learned a good deal.
If you are interested in learning more about being in a men’s group, or working with men in groups, please be in touch.
Circle of Sisters: Group Therapy for Women
Women in the mid stage of life often experience a great un-raveling. The pillars that have given our lives structure, such as raising children, careers, relationships, and our own sense of ourselves, begin to buckle and even crack under the strain of the pressures in this phase of life. We are faced with the stark reality of aging in all aspects of our identity: Our parents are becoming older and passing into their final phase of life, conversely, our children are on the verge of leaving the nest and starting their lives away from home. Our bodies undergo the radical change of menopause that impacts our core beliefs about our gender and purpose. We might be reevaluating our long term relationships and marriages, our careers, and even our health. For years and even decades, we might have based our identity on how we have parented our children, been seen as a partner or wife, or by the success we might have garnered from our careers.
Midlife brings a great reckoning of how we have seen ourselves and the roles we have performed, Some of the issues that women are negotiating at this time are:
- Body image
- Career shifts
- Empty nest
- Elderly and dying parents
- Societal views of aging and gender
- Health changes
In the process of group therapy we will explore together ways in which we can find our purpose, confront our fears and increase our resilience. By joining in group therapy, it helps us find community and release our limiting beliefs about ourselves that might be getting in the way. Through this way of working, we can discover new ways to show up in our relationships, tune in to our own innate wisdom and ultimately find peace with what is.
If you are interested in learning more about the women's group, please contact Barbara Townsend at (415) 761-9567.