Working With Men
Groupwork Solutions provides workshops, groups and training courses for men, and professionals who work with them. Click here for future courses or Contact us
Engaging Fathers Training Workshops
Groupwork Solutions provide 1-2 day training workshops that explore current issues for working with men. The ‘Engaging Fathers’ Workshops allow workers, organisations or networks of services to provide more effective programs to men and families.
The workshop focuses on:
an understanding of men’s behaviour
what men might want when accessing community services
strengths based approaches for working with men
how workers can engage men in service delivery
how to market services to men
working with separated fathers
skills used when working with men
effective ways for female workers to work with men.
The significance of the non-deficit perspective
Amongst the many and varied descriptions of masculinity, the non-deficit perspective (King, 2000; King, 2001; King, Sweeney & Fletcher, 2004; Hawkins & Dollahite, 1997) identifies that in many men, their relationship with their children is a very significant connection. This connection with significant family relationships can be viewed as ‘the quiet place within’ that Australian men talk about least. It is a personal space that men rarely share. Until recently, it was not until men approached the end of their life, that they often expressed regret for spending too such time at work and not enough time with their family. This reflection is still experienced today, as many men only start talking about the importance of their family relationships after the crisis has occurred, such as family separation.
Australian men are becoming more vocal about this quiet place, i.e. the importance of their connection with their family, particularly their children. What is occurring is a quiet men’s revolution. This men’s revolution is not as vocal as the women’s movement, but it is noticed as men talk about achieving a better balance between work and family demands. The change is seen by how men behave differently as they walk hand-in-hand with their children and proudly push the pram. Some men identify the reason for attend a fathering program, is because they want to father their children differently to how they were fathered. The birth of a child is now a ‘wake-up call’ for many men and an opportunity for them to review the choices they make in life and provides the motivation to develop stronger relationships.
The shadowy side of men’s behaviour still exists. It is in this context that many men and family relationship services operate. The challenge for programs is to engage men in working with this ‘quiet space’. The non-deficit perspective does not condone inappropriate male behaviours but harnesses the positive motivations that makes change a reality. Once this quiet space is entered and men are engaged in accessing Men and Family Relationship Programs, the skills used by professional workers in working with women can be applied to working with men.
While significant achievements have occurred in working with men (O’Brien & Rich, 2002), the challenge is still enormous. The Western Australian Report that reviewed Family and Parent Support Services for Men (Nixon, 1999) identified that men have major health problems. They have high rates of depression, suicide, violence, drug and alcohol use and fatal motor vehicle accidents.
The report recognises that there is still a strong belief that men do not ask for help but fix themselves. Promotion of men and family relationship services still needs improvement as many men view the word ‘counselling’ as a punitive response for workplace misdemeanours (Nixon, 1999). It is still common for men to remark “I never thought such services for men existed” when they first come into contact with M&FR programs. Men’s health programs recognise that men visit their doctor less than women and only seek help only after a crisis has occurred (Nixon, 1999).
The inflexibility of the Australian workplace (at the shop, factory or self-employment level) and the widespread existence of family violence are still significant issues that confront programs as men usually access programs only when a crisis occurs. A variety of public awareness campaigns have been useful in promoting a responsive environment that encourages the proactive view that it is okay for men to seek help before the crisis occurs.
For instance, Mensline Australia, the national men’s phone counselling service, has placed regular advertisements in national and local newspapers. The development of Mensline has been an opportunity to provide an initial assessment and counselling service for men. The men are referred to services in their local areas where they can continue to have their needs met in a more comprehensive way.
Principles for effective practice
Eight principles have been identified for working effectively with men:
Importance of perceived equality
Existence of ‘window periods’ where men access support
The need for fathering services to be distinguished from general parenting services
The value of personal recommendation about services
The importance of flexible service delivery
Client involvement in program development
Solution focused approach
Local area coordination
For more information see King, A. 2005. The 'quiet revolution' amongst men. Developing the practice of working with men in family relationships. Children Australia Vol.30 No. 2
Working with men and relationship issues - opportunities and challenges (Video)
One of the highlights of the 2013 National Men's Health Gathering in Brisbane was the Men and Vulnerable Families Forum Plenary Session featuring presentations by Dr Warren Farrell (USA) and Glen Poole (UK). Titled Working with men and relationship issues – opportunities and challenges, this event explored many contemporary issues around men, fathers and relationships, and how to better support them. The entire event, including an extensive Q & A session, filmed on Friday 25 October 2013 at 9am. The session was chaired by Andrew King from Groupwork Solutions, the two keynote speakers were:
Dr Warren Farrell, educator and author
Glen Poole, Director of the UK consultancy Helping Men
Working with men and relationship issues video
Hawkins, A.J. & Dollahite, D.C. (1997). Generative Fathering: Beyond Deficit Perspectives. Sage: Thousand Oaks.
King, A. (2000). Working with fathers: The non-deficit perspective. Children Australia, Vol 25, No.3.
King, A. 2001. Engaging fathers in Group Work. ‘Developing Practice’ Winter 2001
King, A., Sweeney, S. & Fletcher, R. (2004). A checklist for organisations working with men. Developing Practice, December.
Nixon, M. (Hon). (1999). Report of the Committee Reviewing Family and Parent Support Services for Men. WA.
Other useful websites are:
A road less travelled - Working with men as fathers in family based services (428 KB)
Caring for the children of imprisoned mothers - Exploring the role of the fathers (259 KB)
Checklist for organisations working with men (221 KB)
Considerations when working with fathers and family violence (138 KB)
Dads reading to their children give them an early start (27 KB)
Developing Practice Review - Engaging men's responses to family violence book (737 KB)
Early intervention and holistic, relationship-based practice with fathers (100 KB)
Engaging fathers from disadvantaged areas in children’s education (340 KB)
Engaging fathers in child and family services (971 KB)
Engaging fathers in group work.pdf (52 KB)
Engaging fathers in programs (117 KB)
Evidence based practice summary – Why involving fathers is essential!! (297 KB)
Father factors - What social science research tells us about fathers and how to work with them? (948 KB)
Father Inclusive Practice Logos (490 KB)
Father involvement, relationship quality and transitions out of marriage and separation (45 KB)
Fatherhood: Parenting Programmes and Policy - A critical review of best practice (825 KB)
Father-inclusive practice guide (564 KB)
Fathers and the Well-Child Visit (268 KB)
Fathers and their Families - The Untapped Resource (59 KB)
Fathers Matter Report UK (231 KB)
Fathers' role as attachment figures - An interview with Sir Richard Bowlby (98 KB)
Gender and Generativity Issues in Parenting- Do fathers benefit more than mothers from involvement (86 KB)
Generative connections and recovery from suicidal ideaiton and depression (177 KB)
Generative fathering and the dynamics of connection between fathers and their children (7569 KB)
Generativity and Successful Parenting - Analysis of Young Adult Outcomes (134 KB)
Generativity and the transition to fatherhood- the emergence of fathers' nurturing capacities (433 KB)
Generativity in action - Helping other alcoholics in AA - matched study (3101 KB)
Introduction to working with men and family relationships guide (877 KB)
Involved Fathering as an Evoker of Adult Development (2174 KB)
Key attributes for effectively working with men (66 KB)
Low-income fathers barriers to participation in parenting programs (140 KB)
Men’s Talk: Tackling Domestic Violence (1040 KB)
Men's health questionnaire (196 KB)
Men's places - Aboriginal men's programs against domestic violence (4448 KB)
Newpin Inside Article - USA The Groupworker (2381 KB)
Non-deficit perspectives (181 KB)
Offending Fathers-Generative, Reflexive and Risky?' (87 KB)
Online Handouts for Engaging Fathers Course (943 KB)
Re-engaging separated fathers with their children after contact has broken down (206 KB)
Role of self-determined goals in predicting recidivism in domestic violence offenders (105 KB)
Separated dads and the generative perspective (65 KB)
Stay‑at‑home fathers in Australia Report (1247 KB)
Summary of Published Fatherhood Literature (228 KB)
Supporting fathers - what difference does early intervention and support make to children (190 KB)
Supporting fathers who have a child with a disability (70 KB)
Supporting fathers who have a child with a disability: The development of a new parenting program (533 KB)
Teamwork parenting in Vietnam (475 KB)
Template for local Blokes' Book (4490 KB)
The effects of father involvement (5050 KB)
The fathering of violent men (137 KB)
The 'quiet revolution' amongst men - Developing the practice of working with fathers (180 KB)
Using a football metaphor to engage men in therapeutic engagement (176 KB)
WA Freedom from Fear Campaign (126 KB)
What difference does early intervention make to supporting children by involving fathers (185 KB)
What is a Good Father? (161 KB)
What makes generative fathering work? (175 KB)
What works in fatherhood programs? - Ten lessons from evidence-based practice (109 KB)
Working with fathers around DV issues (103 KB)
Working with men as part of the solution (105 KB)