Helping men to identify and use their own strengths to lead more resilient lives
What are Valley Men’s Support Groups
A few decades ago the Men’s Resource Center for Change (MRC) initiated drop-in support groups for men. Those support groups have become an independent organization, Valley Men’s Support Groups (VMSG). The MRC, now known as MERGE for Equality, give us a grant to help establish VMSG for the purpose of continuing MRC’s original drop-in support groups for men. We offer two groups, an open-to-all-men general support group that meets twice a month, and a Gay, Bisexual, Questioning men (GBQ) support group that meets weekly.
VMSG offers free drop-in support groups. The aim of these groups is to provide a safe, confidential place for men to talk honestly about their lives. Men are invited to drop-in to these groups without requiring an ongoing commitment. In this way the groups remain open and accessible. Trained volunteer facilitators lead all support groups. There is no fee but donations are appreciated. See the various pages under the VMSG Groups and Other Groups menu tabs about these ongoing groups.
Who can attend these groups?
Men of any age (18+) can attend these groups. While there can be a therapeutic benefit from participating, these are not therapy groups. Any man who wants to receive and give support to others is welcome. The GBQ group is specifically for men who identify as gay, bisexual, or are questioning, including transgendered men who identify similarly.
Who manages these groups?
Each group is led by trained, volunteer facilitators. Typically, there are two co-facilitators who work together to create a safe space, to set the tone of the meeting, and to encourage inclusion of all participants who wish to share.
How are the meetings run and how is safety created?
There is a standard agenda for each meeting. We begin with a brief period of quiet or meditation, so that the members of the group can become present with each other. We explain how we will use the time together and the ground rules/guidelines we will all agree to for creating safety: confidentiality, non-judgment, non-violent language and interactions, and personal responsibility. After an optional 1-way check-in, we engage in whole group dialogue around personal issues that participants have introduced during the check-in. By sharing from our own personal experiences without giving advice, participants realize that they are not alone and can benefit from different perspectives. Before we close the 2-hour meeting, we have an optional 1-way check-out, where each man has an opportunity to describe how he is feeling, what insights he may have gained, or what action, if any, he may take after the conclusion of the meeting.