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Dec 18, 2023

Men's Relationships & Healthy Masculinity - The Therapy Wise Podcast with Ken Fierheller

Exploring the Healthy Masculine: A Deep Dive into Men's Relationships with Therapist Ken Fierheller — The Wisdom Portal

Ken joined Dr Jennie Ward on the Therapy Wise podcast. In this episode, we explored:

  • Ken’s path to opening up spiritually throughout his life
  • The challenges that he sees in men who come to work with him in couples counselling or individually
  • The notion of the “toxic masculine”
  • Cancel culture, men’s fears and the impact on their authenticity
  • What healthy masculinity looks like
  • The power of intimate male relationships
  • And so much more…

Click here to listen to the full episode.

Transcribed Verison:

Dr. Jennie: Well Hello everyone and welcome back to Therapy Wise. Today, I have a very special guest on the podcast, Ken Fierheller and Ken is a good friend of mine. We meet once a month. Welcome Ken!

Ken: Hey, welcome thanks for having me today. I'm super excited to be here Jennie. 

Dr. Jennie: Yes, we got chatting before recording and we realized okay, we have to stop just chit chatting with each other like we always do and start recording. So we'll just start talking as we were before. 

Ken: Yeah!

Dr. Jennie: So, what I wanted to do is just tell the listeners a little bit about how we met and then we'll get into kind of who you are and what you do in this world. 

Ken:  Okay, yeah, great place to start. 

Dr. Jennie: So I just think it was kind of funny how we met because we were both a part of this Facebook group, kind of a business group in the States and it was about, you know, running psychology practices, group practices and ken reached out to me, kind of privately and just said  ‘Hey, I can see you're from Canada, I'm also from Canada and I just wondering if you wanted to join a mastermind group and think about starting one.’ And I was like ‘Yeah, totally, let's do that!’ because there are a lot of dynamics that go into running a group here in Canada that are so different from the States. And so over the years you and I have met once a month now, for I don't even know, like do you know how long we've been meeting? 

Ken: Covid has scrambled my brain so much with time. It feels like two years. It's probably been four years.

Dr. Jennie: Yeah, I think it probably has been. You know, it's definitely precovid. So yeah, and we had some other people in the group here and there and you know everybody's priorities you know, shift and change. And so now you and I, I think we're now we're afraid to welcome in other people to our little group because we just have so much fun chatting about and often you know I don't even own a group practice anymore and we're still meeting. So we have a great time. So, I just love how we met and I just think it's a testament to you know, you're a very growth oriented person as am I, and you know we prioritize kind of similar things. Wouldn't you say?

Ken: Absolutely yeah, like, it's, yeah, we're both committed to going down the rabbit hole as far as we can, with our own personal growth and what we're learning and I think that's probably why we don't want to invite other people into the group anymore, right? It’s like I don't want to pop up to that cliche part of getting to know someone again. It's like, let's dive in deep like we were talking for 5-10 minutes right before we hit record, we're like, we aren’t just going to hit record because we just keep on diving into topics even today that are unintentionally about the subject of today's conversation. Okay, we just dive deep together, so it's great. 

Dr. Jennie: Yeah, absolutely so, why don't you tell our listeners a little bit about who you are and the kind of business that you have so they have a little basis for understanding where you're at, and then we'll hop into the topic we're going to talk about.

Ken: Yeah, for sure. So I met Jenny because I run a group psychology practice. So, currently, we have, uh,  I think there's eight of us on the team who are all psychologists, psychotherapists and then One Life coach and so we operate in Calgary, Alberta and so I'm the owner of the company. I'm a practicing registered psychotherapist and coach. So, I guess who I serve is mostly - I work in the domain of everything relationship but - so couples therapy, a fair recovery, I love working with folks around codependency, I work with a lot of people in the dating world helping them to attract a partner and for whatever reason, I've also attracted a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners into my practice. So it's kind of become an area where I get really super excited working with business owners in town. And what else can I tell you, I live out in Canmore, my husband, a father, nature, baby, look like I moved out here from Toronto in 2011. So love where I live, love living in the small little mountain town. And yeah. I think that's probably it for now. For the introduction.

Dr. Jennie: That's a good high level summary, and I know you're so much even more than that and deeper than that. So let's talk about your spirituality and some of your experiences and opening up to spiritual growth because that's something that you and I. We didn't realize we connected on that level at first, and then as we began talking more about that, and especially I talk about that all the time because that's kind of the direction that I went in for my work. I realized. Oh, my gosh, you've had this such an interesting path in this area, so tell us more about that. 

Ken: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'd love that day too. I remember that day when we had that conversation and was like. Hey, do you have these same beliefs around spirituality? And then that was a day where we just sort of dropped into some really, really great conversations. I think they've really shifted and transformed into something else afterwards. Yeah, so I guess like where do I begin with that? I think like my spirituality really began out of pain. So there was, there was a period I now I've done a lot of work around this stuff, but there was a period in time, probably between like grade eight to grade 11. There was a chunk of time in there where life was really hard. I got bullied a lot. Beat up, there was just a lot of pain. There was a lot of depression that came at that time period and so I really struggled with my identity who I was back then. It was really like I don't like who I am, why am I not likable? Why am I having the struggle? And things eventually switched for me but those there were some undercurrents still there. But during that time I think when you go through painful periods in your time, it's really an opportunity to reflect. And so for me, I started to ask bigger questions during that time period and so I started to open up and I started to read books. One of the books I read way back when was called The Peaceful Warrior by Dan, was it Dan Mcmillan or Dan Milend?

Dr. Jennie: It’s Miller. 

Ken: Is it Miller?

Dr. Jennie: I think so.

Ken: Yeah, it resonated with me, I loved it and then I read the Celestium Prophecy and these are really great sort of introductory books about just dabbling and getting you used to the ideas of just opening up and thinking about that. That there's something more that we're all connected and so that was the beginning and I remember being 24 and I took off on a backpacking adventure to Thailand and I think I went on that trip a little bit different than most people like I think a lot of people when they were backpacking at that age in that time period because I had a lot of friends who did the same thing they were going and it was like an adventure. They're going to immerse themselves in the culture and just explore. I have this strong intention that I wanted to radically change who I was. I was going on this trip but it was really like this exterior trip that I was going on. But I wanted to change my interior landscape and about two months before I went.

I was supposed to go with my best friend at the time and what I noticed was he wasn't talking about the trip at all and so my spidey senses were up. I'm like, you're not going on the trip, are you? And he was like no, I'm not. I just didn't know how to tell you, and so that was like a pivotal moment for me where I had fear come up of like. Oh. I gotta do this trip on my own, that's scary. And then this excitement of this is just the way it needs to be. And so. But the fear sort of dominated the beginning because before I left I was on - and this is back in like 2003 like right before 2004 - I'm on the internet and I can't even remember what the internet is like back then, but like, I'm on this travel forum and I meet this guy from New Brunswick same age backpack in Thailand. He's going a couple of weeks before me, so we meet downtown Toronto. We have a coffee and we were like hey, we should like we meet up and travel together. So this is me sort of throwing this safety net out of like, I'm scared. I don't want to do this alone, and we travelled together for a few weeks and like I brought journals with me so it's funny looking back in time and I still have these journals.

I can go back and look like what was they thinking way back when. I was writing in my journal about three weeks after arriving and I was traveling with him and we were on these islands and partying and he was all about wanting to meet girls and so were going of these full moon parties on these beaches. It was fun but, none of those intentions were happening. All, I had this realization. I like I'm not doing anything different that I could be doing back home right now and this is not what I wanted to do so I remember I was writing about that and then had this breakup conversation with the guy from New Brunswick and said I think it's time to move on and it was. It was staying in this remote place on Koto small Little Snorkeling Diving Island in Thailand and there was a couple that was staying at the same lodge that was talking about this meditation retreat they just did and I have never had any experience with meditation and it was a ten day silent meditation retreat.

Dr. Jennie:  Oh my gosh! That's, you know, very hard for a beginner.

Ken: So this is how I began. So I just - it was the beginning stages of I'm just going to open up, I'm gonna listen, I'm gonna go and do this ten-day meditation retreat. It was harsh. It was so hard. Have you ever done one? 

Dr. Jennie: No. I haven't, but I have heard, and I can just imagine how difficult. You know, you don't realize how much of an urge there is to be verbal and communicate until that's taken off the table. 

Ken: It's like. There were so many times where I wanted to give up where, but you're with I think there's like 60 - 80 other people with me, you don't know them because you can't talk, but you look around and you have this thing that happens where like okay, if they can do it. I can do it. And there was a few people that popped up and tapped out. But most of us stayed through the whole time and it was so interesting because on the 11th day we all hung out and could talk for the first time. And we had like ten days of nodding at one another and smiling like doing different chores around the property or meditating. And then everyone was just processing and talking about their experience and everyone's experience was so similar like everyone wanted to give up. Everyone was like Okay, if you could do it. I can do it. And you just, you had this like how I would define it. It was an encounter with yourself like the longer I just stayed with myself, the more like was having these memories that would just pop up.

And I'm like wow, I haven't had access to these memories in years, and so there's that part and then other part was like wow, I'm crazy like the thoughts that popping into my head. Wow, this is so crazy which the head Monk like whos teaching us like he called it the Monkey mind and he's like our monkey minds, their crazy. And so that was like, that was sort of my like initiation into meditation and my whole experience. My whole trip just bloomed after that, like my intuition was just so high afterwards and I just met all kinds of amazing people and just and it felt like it was on a spiritual journey at that point. 

Dr. Jennie: Oh, you totally were, you know, that was kind of like, you know. Navy Seals boot camp for spirituality really. And you know, it doesn't seem, I find meditation is such an example of it doesn't appear very hard, right? It's like okay just or even not talking. It's like. Oh yeah. I could do that. And then when you go to do it for that long, it's incredibly challenging and I think you're really speaking to something that we don't do a lot of now, which is you just sitting with ourselves. Especially since that time, iPhones have become more part of the zeitgeist and so we don't realize how rare it is to just have a day of just being with ourselves and not being distracted by the world around us, you know, through our phones or TV or the internet. 

Ken: Yeah and I notice in myself I long for it now I long for that, just getting quiet and silent and and just not having all those demands and being popping onto technology and answering to people. You know, as a business owner, there's always things coming down the pipeline. That's just the name of the game, right? So.

Dr. Jennie: You're motivating me. I've been really thinking about doing a phone detox and even just an input detox where you know. I tend to do a lot of learning and listening to teachers and just to have a break from all social media, all learning for a month. I just really feel like that is the key to my next level of growth. So I feel like this conversation was perfect timing. 

Ken: Love it, love it. Yeah!

Dr. Jennie: Yes, okay. So your spiritual kind of trip that you sort of you know, it’s almost like a coming age journey. It feels like to me it blossomed after that and so then what happened?

Ken: Well. So yeah, it was interesting because I met a girl in that trip who I was in a relationship with for a year and so it was and she was very, very spiritual. So it was this hyper focused, always talking and practicing meditation and she was from St. Louis. We got back from our trip, we went to India and Nepal and the plan was always to go back and we eventually broke up and I was in this like I was in this place of. I want to go back and I want to pursue this enlightenment journey that I was on and like that. I was crazy back then. I wanted to go live in caves with monks and I wanted to and not that you're crazy if you're doing that, but that's just not me. So.

Dr. Jennie: Yeah, I think probably that was your vision of okay, if you live a spiritual life, you can't do that. You know, in downtown Toronto. I have to go live in this remote area and dedicate my life to it. 

Ken: Absolutely, and so I was set on going back on this journey and so I had this intention. So I had a plane ticket to Bengal or India and I had this intention. I just want to find the highest teachings possible but I had no plan at all like I literally got off the plane. It's 12:30 in the evening. It's chaos in that airport and I ended up finding my way to this Tibetan monastery and it was such an incredible journey. Like I was there for - it was the first time they did English translation and so - it was a month long meditation retreat and this was more intensive than the ten day meditation retreat that I was on in Thailand because this was 14 hour days just doing mantras and sitting in the monastery and just diving in deep and so that was my that was my real big deep dive and I had this huge revelation on that trip of like home is where the hardest I had that experience like okay wherever I am like I just feel really deeply centered afterwards. 

And shortly after that I found myself training to be a psychotherapist in Toronto. And so my spiritual. This was an interesting thing with my spiritual journey. When I trained to be a therapist, it went to the backburn like it was like this piece of like, okay. I can't bring that part of me into this. I have to be clinical and I have to be focused and I'm helping people with their mental health. And so it was really something that I put to the back burner for a while. 

Dr. Jennie: You and I have that in common. And then you know, well. I think I kept doing it, but it was. You know, it was always kind of in the background, not outward, because I thought. Well, that's not what a psychologist is, so I can't do that. 

Ken: Yeah, we're not supposed to do that. 

Dr. Jennie: It's not allowed. 

Ken: So I found it hard to like I jumped into this psychology world and I found it hard at first to have them both integrated and it was. I don't know. I started to like where I felt like I was really drawn back to. It was when I went through a separation with my ex in 2015? 14? That time period like, it was a hard period of time and it was like. Oh, old Ken's coming back like I'm going in deep like that's where I want to go and and that's a time period where have you heard of Wimhof? 

Dr. Jennie: Yeah, I just read his book actually on my recent vacation, I thought, you know what, I've always meant to read that book, so I read it on the plane. 

Ken: I love it. Yeah, what do you think?

Dr. Jennie: I loved it. He's such a  - I found the book, in general, was so interesting to me because he really lived so off-grid and just did things, you know, purely out of his own innate wisdom. And you know, he wasn't influenced by other people. He's such a rebel and he did things that you know other people would be afraid of because they could be dangerous or cause so many problems. But he just went for it and it's just been such an incredible outcome like now there's so much research on his methodologies and it's all proving to be incredibly science-based. But he didn't know that at the time it was really a spiritual thing.

Ken: Very spiritual thing. Like it’s. So finding his method has been super helpful because like doing the deep breathing, you just you naturally go inward and you go through these words.

Dr. Jennie: I love his breathing methodology. I found, you know, in reading the book how often I hold my breath and just like hold in everything, and so I've really been consciously choosing to breathe more consciously, breathe more deeply, use his methodologies, and I feel so much more energized and present and centered as a result. 

Ken: I love what he's brought to the world. It's so, it's so interesting. I started in 2014 really doing his exercises. I can't tell you how many of my clients now went. They'll tell me as part of like, when I'm asking them. So what do you do when you're in these stressful periods? So many people do Wimhof now and I love it. 

Dr. Jennie: I think it's such, you know, the topic that we wanted to discuss today. We wanted to talk about spirituality and also masculinity, and I think that Wimhof is such a good meld of those two. You know, he's a very masculine. He's very in his masculine as a man and also a very spiritual person, and such a good example of an elevated form of masculinity, conscious masculinity and not toxic in any way. 

Ken: I couldn’t agree more. You know. I, there's such a shortage. This is my disclaimer, my belief. But there's such a shortage around role models like when I think about it and of like, who would I say is a good role model? So I didn't even think of Wim, but yeah. I couldn't agree more. 

Dr. Jennie: Yeah, some of the role models, you know. I think. We almost are we can become a little bit too judgmental of people in the media as well. So you know there are people that they have some wonderful teachings and qualities and traits and then they also have kind of this other side that might be closeminded or you know, certain qualities. Its like, well. I don't agree with that and I feel that we've kind of lost the art of you know accepting certain parts of someone and not accepting, not necessarily agreeing with the other side and still seeing the benefit of some of the things that they offer. One of the people who's coming to mind is Aubrey Marcus or Jordan Peterson. He's a very controversial subject in the area of, you know, masculinity and men's work and he said some very controversial things that I don't personally agree with. And also I think he has some points that are important points that a lot of people are resonating with now. 

Ken: Yeah absolutely it's interesting. I was, so sitting in a coffee shop with some friends of mine last week and I brought up the conversation. I'm going to talk about the subject around men and opening up more. And so, you know, when I have the talk like this coming up. I like to throw it out there and just say like, What do you think right? And so my conversation with them was like. Do you think we're more open now and everyone said yes, absolutely and Jordan Peterson's name came up and I thought Okay, interesting. And so a couple of them watch Jordan and resonate with some of his points and then they brought up. But if I say this, if I bring this up and talk about it, I’m very, very worried that I'm going to be judged.

Dr. Jennie: Right. Yeah.

Ken: So that's where I go. This is an interesting conversation because if you guys are experiencing this and I'm talking about this group of friends, but a lot of my clients will say similar things as well, where they'll talk about the fear of cancel culture or saying the wrong thing, yeah, one of the guys said, if I see something that comes across in the wrong way, it could not just impact me. It could impact my entire family. So I feel like in this moment, this is not me speaking it's them, in this moment when I'm talking I have to be very, very considerate about who’s around me when I speak because it feels like a choice between me being authentic and just saying what's on my mind or repression. And that's where I'm like, that's not good, that's not good. We don't want to repress things. But it's an interesting conversation right because then, like what's the answer here? 

Dr. Jennie: Yeah. I think there's a dynamic happening where we can start to be more open. And you know, I think there are some movements that were so important, like the feminist movement was incredibly important, like we needed that and a lot of things that are going on with that, you know, in the 1960’s, women couldn't even open a credit card in their own name, so we're not that far off of that time. And so the changes that have happened were so very important. And now we're just so much more aware of speaking respectfully and being kind in our communication style and all of that to the point where I think we can self-censor like I feel it too, where it's almost like I'm afraid to speak about certain topics because I would never want to insult anyone or say anything that's hurtful. Yet also. I think it's really doing society a disservice because we're all staying more quiet than many of us would like to be, right? And I actually think a lot of positive change can come from people feeling more able to talk and speak and knowing that okay even if I don't say it perfectly, I'm willing to shift and change and acknowledge any errors and it's not going to mean that I'm going to be vilified for it. 

Ken: Yeah that. It's such an interesting thing to think about because it we're really talking about like, is it safe for me to be me and to talk about something and maybe I don't know the answer but I just want to be able to talk about an authentic way. But how can I be authentic if I'm projecting out all of these potential like. I might say the wrong thing? So then I start to edit myself or what if I offend somebody? and so then it adds extra pressure. And so I don't know that that's what we want either. I don't think it is, but it's, it's an interesting conversation. So it's, you know, like, we are like another word that we chatted about which was what's toxic about masculinity, right. So we're having even that word. 

Dr. Jennie: I used that word and I'm like, you know what? I don't even like that word because it has so much connotation now, like masculinity has unfortunately been linked with that word, and in my opinion, there's so much more healthy masculinity out there than Toxic. But that's really what we think about is more of the - it's almost like there's been a suppression of you know, the acknowledgement of some of the healthy aspects of masculinity, and in men that I don't think is helping anyone. 

Ken: Yeah. I agree. I think - I don't know how to frame this, I like is at a dinner party and a friend I was just talking about like some of the intention work that I do daily and when I wake up and I do intention work for my clients that I'm going to see that day but also my family and friends and so my wife and my little guy are part of that every single day and so part of that intention work is like I'll write about reminding myself of the energy and the way that I want to show up, so sharing this with her and she's a very, very open person and I shared that like I have this energy around having a protective role as well that I like to bring to the family and her response was Oo big man Ken like the little woman needs the big man Ken around and right away I could feel my body just go inward where I'm like Oo like I'm being judged right now and it's a funny thing to be. I'm like this is something really, really positive for me and an experience that know that I think is really, really healthy for me and I know she's coming at it from an angle of because we were talking about the patriarchy and we were talking about toxic masculinity.

And so I'm like, okay, like I don't see that, I don't, there's a part I don't agree with that, so then I and I challenged her and I threw that out there because that's part. I also believe a healthy aspect of positive masculinity is one part of it is standing in the truth and I'm like this is what feels true to me like this is like I actually feel like this is something that feels true to me like I want to. This is like, even if you judge me around it, this is something I'd like to continue to do with my little guy, which is great. And I chatted with my wife about it and she's like I love that about you.

Dr. Jennie: I was just going to ask that if you had asked her about it because I was going to say. I bet, you know, a lot of women love that energy right and love that idea. Yet you know, it can be kind of frowned upon as well from the feminine aspect, just the cultural pressure for all of us to have, you know, a certain way of being and maybe to not desire that protective aspect in our partners. But she's able to see, yeah, I actually love that and it's all good. 

Ken: For her, she's like I do the same thing. Ken like she doesn't do the same intentional pieces as I do in the morning times busts like yeah. I think of myself as a protective role as well, and I don't have any sort of. There's no competition or any sort of weird like, you know, that's my role. It's more that's great like I love that we're both doing that, like that’s that's perfect.

Dr. Jennie: And her way of doing it would probably be different than yours?

Ken: Absolutely, yeah, she's a great mom, so she's going to do it even a way better way than I'm going to do it. But it’s yeah

Dr. Jennie: I think you're such a good example of you very much embody that masculine side and you also embody that feminine side of you which we all have both aspects and you cultivate very close male friendships, just as one example of something that many men in our culture, they might connect over going to a hockey game and having some beers or whatever you are like going deeper like you have deep, intimate conversations and connections with your male friends. And I think that's a bit of a rarity. Would you say that that's true?

Ken: I think yeah, and I see it. So one of the things I hear a lot in my office is a lot of men don't have a lot of close relationships in their life. And I think it's bloody a hard thing to do as you get older to really to cultivate and have those friendships, especially if you want like nourishing deeper conversations. I love like one of the things I look for in friendship and relationship is range like I won't have a range like I want to be able to talk about absolutely everything with you. And if I feel like I can't talk about certain subjects, then like that just feels like a limitation on the relationship of like I can't go there with you. And so I love that range. But so you know is interesting. So the conversation that I had with those guys in the coffee shop last week, it kept on going, kept on evolving, and I asked them - we were all fathers - and I asked them, can you imagine our fathers all talking like this? and everyone right away was like no way, no way, nope nope nope. So all across the board, no, and I leaned in and I said. I bet you, they all wish they could. They just don't know how to.

Dr. Jennie: Oh 100 percent. And also imagine little Jacob, your son, who's you know, how old is he now? Like 1? 

Ken: He's 2 in two 2!

Dr. Jennie: So imagine him in you know 20 years at 22 what his relationships with his friends might look like. I bet it would be very different from you know what you and I experience in terms of male friendships. 

Ken: Absolutely. The only thing I worry about is technology. I'm just like I hope that there's still an ability to connect in person and really cultivate those relationships and not have technology really interface in a way where there's a lack of depth and connection because of that. But we're certainly evolving. That's something that I don't think that I would have access to. I have quite a few female friends. 

I don't think that I would have as in-depth meaningful conversations with that many men 20 years ago. No way.

Dr. Jennie: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Partly, you know, it's your own evolution too. Right? That you're more comfortable being the real, authentic you. 

Ken: Yeah, yeah. I think that's probably pardon and parcel as well for sure. Yeah.

Dr. Jennie: You were a person that really prioritizes so much personal growth like I know that that is something that's really important to you. And to me, those people, like you, tend to be the healthiest, especially over the long term. You know, you go through your ups and downs, of course, like anybody else. But over the long term, if you're really focusing on that and prioritizing that in your life, you see so many benefits and one of them is these deep connections with people. 

Ken: Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah, I think you know when you think of the opposite when I think about that comment that one of my friends made around like that choice like I feel like I either, you know, take a huge risk here where I repress it and think so many people where they do choose to repress it because it doesn't feel like whatever the equation is in their mind's eye that negotiates them out of sharing more. My experience, just another belief that I have, is it catches up to you. You can only keep it in and repress and not take care of certain parts of yourself for so long before it will manifest in different ways like disease, mental health. It's going to have an impact. There's a consequence. I believe. 

Dr. Jennie: Yeah, absolutely so, you know, you work with a lot of couples. What would you say are some of the patterns that you're seeing, particularly in men in relationships that you know could potentially be causing some damage that need to be worked on. 

Ken: So when I first moved out here and I started working with couples I started to, I reached out and started doing a lot of work with Terry Real, so he's a couple of therapists. Are you familiar with Terry? 

Dr. Jennie: I am and I am conscious of - I believe he just went through a cancel situation in the last year. I don't know if you know about that.

Ken: I haven't. No, what was it? Super curious? 

Dr. Jennie: He was engaging in certain behaviours in his trainings that were identified by some of his you know, he has people who kind of work with his methodologies and help out at his training seminars and they had been kind of raising concern about certain things he was doing. And he was kind of, you know, just kind of not listening, we'll say, and continuing to engage in the behaviours and it led to kind of an uproar in the community. 

Ken: I could totally see that, easily see that, yeah. He, um.. so what I liked about working with him and doing some training with him was that he was really, really talking about how do we take on these parts of men coming out of the patriarch who - like he wrote a book called I don't Want to Talk About It for Men specifically, and it's something that I experienced when I first moved here, I sort of coined and talked about how I used to call it the Alberta Boy and Alberta Boy was this needless, wattless man who was a good provider, a good like, good at getting things done. But when it came to relationships and marriage and talking about emotions or what they want would show up in my office and I would ask them what would you like? And they would just look at their partner and say for them to be happy. I don't really have anything and so. 

So I reached out to Terry because Terry was doing a lot of great work with men back then. I can absolutely see he's got a big ego and so.

Dr. Jennie: Tends to get people into trouble. We were talking about that right before we hoped on the recording. 

Ken:  Yeah, absolutely. So I think, so that's a dynamic I see a lot where - so here's the thing. I don't actually believe that men don't know what they want. I don't think they have a voice to articulate it and so or space that they haven't actually experienced, given themselves enough experience with space to actually say. What do I want here? Like. How do I want this relationship to be? They dont. If there's no space there, then they're sitting in ‘Well I don’t really want, I don't really need anything’ 

Dr. Jennie: Yeah, it’s kind of a shallow existence right like, just very surface level, but haven't given themselves the opportunity to go deeper into their own desires. 

Ken:  Absolutely, yeah, yeah. So I have a strong belief that like if we give you enough space and you give yourself time to buy into this process that you do matter in this and you do have wants, you just haven't explored that part. They're going to emerge. So couple therapy is a lot of fun because you have two different individuals and it's a relationship they created together. I don't know that we've ever lived in a time and I'm going to include maybe the last 20 years here where we've had more expectation on one another in relationships.

Dr. Jennie: I feel like we expect, you know, everybody to do everything like, you know, we should all be making these healthy meals and know exercising every day and our kids are in all these activities and we should be making, you know, over $100,000 dollars a year, both of us, and we should be going on, you know, two vacations and you know, saving for retirement and it's like it's a lot 

Ken: A lot. 

Dr. Jennie:  Yeah.

Ken:  It’s a lot. Yeah, yeah. So a lot of pressure on relationships. 

Dr. Jennie: Yeah, so what do you think? So men need space, so they'd obviously need to take that and you know and use it for their own embodiment and knowing like in Self-realization, you know of what they want so they could be given a lot of space, but they'd have to actually take that and use it. 

Ken: Absolutely. Yeah.

Dr. Jennie: And what else do you think would be helpful for men during this time of, you know, the world that we live in? Now, what do you think would be helpful? 

Ken:  Well. I think vulnerability, like being able to talk about real issues like this is what's really going on and not shying away from that. I think that there is another - so something that I would sort define as toxic masculinity is, denial. A denial of like no, I'm not going there and if you have resistance about going somewhere or talking about something, then there's something there. That's where I get curious right. There's some resistance there. So I think if we could create more vulnerability, more space to actually talk about like this is what's going on for me and more inner knowing, then we're going to be able to take care of our belief systems that we have. We're going to be able to take care of like our past trauma or whatever we might be bringing into our relationship because every relationship is going to have their thing, they're going to have their dance, their pattern of how they show up with one another and every relationship is in like you have this connection. But every connection is gonna go through phases where you move into this connection and this is where we're not as skilled, right? Is how do we move from being not in connection with one another back and for a lot of people that’s they just don't talk about it or they have a fight. And the next day it's like. Okay, it's all better now and that's totally fine and it is. But it's when it catches up. It's when we say things or do things that are really impactful and gets really imprinted of like, okay, that just happened. You think that about me or you said that about me and that's when we start to collect these painful perceptions of one another and repairing is a really, really hard thing to do. And so to be able to do that you have to face, you have to face it, you have to be able sustain it and talk about it and some people want to do that, which makes it very, very difficult. 

Dr. Jennie: Yeah. Yeah, imagine you see some couples either way like women bringing their husbands or men bringing their wives or same-sex partners as well. Where you know usually there's one individual that's more motivated to be in couples counseling than the other. 

Ken: Often, yeah. Yeah, often. So it's, yeah, it becomes one of those pieces, I never like to be a salesperson, I'm sure you're the same. I’m like I don't have to sell you on this. I never want to be more motivated for someone else's personal growth than they are for themselves. I think that's a bad combination, but I think absolutely. Like one person, is usually initiating it. And I think, I think, just acknowledging that person might take some time. But that usually that's what their motivation is that their partner is in the spot that they really want to see. Change, happen, and so sometimes that can be enough of an invitation to get serious about it. And that's part of our job too, is to help them to see the value. Okay, if we take these things on, we're going to have a happy, more nourishing, more connection-filled relationship, and everyone wants that.

Dr. Jennie: Yeah, who would say no to that? 

Ken: Yeah. 

Dr. Jennie:  You know, I know you used to run men's groups, correct?

Ken: Mhm, yeah.

Dr. Jennie:  What do you think you know, in my opinion, men's groups are such a wonderful way for men to learn how to be authentic and connect more deeply and you know have some of these types of relationship deepening experiences that are often just not done in our culture. Would you say that that was a great way for that to happen? 

Ken: Yeah, well. I think who doesn't want to be more authentic and real, and I think everyone does. I think this is like a universal thing for most people, is that they want to be more real, they want to be more authentic, they just don't know how. And if you can create a space with a group of men. And if you can create a container where it's like all right, we all collectively agree like this space is ours and we're gonna be real with one another. And you start to go through those layers and you start to see that like we all have the same struggles, we all have the same fears, we all have the same pain, we all have the same fear of judgment and then and then you start to it really melts all of that perceived judgment and it's a beautiful, beautiful thing. I think it's very, very powerful for people to experience. And I don't - I think good group work like that can really, really transform an individual absolutely. 

Dr. Jennie: Yeah, I've really been feeling the draw toward more group offerings myself, because I just see how being authentic and vulnerable in a group setting and being witnessed in that, in such a healthy way, that is so transformative even beyond our traditional one-on-one work model. 

Ken: Well, you've been through like a few mastermind groups. I know we tried to start one and it just became one on one. But did you have this a similar experience of like just going deeper and deeper and being on a journey together? 

Dr. Jennie: Yeah, absolutely you know, I've spoken to you a lot about my work with Mccoy, my shaman, and that was a group experience and I was joining just for Mcosey like when I joined it was like I want to learn from her, you know, she just has such high level ideas about spirituality and business and personal growth that I was really interested in. And so that was why I joined. It was nothing to do with the group. I was like oh okay, there'll be some other people there, whatever. That was my feeling about it. And then over time it was like. Wow, I'm just loving the connection with these other people and they were just so similar to me and you know we just connected on the same levels and they started to become just such close friends of mine. And I felt more able to be myself you know. It helped me to realize how much I'd been hiding aspects of myself in other places and this place. I could just practice being myself and I just subconsciously I started to see it's totally fine like I can just be the real me. And not only is it fine, it's way better than what I've been doing, you know, masking certain aspects of myself. So it's been absolutely transformative for me. 

Ken: I know. I know it's such an amazing journey right?

Dr. Jennie: Yeah, it really is. Well, Ken, you know I could talk to you all day long, but in the interest of time. I feel like we'd better wrap up. But I would love for you to share with the listeners how they can get a hold of you, what your business name is, and all of that fun stuff. 

Ken: Oh okay yeah sure! So you can contact us at, and our phone numbers 1-888-540-5791 and we'd be happy to help you if you're in any sort of need for relationship help, coaching or any individual counselling. 

Dr. Jennie: Wonderful. Well it's been such a pleasure. Thank you for joining me today. Ken. 

Ken: Thanks for having me, Jenny!

Dr. Jennie: We'll talk soon. 

Ken: Okay take care. 

I am the founder of One Life Counselling and Coaching LTD and I am honored to lead a team of professional psychologists, psychotherapist’s and life coaches who dedicate their professional lives to helping people to elevate their mindsets, evolve their beliefs and learn to thrive in the present moment.
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