The MenTalk initiative was undertaken by an organizational collaboration between Familia and Perhelinna/Trapesa during the 2021 autumn season in Espoon keskus. MenTalk is a closed peer support group model to provide a space where men can bring their daily difficulties that derive from an ideal image of masculinity, which could have been passed onto them or developed over time.
By sharing experiences and questioning our behaviors with other men going through similar issues, we intended to discuss and find improved ways of communication, understanding of needs, feelings, behaviors and boundaries.
The idea behind the peer support group is rooted in the personal and professional interests of the planners and facilitators from each organization, both belonging to the target group. We, Javier and Giuliano, were motivated by the lack of discussion of the topics related to masculinity and its effect on men’s wellbeing.
This was a face-to-face peer support model held in English. The themes of the meetings involved topics related to trust, emotions, sharing, values, anger, anxiety, intimate relations, mindfulness, and non-violent communication. Based on feedback, is it safe to say that each meeting proved to be both challenging and fulfilling for the participants. Reflecting upon experienced difficulties was indeed a difficult endeavor; however, doing it in a safe and judgment-free environment resulted empowering.
By the end of the first cycle, the group assessed if there were any differences in their relationships with family members, colleagues at work, or if they believed there were any changes in their behavior, which might be preventing inner and external conflicts. We received valuable feedback from the participants, who argued that the group had helped them improve their communication skills and overall self-awareness.
We found this journey with the group to be rewarding and highly educational; our experience served as basis and inspiration for further development of the model. A second cycle is in motion, with registration for the group being open as of January 2022.
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Ajatuksia ja kokemuksia elämästä kahden kulttuurin keskellä.
Reflections and experiences from the life of intercultural families.
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