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We offer thought-provoking ideas and interviews to explain the inexplicable, while offering an inspiring vision for men to reveal their true selves and live more balanced and authentic lives.

Revealing Men Men's Resource Center

    • Geestelijke gezondheid

We offer thought-provoking ideas and interviews to explain the inexplicable, while offering an inspiring vision for men to reveal their true selves and live more balanced and authentic lives.

    Altogether Boys: Preparing Boys to be Men in the New Millennium

    Altogether Boys: Preparing Boys to be Men in the New Millennium

    At the Men’s Resource Center of West Michigan, we are often witnesses to the emotional  and psychological costs men incur due to the societal pressure to conform to stereotypes and “be a man.” “Altogether Boys” is a proactive, 8-week program for boys and young men designed to preempt the adverse effects of male socialization. It provides prevention and educational opportunities for boys and young men that help them grow into successful, healthy, and happy men in the new millennium.
    In this Revealing Men podcast, Randy Flood, psychotherapist and director of the Men’s Resource Center talks with Trey Sumner, the lead facilitator in the Altogether Boys program, about how the program helps boys and young men find the courage to tackle tough situations, the strength to be sensitive to complex issues, and the intelligence to build strong friendships. Sumner has a 25-year career with the U.S. Army and U.S. National Guard, completing four deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Liberal Studies from Grand Valley State University. Here are excerpts from their conversation.
    The Culture of Masculinity

    Randy: You have this passion of working with young men. What is your back story about why you have this passion?
    Trey: Ten years ago, after I was completing my fourth tour with the army, I had gotten to a place where I was in a lot of pain myself, I also had decided when I got home that I was going to ask my boys to go to college and if I was going to do that, I should go first. So I was a 40-year-old freshman… And my degree is in Masculinities Studies and Gender Equity. I chose to study that because I wanted to make an impact in men. I wanted to find a way to give young men the tools, the permission, and the freedom to develop a healthy masculinity so that they could avoid the pitfalls and the pain that I had gone through and so many other men have.
    Randy:… What’s going on in the culture of masculinity you think that needs to have some re-socialization or some training?
    Trey: That’s a great question. I believe that as men we have a very narrow scope of what we’re allowed to do, what behaviors are acceptable, what defines us as men. And we extract so much of what is great and beautiful about being a human being from what it means to be a man: I have a limited scope of emotions I’m allowed to display, I have a limited scope of behaviors I’m allowed to display. And I don’t think that allows us to be complete human beings. And the long-term effect of that is a lot of pain and damage. Men my age, older men, the rise in substance abuse, depression, anxiety, suicide, they’re through the roof and these guys are landing in your office.
    Randy: Right. And we hear that with the men that we work with. We often do these resocialization groups and programs here and we often hear men say “why didn’t they teach us this in school?”
    A Program Especially for Boys
    Trey: A local junior high (City Middle) was incorporating the Girls Inc. program for their girls where the girls were learning about safe boundaries, healthy relationships, and the question was “why are we in the classroom learning this and the boys are outside playing kickball?” Which is when City Middle called you and said “hey, will you write this program?” …. And it’s been extraordinarily successful.
    Randy: What happens in these classrooms? Tell us a little bit about that.
    Trey: What I’ve found repeatedly is that these boys, at this age, they want to be complete human beings. They’re not comfortable with this narrow scope of having to constantly perform in a way that gets them approval, either from their peers or from whoever their role models are. And what they’re really looking for is the permission, and the freedom, and the tools to be complete human beings.
    Randy: Are there some people in th

    • 22 min.
    Men’s Psychotherapy Groups Promote Mental Wellness Through Innovative Treatments

    Men’s Psychotherapy Groups Promote Mental Wellness Through Innovative Treatments

    The Men’s Resource Center of West Michigan provides the tools and support men need to better navigate and succeed in today’s world, helping prepare them to function in whatever situation they find themselves as fathers, workers, friends, intimate partners, or neighbors. Our men’s support groups promote physical and mental wellness through innovative and traditional treatments. We provide a thorough 1:1 intake assessment to match counseling needs with individual and/or group counseling and therapy services.
    Innovative Therapy Treatments
    In this Revealing Men podcast, Randy Flood, co-founder and Director of the Men’s Resource Center, and somatic therapist, Ken Porter take some time to discuss the different types of therapy offered by the Men’s Resource Center, focusing on the importance of integrating innovative therapies such as Experiential Reclamation Therapy (ERT) and Somatic Therapy into treatment. ERT – a process of resocialization and experiential therapy –  is a specialized therapy model created by Charlie Donaldson and Flood to help men reclaim and develop their emotional and relational selves. Somatic therapy is body-centered healing, specifically focused on integrating mind, body, and emotion. A somatic perspective helps men access their emotions and understand how those emotions are kept under control. It is most often recommended following cognitive behavioral therapy and alongside ERT.
    What follows are excerpts from Flood and Porter’s conversation as to why these innovative therapies matter. You can hear their complete conversation about men’s psychotherapy groups in the Revealing Men podcast. In addition, this Sanford House article by Flood describes how Experiential Reclamation Therapy can help treat addiction.
    Why are Emotions Necessary?
    Porter: Emotions are here to serve us and to guide us and to inform us and to help us connect with other people. To me, it’s more of a strengthening process to develop that emotional intelligence. It gives you more strength and it gives you more power, meaning that you have the ability to actually effect change in your life.
    Flood: Sometimes you’ll hear guys who think that emotions get in the way of clear thinking. How do you respond to that?
    Porter: Emotions are basically telling us where we are in relation to getting our needs met. So if we feel what we call a negative emotion like fear, anger, sadness, that’s basically telling us there’s a need that’s not getting met. If we feel a positive emotion like happiness or contentment, it’s basically data, feedback, telling us “hey – there’s a need that is getting met here.” So, that’s the kind of information that everybody needs in order to live a fulfilling life.
    What Happens When Emotions Are Suppressed?
    Flood: If men are taught that emotions aren’t good resources and they just get in the way, then there’s a socialization process that pummels it out of them.
    Porter: Emotions always show up in the body in some form or another. They generally show up as a physical sensation somewhere. And they also generally show up as some kind of an impulse to move or to act. …So, when we have been socialized to not feel our feelings, the only way we can really do that is by suppressing something in our body.
    Flood: What about expelling it? What about all this tension? How does it teach men to depend on what we have termed as “externalization?”
    Porter: That’s the other side of the coin. And both ways are ways of actually avoiding feeling the feeling. Expelling it is just getting rid of it as quickly as possible and suppressing it is trying to get rid of it maybe more slowly.
    What Does the Somatic Process Look Like?
    Porter: So part of what I do with men is, first of all, teach them, I guess redirect them, out of their constant, habitual thinking, thinking, thinking, talking, talking, talking int

    • 26 min.
    What is a Sex or Pornography Addiction? – Finding Answers and Treatment Options

    What is a Sex or Pornography Addiction? – Finding Answers and Treatment Options

    Al Heystek, Principal Therapist for the Men’s Resource Center’s sex and pornography addiction treatment and recovery program describes sex and pornography addiction in a way that makes sense to the casual listener, “Addiction is a brain disease … the same dynamic that happens with cocaine, or alcohol, or opioids also happens with sex. ….” As to whether or not people make the choice to be addicted, he says, “[it’s] much like when someone makes a choice to go into Lake Michigan when the yellow flags or red flags are up. But [they] don’t make a choice to get pulled out by a rip current.”
    In this short interview with Randy Flood, Heystek discusses how men are raised to view sex and intimacy as interchangeable, the consequences of internet porn, the isolation shame causes, and the value in making the choice to seek treatment. He states, ” …you alone can work on this, you alone can show up and be honest about your life, you alone can reveal everything you need to reveal, but you can’t do this work alone.” There is no shame in seeking answers about whether or not you could have a sex or pornography addiction. Contact the Men’s Resource Center to get the information you need to regain control of your life.

    • 26 min.
    Teaching Men to Manage Themselves Rather Than Controlling Others

    Teaching Men to Manage Themselves Rather Than Controlling Others

    If you’ve found yourself struggling with abusive, controlling, and angry behavior toward your domestic partner, you’ll want to listen to this conversation between Randy Flood and Otha Brown, the Principal Therapist for the Domestic Relationships Program at the Men’s Resource Center. Although many of the men who participate in this program know what they’ve done wrong, Brown says they’re often without a clue as to why or how “it” happened. He sees this as the disconnect between raising boys to be strong men and in control and teaching them to think about what they’re feeling and why, and how then to respond to those feelings. While we help men focus on the missing links of accountability and empathy in domestic abuse treatment, we find men make deeper and more sustaining changes when they increase their emotional intelligence. Hear more about the tools Brown offers men so that they might change their relationships for the better.
    You may not think you need help in your relationship. But, as Brown says at the end of the podcast, “if things are going bad in a relationship and you keep running into the same dilemma with your mate, it’s a good idea to seek help.” Contact the Men’s Resource Center or schedule a confidential phone counseling session at your convenience.

    • 22 min.

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