Group getting guys to open up

BEN STRANG
Last updated 10:58 26/02/2013

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Kapiti Observer

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A group where men can get together and talk openly about their lives is looking to start in Kapiti.

Project Wildman, which started in the Hutt Valley about 18 months ago, has four groups running totalling about 40 men.

Group founder Rob Cope, 39, said he started the group as a place for men to share, and get rid of the idea that sharing isn't manly.

''I'm not a therapist or anything, I'm a builder,'' he said. ''I just thought, some guys need an outlet to talk openly, because it's not something we do.

''There's this thought that it isn't manly to open up. Women do it easily with their friends, but guys keep it all built up inside for years until it all explodes.''

The groups of 10 men meet weekly to listen to whatever each man has to share.

One of the rules of the group is that no advice can be given, making the group about sharing, not solving problems.

''I go there thinking, things are going well with my wife at the moment. Why is that, I wonder. I yelled at my kid the other day, what was going through my mind. Why did I do that?

''I solve a lot of my own problems by listening and learning from the other guys' experiences. It can make a big improvement to your life.''

One group meets in Mr Cope's back yard around the fire each week, while another group meets in a warehouse, and another in a mechanic's garage.

Two Kapiti men are foundation members of Project Wildman, and would be part of a new Kapiti group, with meetings around the fire each week.

''We get guys from all walks of life. It's funny because in one group you've got an ex-con next to a lawyer, next to an IT guy, next to a mechanic. It's for anyone.

''One of the main things is what's said in that group, stays in that group. It doesn't work if you go home and gossip about it to your wife, partner, whoever. It's all anonymous.''

Sessions run from 7.30pm until 9.30pm weekly. If enough members are found, the group will start in Raumati during March or April.

Mr Cope said anyone interested should see the website, projectwildman.co.nz, or email rob@projectwildman.co.nz.

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- Kapiti Observer

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