DadsLink hosts a monthly group to give men the chance to connect with other men in healthy and supportive ways.
Please visit and join our YMCA DadsLink Meetup Group for event dates and details.
Article on the peer support group for Dads, by Tony Gee (founder of the Life Is ... Foundation, one of the DadsLink partners - see Links to the right).
Join our monthly Dads Gatherings to discuss fatherhood and life issues. Visit the main DadsLink Events page (see Related Pages to the right) for dates of the Dads Gatherings hosted by DadsLink.
Peer Support for Dads
In our current social world, it is rare for men to be found in groups other than those focussed on sports or particular activities. It is rarer still for these groups to be somewhat ‘open’ in structure, and content, so a variety of interpersonal issues can be explored. The DadsLink Gatherings have evolved over time to be such a group with a focus on Life issues.
The discussions range from separation, to step parenting, to children’s issues, and can also include re-partnering, work, illness, loss, as well as celebrating milestones and achievements - in other words whatever is uppermost in each man’s life at the time. This comes with a recognition that each person’s issues may be different, that these differences are not only valid but energise and enliven discussion in their own way.
The structure we have come to use in the ‘talking circle’ is also of interest. In general, because of the nature of most of our workplaces and many networks, men are used to participating (with or without choice) in hierarchical structures, to having a ‘supervisor’ or someone more ‘expert’ to whom one must turn. This can undermine self-reliance, independence, and the strengths, resources and answers that each man carries within. The structure of the Gatherings attempt to disempower such hierarchical patterns and empower a different form that is independent and strength based.
Gatherings are non-hierarchical although it is important that one or two facilitators ‘hold’ the group for the night - in some groups these roles may be rotated, others have assigned roles. Each person takes a turn to talk, so there is a ‘space’ created for each in turn to tell whatever's important to them at the time. There may be some gentle questions, further clarifications, and so on when they finish, but these groups are not about ‘solving’ nor about ‘interpreting’ (unless the group’s input is requested).
Mutual Peer Support
From my point of view, interpretation belongs to a different mode of practice; one that has not served us particularly well in the past. This mode aligns with the ‘expert’ model and encourages the vesting of power in another, a subtle undermining of one's own strengths, and often serves the ‘experts’ own needs and agenda more than it does the ‘clients’. Non-hierarchical talking circles are embedded in a very different mindset that is more consistent with the long tradition of inter-relational practices in the indigenous world. The Dads Gatherings have begun to find their own equilibrium in terms of these principles and ideas.
Come along to meet other Dads and share experiences – past and new participants are always welcome. Dads Gatherings are held at Hocokah House (the Life Is... Centre) in Canterbury.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for venue details.