Living Therapy - Counselling, Training and Supervision in Southampton Living Therapy - Counselling, Training and supervision in Southampton

Peer Support Group For Men

Join us at Southampton’s Romney Centre in January 2017 for an introductory weekend and ongoing fortnightly evening sessions thereafter. Session times and dates are organised to fit in with Hampshire Council school holidays and term dates. If you would like to be part of the next group, please click here to contact me.

How do you want your life to change?

What approaches have you tried?

How well have they worked?

Many people struggle with depression, anxiety, fear of failure, lack of intimacy, low self-esteem, emotional expression and other troubles. The real problem is that most men suffer in silence. We grow up learning that talking about your feelings just isn’t manly.

But that just is not true – at least not all the time. The ability to keep your feelings concealed is a very useful skill to have. It can help you keep calm in an emergency, or make level-headed business decisions. But what happens when you habitually keep your emotions from others, or when you don’t know how to express them? Perhaps not even to yourself? It’s a bit like having one tool that is very good for doing one thing, only you apply it to everything. It works very well for its intended purpose, but it’s pretty ineffective otherwise. Unfortunately for many men, it’s one of the few tools they have for daily living.

So what happens? In the long run, being unable to identify, articulate and express your emotions will lead to chronic stress, worry, diminished relationships, unhappiness and feelings of meaninglessness and being unfulfilled, even when on the face of it, life should be good. In a way, that makes things worse because it raises the question, “My life is good, so why do I feel like something isn’t right?” Or perhaps it’s more complex than that, perhaps you life isn’t good and you don’t know how to fix it.

How Can a Peer Support Group Help?

Personal counselling can be helpful, but there sometimes needs to be more. Men coming together in a group with other like-minded men can be a profoundly cathartic experience. Belonging to a safe, non-judgemental and accepting group can be a profound experience. It can help the group members discover their similarities and develop solidarity. It can give a sense of belonging, safety and optimism. The group can turn despair into hope. Faced alone, problems can be daunting. But the group member finds himself saying, “I can get through this. I can change. My life can be different”. The group can help free up stuck patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. It can help you develop the skills you need in those areas of your life where you feel things are not working very well. If you’re stressed, it can help you relax. If you’re worried it can help you put your thoughts into perspective. If your relationship(s) are suffering, it can help you connect meaningfully with others. If you’re feeling unfulfullied, it can bring satisfaction. If you’re feeling unhappy, it can bring contentment.

I have been involved in peer support groupwork for many years and I currently lead a personal development group for men at the Romney Centre in Southampton. I worked in the engineering industry for many years, where I became increasingly unsatisfied with my life. I was stuck in the rat-race, ever striving for greater material success. In truth, I felt inadequate, alone and too scared to tell anyone. One day I woke up and thought, “I don’t want to live like this anymore”. I realised I wanted to re-train as a counsellor. I now have a degree in counselling, I am a certified supervisor of counsellors and I teach counselling skills to trainees. Of all the training and personal exploration on my journey, my most powerfully transformative experiences are in self-help peergroups. I still attend personal counselling, supervision and self-development peergroups because I know I will never stop learning. I count myself lucky that I have self-awareness and inner strength to facilitate others on their own personal journeys of self-discovery and change.

“No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent.”

--- Meditation XVII (John Donne, 1624).

How Is The Group Structured?

The group will contain no more than eight people, to ensure that everyone gets my attention.

There is a two-day introductory meeting over a weekend, from 10am-4pm each day.

After the introductory weekend, there are a fixed number of fortnightly group meetings, arranged so that they fit in with school semesters for Hampshire. That means we won’t meet during half term or school holidays. The number of fortnightly group meetings varies from semester to semester.

I ask that you attend the introductory workshop and make a commitment to attend all fortnightly groups, except if there are extenuating circumstances. Peer support groups work best when all members have willingness to attend the whole programme of meetings. It works well when you commit to helping each other and helping yourself.

How Much Does It Cost?

The total cost is £390, payable before the course starts. A deposit of £40 will secure you a place.

Location, Dates and Times For The Next Group


The Romney Centre,61 The Avenue,Southampton,SO17 1XS


7-8 Jan 2017 (10am - 4pm both days)

(Weds, 7.15pm - 9.15pm)

January: 18th

February: 1st, 15th

March: 1st, 15th, 29th

April: 26th

May: 10th, 24th

June: 7th, 21st

July: 5th, 19th

How Do I Join The Group?

If you would like to join the next Peer Support group, please click here to contact me (takes you to my ‘contact me’ webpage).