As women, we naturally turn to other women for support when feeling down about something and it’s pretty much a given that most of us will have a network of friends and family to turn to when in need.
But what about men? What do they do? And who or what is their outlet when feeling down or in need of support or positive reassurance?
Australian author/TEDx Speaker and Psychologist Gunter Swoboda specialises in helping men get through various traumatic situations and has created Making Good Men Great, a project aimed at helping men rethink masculinity and to provide a way to help them shape their lives to ensure they thrive and can be an inspiration to others.
“A lot of people are showing a lot of interest in what I’m doing, particularly in the US where I will hold a conference soon,” Mr Swoboda said.
“In the mentoring and coaching that I do it has been positive to see the impact on the men I work with and even though there can sometimes be a bit of resistance, once they can see where I’m going they start to realise that by taking care of themselves it leads to better relationships.
“There is a strong orientation with men not to put their hand up for help, so it’s only in crisis that they seek help as the last resort and one of the things I discovered was once they engaged was that they often found the process almost off-putting.
“That’s because the counselling process generally tends to be emotionally focused, so it doesn’t always engage men, particularly if they are not highly educated, but even then men can use the mask of professionalism to pretend everything is ok.”
At a time when a great deal of focus is directed at the issue of men and maleness as a problem, there is an important question that is often neglected: ‘What makes good men great?’
In his conference regarding this very topic Mr Swoboda will present along with a number of other thought leaders in the area and will invite the audience to engage in the individual and social evolution of masculinity.
“The challenge I tend to have is correcting why men are doing so poorly, because people always put it down to something pathological like depression, but I believe it’s more ideological and due to our beliefs as a society,” Mr Swoboda said.
“There is this huge emphasis on hyper masculinity, so men these days have to be buff, wealthy and drive the right car, but our economic system doesn’t allow for everyone to have those things.
“Education and many other institutions in our society are patriarchal, so essentially there is a framework and how we deconstruct this patriarchy needs to be held accountable by both men and women, yet men haven’t been equal participants.
“This conference will include a number of men and women because we don’t want the dialogue to just be focused on men, we need to share the space.
“Women have taken huge strides academically and legally and are slowly becoming more equal players in the social and economic scene.
“The question is why are we not embracing that as men and seeing it as a bad thing- the answer I believe is that when you’ve had privilege for a long time, it’s hard to give it up.
“The same goes for white privilege which is a by-product of patriarchy that inherently sees down on people.”
To find out more about the “Making Good Men Great” conference, visit the website!