I’m writing this post on a Monday morning, following an intense men’s weekend training I completed last night sponsored by The ManKind Project. It is called the New Warrior’s Training Adventure (NWTA) and it definitely was an “adventure” that pushed my physical, emotional and spiritual limits.
The purpose of this post is as much for me to integrate the weekend experience as it is to share what might be a beneficial experience for other men. This post is “Part 1” and gives you a context for my experience of “men’s work.” “Part 2” is more about my specific experience of the NWTA and can be read here.
In early 1990, I was very unhappy in my career as an engineer and I went back to school to become a psychologist. One of my Professors was Dr. Stephen Johnson who started the Men’s Center in Los Angeles to help support men in their growth process.
The “Men’s Movement” was very big in the early 1990s and I interned with Dr. Johnson as part of my licensure process. I facilitated and co-facilitated a number of men’s groups and we integrated the psychotherapy process with the “mythopoetic” work that was being spearheaded by men like Robert Bly of “Iron John” fame.
At the same time, I was doing my own personal psychotherapy work, which is essential in my opinion to becoming a competent psychotherapist. As psychotherapists, we have an obligation to our clients to become as clean an “instrument” as possible. This is critical for many reasons, but the most important one falls under the heading of “do no harm” as it is imperative that MY issues don’t impact my clients.
I participated in men’s groups and I worked one-on-one with a number of excellent therapists over the years. I did psychodynamic work, I did work in hypnotherapy, I did body work as well as bioenergetic analysis, which is a form of psychotherapy that utilizes the body as well as basic analytic concepts. I did Jungian work and energy work and inner child work and learned mindfulness practices and meditative practices. I studied many forms of spirituality. I worked on mother issues and father issues and abuse issues and boundary issues and relationship issues and existential issues.
To make a long story, short, I became licensed as a psychologist, began my private psychotherapy practice, and devoted my time to advancing my career and co-parenting my daughter, Alana. My interest with “official” men’s work waned. And to be honest, somewhere in my late forties, I began to get jaded and disillusioned.
Divorce and dissatisfaction with my life began to dominate, even as I discovered new talents in teaching psychology graduate students and training psychology interns to do what I was doing. There was something out of place, something incongruent about helping people while still not feeling completely satisfied myself.
The good news is, that if you’re bothered by your life, know you’re dissatisfied and want it to be better, there’s still hope for you! Complacency is the killer. And so, in the past few years, I’ve begun to integrate my old engineering life into my psychotherapist life by utilizing the Internet to connect to more people and to help and support more people.
Initially I put my Internet focus on relationships and couples (which are still about half of my psychotherapy practice) and created my Passion 101 Blogsite, to help couples bring back the passion in their relationships. And I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and have a good subscriber base of people that benefit from my gifts.
More recently I wanted to help a population that is closer to my heart and experience and began this Men After Fifty Website. As men who have been on the planet for over half a century, we have a great deal to contribute. AND, many of us are experiencing some type of existential dilemma in our lives. Perhaps we’ve experienced some degree of success. Perhaps we were able to sustain it and are asking ourselves the question, “is that all there is?” Or perhaps we’ve never felt like we have “lived up to our potential” and feel that we’re running out of time.
Sound familiar? That’s why I’ve started this Men After Fifty site. Let’s join together and help each other. I’m ready to dive back into working with men (the majority of my non-couples clients are men at this moment in time, though I’m always happy to work with women as well) and I am in the process of starting a men’s group live in Los Angeles as well as starting a “virtual” men’s group via the Internet and telephone conference lines.
If you’re interested in working with me one-on-one or in one of my groups, please contact me.
Thank you so much,