If you’re reading this, you may be considering joining a men’s group. Congratulations! Men’s groups can provide you with support, connection, guidance, insights and understanding, new knowledge and points of view, and a host of other benefits.
Yet, perhaps you’d like a little more information. You may be asking, “What, exactly, is a men’s group?” Men’s groups, like men themselves, can be a lot of things, which is why the list of potential benefits could go on and on. This is partly due to the fact that different groups’ stated intentions and goals can be quite diverse, and it’s partly due to the fact that the men who participate in the groups can be even more diverse.
However, knowing a little more about groups in general may help you have a better understanding of what you may be signing up for when you decide to join a men’s group.
Who can join a men’s group?
The simple answer, of course, is men. For me, this means anyone whose gender identity or gender expression is male.
Inclusivity vs. exclusivity
Groups may vary in terms of other ways of navigating identity: some groups may be intended for a certain age group, religious affiliation, or sexuality. While this may seem exclusionary, a group may benefit from having certain similarities. For instance, if a group’s intended mission is to support men in being upstanding Christians, it may not be helpful to have an atheist in the group who wants to debate the basis for Christianity. (However, this dynamic might be great for a group in which members wish to explore and challenge their spiritual beliefs.)
Groups may also be targeted towards a specific issue, condition, or life-experience. Therefore, you may find groups for men experiencing anxiety, depression, or anger – or you may find a group for new fathers or men going through divorce.
The groups I run are typically designed to be as inclusive as possible, depending on the goals of the group. Diversity in a group offers the benefits of multiple points of view as well as more opportunities for different types of work within the group.
Aside from identifying or expressing as a man and fitting any other criteria of the group, it also helps if you’re open to learning something new, either about yourself, others, and our culture and society. From my experience, men who get the most out of gro