Owen Marcus, Co-Founder EVRYMAN
I grew up thinking everyone had a family like mine. My normal was everyone’s normal.
Sitting in my first training with Ron Kurtz, the developer of Hakomi Therapy, in 1977 in Boulder, CO, I was shocked to hear others describe their childhoods. Having men and women describe how their parents fought, drank, spoke, and generally expressed themselves– made me feel like I grew up on another planet.
My naivete at 23 also blew me away. How could I have been so unaware?
As I experienced others’ histories and traumas, I realized what mine was — traumatic. From what now would be called attachment injuries (lack of real connection), I learned not to feel, speak, or connect.
This wake-up call set me on a several-decade journey to heal, learn, and transform my past into a present experience that nourished me. I did not realize what I was signing up for. As others have said: if I had known I would not have signed up.
As I released old physical tension, I began to feel what I had learned not to feel in order to survive my family. It was no wonder why my relationships were not working. How could I connect to a partner when I was not connecting to myself?
Through studying with some of the top therapy innovators and learning from my relationships, I began to see that there was a natural method to creating a successful relationship. I saw how simple it could be through teaching ‘Hold Me Tight’ workshops with my partner Dalia, developed by world-renowned couples therapist, Dr. Sue Johnson.
The exciting part of Sue’s workshops was attachment theory and her Emotional Focus Therapy (EFT); it was what we were already doing with the Sandpoint Men’s Group (SMG). When I created SMG in 2005, I had forgotten what little I learned about attachment in college. As men connected in our groups, they were healing their attachment injuries. We were all repatterning childhood injuries resulting from not getting the connection we needed.
Working with couples has taught me that the process that makes a relationship successful is similar to how men apply the EVRYMAN Method to succeed as men.
We explore how our biology betrays us in learning this new model. Past stress and trauma trained our bodies — and consequently our minds — to create survival strategies that allow us to survive but now sabotage our relationships. Specifically, our survival physiology takes over, shutting down our ability to think and connect.
In our recent webinar with Sue Johnson Ph.D., we did a deep dive into what prevents us from getting what we want in a relationship. Sue led us into how we can create the connection we crave. Her experience of decades of research and training and supervising thousands of therapists worldwide gives us proven methods. You are welcome to watch the video of Sue sharing her wisdom here.
As EVRYMAN men will tell you and as Sue affirmed, having an emotionally safe space to learn and particularly practice the simple connection skills is critical to succeeding. I know for the hundreds of men I’ve sat with and myself, men teach men how to connect — I know it sounds oxymoronic, but it’s true.