If you are considering joining our ‘Real Relating’ gay mens’ group therapy, you may have some questions about the group. We hope we answer some of your questions below. If your question has not been answered, please email us.
***Please note: our next group is scheduled for June, 2017. Please fill in the form at the bottom of this page to register your interest.***
What is the structure of the Real Intimacy group?
The next ‘Real Relating’ group will run weekly for 10 weeks. The location is close to the Sydney CBD at 110/120 Bourke Street Woolloomooloo NSW 2011. Just a short walk from St James or King Cross stations. The group will be closed, which means no new members will join once the group has commenced. There will be a maximum of 6-8 members and 2 facilitators.
What are the dates of the next group? (UPDATED: June 1, 2017)
Our next group will commence on Thursdays, starting June, 2017, 6:30pm – 8:30pm. The group will run for 10 consecutive weeks on the same day and time in our Woolloomooloo office.
The final group is called an ‘integration group’ to help you integrate your insights, new awareness and to develop a plan for continuing your connections with other members and your community after the group ends.
How often do you run the group?
We have no plans at this point to offer the group again this year and may consider running it again in 2018 if there is demand.
Is the group free?
No. We are therapy practitioners who operate in private practice and therefore have no federal or state funding to provide services for free. We also believe that by making a financial investment in attending the group that you are also investing in yourself. This will lead to you having better outcomes from your participation in the group.
How much does the Real Intimacy group cost?
Our Sydney gay group is a very economical way of receiving therapy for a lot less than the cost of individual therapy. The fee is $90 +GST per 2-hour session. The total financial commitment to the group is $990.00 (incl. GST).
A non-refundable deposit of 3 weeks payment upfront ($297) is required to secure your place and the remaining instalments will be debited on a weekly basis from your nominated bank account or credit card. We use Ezidebit to process the payment and accept VISA, Mastercard, AMEX or direct debit from your preferred bank account.
What is your refund policy?
Due to the nature of organising a group of this nature and the necessity to know how many group members there will be, your commitment is for all 12 sessions. If you miss a session for any reason, you will not receive a refund for that session. If you decide to change your mind about whether the group is right for you at any stage of the group process, you will not receive any refund of fees. The deposit is non-refundable to cover administration costs.
We will do our best to fully explain what the group experience is like so that you can make a well-informed decision. Our feedback speaks for itself and we encourage you to read what others have said about the group experience as an indication of what kinds of experiences and outcomes members can expect.
I’ve never been in a gay therapy group before. How does it work?
- You will need to participate in the group to get the most out of it.
- You will develop personal goals that you will work on in the group.
- The group will have a ‘here and now’ focus. This means you will share your thoughts and feelings in the present moment with the group and other members.
- Giving and receiving feedback with other members is a part of the process. This is how you learn about the unique way that you relate to others.
Many different types of men participate in group therapy. If you can relate to some of these statements, then you may benefit from group.
- I have superficial relationships that never go deeper.
- My relationships never last and I get bored quickly and move on.
- I can’t stop judging or criticising myself and how I look.
- I feel like I just don’t belong in the gay community or anywhere else.
- I feel lonely, disconnected, depressed or isolated.
- I struggle to connect with other gay men and feel awkward on the gay ‘scene’.
- I’m unsure about my sexuality and scared about what being gay might mean.
- I’ve only just come out and have no idea how to begin connecting with other men.
Is the Real Intimacy gay group a place where guys pick up?
The short answer is no. The point of the group is to experience emotional intimacy between men, but not sexual intimacy. We have a rule that there is no sex between members while the group is running, so that the gay group is a safe place to explore your relationships without the worry about sexual overtones.
What we have seen is that many of the group members form strong friendships within the group that carry on after the group finishes.
What types of men participate in the Real Intimacy group?
You don’t need to be a specific type of man to join the group, but here are some of the types of men who have benefitted from participating in the Real Intimacy group:
- Single men that have problems starting or sustaining relationships.
- Men in relationships that have problems getting and staying close with their partner.
- Single men that avoid being close to other men.
- Single men that have lots of casual sex but never go deeper or commit to another man.
- Men in relationships who feel that something is missing, but they are not sure what.
- Men who cycle through many relationships and can’t find one partner to share their life with.
- Men in good relationships that want to make them even better.
Who is NOT suited to the Real Intimacy gay group?
Not everyone is suitable for group therapy. Group therapy may not be for you if:
- You are experiencing violence in your relationship.
- You suffer from a serious or severe form of mental illness.
- You have a physical dependence on illicit drugs or alcohol and use on a daily/weekly basis.
- You have been violent to others and struggle to manage your anger or rage reactions.
- You have huge mood swings that range from deep depression to extreme highs.
All of these conditions are potentially serious and may require the attention of an individual or couple counsellor.
What do you discuss in the Real Intimacy group?
The following themes are by no means exhaustive but will help you to get an idea of how we structure each weekly session.
Some of the Real Intimacy themes we will explore in the 10 weeks include:
- What and who gets in the way of me having a meaningful relationship?
- What do I find challenging, difficult, confronting or frightening in relationships?
- Intimacy – How comfortable am I in my own skin?
- How come I can’t keep a relationship for longer than 3 dates?
- Risk taking – what do I avoid in my relationships?
- How do my past experiences influence my relationships today?
- Exploring my dreams, hopes, fears and doubts in my relationships.
- Are my values and beliefs getting in the way of having a committed relationship?
- Why am I so desperate to have a relationship?
- Why do I sabotage every relationship before it starts?
- How do I negotiate my needs and wants in a relationship without hurting the other?
- Why am I always putting others first and myself last?
- Exploring when being gay is not the issue.
- Looking for love in the wrong places.
- Sexual identity and sexuality.
- Coming out late in life.
- I was once married, now I’m free to be me. Or am I?
- Boundaries and staying safe. How comfortable am I in playing safe?
We also encourage you to bring your own issues or themes that you want to bring to the group for discussion. There will always be time for reflections about the previous group and how you are progressing with your personal goals.
Who are the facilitators and what experience do they have?
Clinton Power and Adam Mclean are passionate about facilitating groups and have over 20 years of combined experience in running group therapy in a variety of settings. They are both experienced clinical counsellors and psychotherapists that have extensive experience in working with the LGBTI community.
Clinton has worked with the LGBTI community for over 14 years, initially as an Ankali emotional support volunteer for those suffering from HIV/AIDS and soon after as a clinical counsellor when he completed his post-graduate studies in psychotherapy. He trained in interpersonal group therapy and went on to facilitate groups in a counselling training institute for 7 years. It was here that he discovered his passion for running groups and saw how powerful group therapy could be in helping people change.
Adam McLean has a love and passion for group work. He is a group therapist and trainer, having begun in Psychiatric hospitals, outpatients and then making the transfer to cancer clients and carers issues. He developed group support and therapy programs for face-to-face groups by telephone and online and currently teaches group leadership in a number of settings.
It was in 2010 that Clinton and Adam decided to collaborate specifically on creating a gay mens’ group in Sydney. They saw a need for gay men to connect with each other and learn the skills of emotional intimacy with other men. Out of this desire to help other men develop long-lasting and meaningful relationships came their decision to offer a group specifically for gay men.
Out of this collaboration they have gone on to successfully run groups for 30 weeks in the last year to overwhelmingly positive feedback, with some group members returning to continue their work in subsequent groups.
What have other participants said about the Real Intimacy gay group?
You can read feedback and testimonials from past participants of our gay mens’ group therapy in the right-hand column of this page.